Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights


How I Made: The Drake Incident


Oh, I've got an idea for Dark Souls film, I thought. It'll be short. We'll not do anything crazy like half an hour about The Witness. But, somehow, things never go according to plan. Because there is no plan. There is just:

  • oh my god this is way harder than I thought

Here's a little behind-the-scenes insight on The Drake Incident.

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The Drake Incident: A Dark Souls Story

Ding dong, the Bell Gargoyles are dead. I ring the bell. Where next for my lonely undead hero...?

Watch the film below or direct on YouTube.


If you're interested in how the film came into being, which is partly through luck and partly through bloody-minded determination, here's How I Made: The Drake Incident.





Thumper Ain’t No Flow Game

I recently admitted I didn't think I was going to play this one and I've not gone back on that. That's why Shaun Green, who has done work for RPS and ran Arcadian Rhythms for five years, has stepped in to write about that noisy new kid on the rhythm game block: Thumper. At least I think he has, because the opening line of his essay is---


How do we write about Thumper (Drool, 2016)?

Many writers have opted for hyperbole and impressionistic description, deploying jagged sentences like brush strokes and needle jabs as they attempt to portray their experience: velocity, violence, vigour. This does convey something of how the game feels, but it's not what I want to write.

Yet despite my many and various opinions about Thumper I couldn't decide what they should cohere around. The writhing, chrome-plated visuals? Its deliciously understated industrial soundtrack? What it makes of its relatively low-key gameplay verbs?

I didn't have a satisfying answer until I looked at my Twitter timeline and saw a discussion about death, about failure. The elephantine space-beetle in the room when it comes to Thumper is how hard it is. So yes, we need to talk about difficulty.

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Discussion: The Mirror Click’d


Dear subscribers, if you feel like chatting about anything at all from the October edition of the newsletter, please speak your mind in the comments here.




On Monday, I tweeted that while Thumper (Drool, 2016) looked and sounded great, I had already decided I wasn’t putting myself through that. I didn’t want the stress.

The next day I put myself through THOTH (Carlsen Games, 2016), a twin-stick arena shooter with an important twist. Normally, shooting is the act of cleaning. Not here. In THOTH, shooting is the act of making your life fucking worse.

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Side by Side: Affordable Space Adventures

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the second series, episode 5 of 10.

Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly take off together for some Affordable Space Adventures on an alien world!

  • This is a co-op title for the Nintendo Wii U
  • The car horn is adorable
  • "Whoa whoa whoa whoaaaaa we got a little bit close there"
  • Nicklas "Nifflas" Nygren of Knytt Stories worked on this title with KnapNok Games

If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to our channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.


Discussion: More Room Is Less Room


Dear subscribers, if you feel like chatting about anything at all from the September edition of the newsletter, please speak your mind in the comments here.


Arithmophobia II: The Numbers Strike Back


So I had this week's post Arithmophobia in my head for months as “write some words on how RPG numbers put me off playing” using The Story of Thor and Dark Souls as examples from different sides of the numerical wall. It was meant to be short, more about these individual games, but something happened on the way to the Publish button: I started to question why those numbers were important.

I had no conclusion so instead turned the ending into an invitation to discuss. And a lot of people got in touch, through the comments and on Twitter. This has been great and helped sharpen up my thoughts.

This post is a more structured take on RPG stats than the original Arithmophobia, touching on different aspects such as grind, feedback, accessibility and more. It was supposed to be short. Who would have guessed that evaluating the role of numbers in an RPG turns out to be a goddamn rabbit hole...

To show I’m not biased against numbers, I’m going to number every subsection. P.S. I also have a PhD in mathematics.

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Tony Van was the producer in charge of localizing a Japanese RPG called The Story of Thor: Hikari wo Tsugu Mono (Ancient, 1994) for Western audiences, but received a badly translated copy of the story to work from.

In an interview for the The Game Localization Handbook, he explained: “I tried my hardest to figure it out, but was completely baffled. I was under extreme time pressure to get it out for Christmas, so I didn’t have time to contact the Japanese office to track down the original source and get it re-translated. I simply rewrote the story and dialogue using all the plot points I could understand as references and writing that sounded good to me when I didn’t understand the plot points!”

Instead of the action taking place in “the world of Thor”, the English translation located everything in “the land of Oasis” and the game was sold in North America as Beyond Oasis. Someone decided it would sell better in Europe under its original title of The Story of Thor: A Successor of the Light except it left thousands of European Sega Megadrive owners with a mystery: who the bloody Hell is Thor?

I will forever remember it as The Story of Thor because Thor is one of my personal favourites. I’ve played through it three times: the first time was in 1994 as the academic chapter of my life was coming to a close; the second time in 2006 as pure comfort gaming on an emulator; the third time, this year, was a performance for my children, who enjoyed the watching but had little interest in the doing. It can now be bought on Steam for a couple of dollars.

This recent and perhaps final playthrough was illuminating because I was simultaneously playing… dun-dun-duuuunnnn Dark Souls (From Software, 2011).

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The Insufficient You


I completed the first-person thriller Asemblance (Nilo Studios, 2016) in a few hours but what had started out as excitement morphed into frustration and eventually liquefied into a bitter soup of dissatisfaction.

Like Cradle (Flying Cafe for Semianimals, 2015) which I discussed recently, it marries interesting ideas to some big flaws. But it has a lethal problem which cannot be fixed: something that’s vital to enjoy the game is not included in the purchase price.

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