Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights

20Nov/1930

The Great Descent

This is the final part of the Subnautica Season. Spoilers ahoy! This follows The Glory of the Infinite Sea, on Subnautica enabling accidental discovery, Beautiful, on the real beauty of Subnautica's design, and Cold Metal, of my disappointment with base building.

What are we doing here? Why would anyone put themselves through this?

Silence engulfed the dead city block but the silence was not absolute. Sometimes I would hear the soft, yet threatening shuffle of rotten feet. Or the click-click of a giant spider’s legs tapping across cobblestones. Or the gibber-speak of a malevolent apparition.

The Haunted Cathedral level from the original Thief: The Dark Project (Looking Glass Studios, 1998) overwhelmed the player with dread and a terrible feeling of having passed through a veil that separates the reasonable, normal world from one into which no human should stray. This was not the first time Thief had conjured this atmosphere as Down in the Bonehoard had a similar ambience, but it had nothing on The Haunted Cathedral.

Of course, this is a recognisable trope, gaming’s take on Orpheus’ descent into hell to bring back Eurydice. The player must journey into a type of Hell to retrieve something of importance. Dark Souls has plenty of it but I am here to discuss Subnautica’s Orphean descent, in which the very depth of the ocean itself is terror.

I warn you, though, reader. Descend further into this bottomless trench of words and you will hear the screams of spoilers and the thunk of ALT+F4.

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14Nov/196

Discussion: Sausage Souls

Hark! the herald angels sing, "Glory be to the sausage king." Oh yea, I have completed Stephen's Sausage Roll.

I renewed my attack on the Sausage game for the Ouroboros-spinoff book I am working on. I knew I was missing something important and needed to address it. It is likely I'll dedicate a new essay in this book to Stephen's Sausage Roll but I thought it would nice to have a comment thread on it first.

These comments will be sausages all the way down and completely naked. There will be no ROT13 here.

I mean, if you like playing puzzles and you're wondering whether to play Stephen's Sausage Roll, here's my capsule review:

  • What a rush

If you want some detail, rando who is planning to play Stephen's Sausage Roll:

  • Be prepared for the occasional bottleneck, particularly The Great Tower
  • Do not judge a book by its first world, you're really playing for what the game becomes
  • It is a hard game but in a satisfying way
  • There are a handful of what feel like Monte Carlo levels (e.g. Wobblecliff) but generally you think the levels out, not guess
  • Do not read this thread or go looking for spoilers, because someone will spoil Dead End
  • You do not spoil Dead End
  • No, you really do not

Anyway, I think it's time to hand over to the comments.

14Nov/190

Side by Side: Daka Dara

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the tenth episode of the fifth series.

This week, Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly take on their first digital board game, Daka Dara by Chris Fibsch, based on an old West African game called Dara. There are two phases to the game. In the first phase, known as the drop phase, players put out their counters one at a time in turn, preparing the ground for the second phase. The second phase is referred to as the "move phase" which is far too genteel a name. Joel prefers to call it COUNTER CARNAGE. Because it's all about COUNTER DESTRUCTION.

An interesting curio with music that wants to make you rip your ears off with a pair of pliars, it delivered a comedy Side by Side moment which never fails to bring Joel to tears. Although he does have to tell people which bit he finds hilarious.

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

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

10Nov/1927

Behind the Poster

This is the first in a series of short musings on Control.

When I want to write about a game I like, it takes way longer than you might think. There’s an obsession to assemble an artwork of words that befits the title, something that feels as unique as the experience it delivered. That process never feels like a natural consequence of a great game; it’s not as if a game is an untapped seam of minerals and all I had to do was mine it for words. I’m looking for an essay that gives me peace, that looks like I've bled the memory directly onto the page. Write. Delete. Write. Delete. Go to bed. Format the drive. Start again.

I feel some remorse over my brutal carelessness towards a game which inspires derision. I can be cavalier with the words as all you have to do is swing that axe and the job is done. But what about the shrug game, the “meh”? How much brain juice needs to be expended on something that’s, uh, okay, I suppose? I will send my finest soldiers to the four corners of the world in search of exotic prose that conjures the most average of reactions. Now that’s real tricky, I think, as I write up my feelings after three hours of Control (Remedy Entertainment, 2019).

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7Nov/190

Side by Side: SSMP

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the ninth episode of the fifth series.

This week, Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly float around a very indie take on Spacewar! in SSMP - short for Shoot Shoot Mega Pack - by Actual Humans. While it offers a four basic competitive modes which involve a variety of shooting each other or crashing into things, SSMP lets players craft their own modes by selecting mechanics from the large set of ingredients. Simple, easy to pick up, short rounds. The perfect party game.

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

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

5Nov/195

Discussion: Fetch Quests For A Dead World

Welcome to the teensy-weensy-late October newsletter (sign up if you want to read it):

You end up wandering back and forth all the time, taking an object here and an object there. It doesn’t feel like you’re solving puzzles - it feels like you’re fulfilling fetch quests for a dead world.

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

31Oct/190

Side by Side: BADBLOOD

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the eighth episode of the fifth series.

This week, Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly become their true selves, vicious killers in BADBLOOD, a deadly game of cat-and-also-cat by Winnie Song. A split-screen top-down affair, two players seek each other out in the tall grass but one side is rotated 90° which makes it a serious mental workout. It certainly has the looks - but how does it play in practice?

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

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

29Oct/199

Status Report: Oct 2019

This is an update I put together for my YouTube subscribers. Watch on YouTube or embedded below:

Links

Music

  • The Moscow Symphony Orchestra "Outcast Main Theme"
  • Kraked Unit "L'air des cendres" (Paris Film OST)
Filed under: Short Notes 9 Comments
24Oct/190

Side by Side: Inversus

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the seventh episode of the fifth series.

This week, Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly face off in a black and white world with parkour -- wait, no, this isn’t Chambara. This is the arena shooter Inversus (Hypersect, 2016), touted as “negative space combat”.

A black player can only move around in white-space and a white player can only move around in black-space. Player’s bullets will turn space to their colour, so the lay of the land constantly changes. There’s also a co-op mode which pits the players against endlessly spawning hostiles… but the magical PvP is where it’s at.

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

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

17Oct/190

Side by Side: Double Takes

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is the sixth episode of the fifth series.

This week, Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly have a little chat about games previously featured on the series they have changed their minds about and why. Up for discussion are:

And there a few mentions of other titles along the way such as At A Distance and We Were Here. If you enjoy the series, please like our videos and subscribe to the Side by Side channel.

Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.