Electron Dance

Marginalia 4


Marginalia is an eclectic compilation of links tailored for game developers. Links contributed by Amanda Lange (GameSprout), Thomas Grip (Frictional Games), Adrian Chmielarz (The Astronauts), Nicolau Chaud (Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer) and Miguel Sicart (ITU Copenhagen).

In this edition: mystery in the mechanics; crowdfunding statistics; why we procrastinate; play as both competition and cooperation; what we should take away from the storytelling successes of The Last of Us.

Our Suggestions

Amanda Lange suggests "Eat all the Candies: Using Mystery as a Game Design Mechanic" by Jordan Pailthorpe. Amanda writes, "We had this long conversation at my workplace about how few modern games are willing to use mysterious rules, and then, here was this the next day, which was fortunate timing."

Thomas Grip suggests "Interactive Fiction Top 50 of all time (2011 edition)". Thomas writes, "Everybody that has a slight interest in videogames and storytelling needs to try out IF.  Just giving some of the top 10 games here a go is a must."

Adrian Chmielarz suggests "Survivorship Bias" by David McRaney. Adrian explains this is a reminder that putting too much trust in the solutions from successful games might not be the best way to go.

Joel Goodwin suggests "The Dynamics of Crowdfunding: Determinants of Success and Failure" by Ethan Mollick. This statistical analysis of nearly 50,000 projects looks at what makes a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Nicolau Chaud suggests "Why Freeware Games Matter" by Alex Pieschel. Nicolau recommends this because it "brings to focus the idea that indie games shouldn't try to emulate commercial games for a number of reasons (and sometimes, to their own advantage)."

Adrian Chmielarz suggests "Procrastination" by David McRaney. Adrian writes this article "made me realize why I love designing during a brainstorm with a fellow designer: once you set the date and the time for the meeting, there's no procrastination possible." (Joel Goodwin notes that the marshmallow experiment described in the article now has an alternative interpretation.)

Miguel Sicart suggests "Orderly and Disorderly Play: A Comparison" by Thomas Hendricks. Miguel writes, "This is a fantastic article... which I found insightful because it expands elegantly the notion of (important) play to encompass the pleasures of destruction and chaos. I think he doesn't take the idea far enough, but it's a super interesting article (especially if you read it with games like B.U.T.T.O.N. in mind)."

Joel Goodwin suggests "Thoughts on The Last of Us" by Thomas Grip. One of Joel's games writing highlights of recent months, this treads a path parallel to last month's Léon Loves Tetris. Adrian Chmielarz adds that Thomas Grip writes "one of the best game design blogs around".

Thomas Grip suggests a PBS documentary from 1982 called "All in the Game" about the rise of console developer Imagic. Thomas explains that "knowing the history of videogames is vital and this gives a very interesting insight into the pre-crash days."

The Saturday Paper

Michael Cook writes The Saturday Paper, which explores academic papers related to game development.

  • Wherever Whenever "Tower Defence games seem like spatial problems – you’re placing buildings on a map in order to kill a line of enemies that move on a fixed path. The results of the experiments, however, suggested that time and space are often one and the same for players, and that really good players understand how to reason about both separately."

Download my FREE eBook on the collapse of indie game prices an accessible and comprehensive explanation of what has happened to the market.

Sign up for the monthly Electron Dance Newsletter and follow on Twitter!

Filed under: Marginalia Comments Off

Electron Dance Highlights

Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Oh, wow. So much goodness on that interactive fiction list!
    And appreciate you sharing GameSprout with your readers too!

  2. I wanted to associate Thomas Grip with Frictional, in case readers weren’t familiar with the name, then I thought maybe it’s about time I put associations in for all of the contributors.

  3. If you’re interested in the IF top 50 you might want to check out the forum thread with some of the voting, where people often explain why they like the ones they like. Here’s my vote. (For Christ’s sake don’t click on the spoiler unless you’ve played the game in question; it won’t be at all enlightening, but when you get to possibly the greatest puzzle in IF, you may remember what I said and it’ll spoil it for you.)

  4. Nice, Matt, thanks.

  5. Fucking hell, so many interesting stuff. Judging by the links-containted:new-tabs-opened ratio, this is the best Marginalia to date. Of course, I’ve yet to read them.

  6. Thanks Ketchua. This Marginalia has done pretty well – but I think that’s mainly down to Thomas & Adrian tweeting out the link this time around.

Trackbacks are disabled.