Electron Dance
15Oct/11Off

This Link Drag Is In Zombie Slow Mo

Okay, it's about time I burst this boil of links that has been growing with every week. Let the clicking commence.

Below you will find a short Terry "VVVVVV" Cavanagh game, a zombie horror comedy video, info on the Interactive Fiction 2011 competition and... very fast, made of meat?

 

Writing

"Writing Stories With Lightning" by Fernando Cordeiro, Nightmare Mode, 29 August. A little overwrought, but I liked the main idea here.

We have captured the language of movies perfectly – and applied them only during cutscenes. How often do we jump between characters and provide the gamer with different points of view? ... How can we even expect games to master cross-cutting, when they fail to present multiple points of views in general?

"Narrative As Gameplay" by Jonas Kyratzes, 30 August. Read as one approach to game design rather than an artist explaining his work.

Understanding what is going on in The Infinite Ocean requires the player to locate the relevant texts, read them, think about them, and put together the clues. You could visualize the game ... as not one linear text to be read from beginning to end, but as interconnected textual spaces that need to be explored.

"Are we headed for a second video game crash?" by Ryan Creighton, 30 August (via RPS Sunday Papers). Creighton was behind that Ponycorn thing (it didn't do much for me) and also hilariously gamed the GDC session on social games. Light on analysis, but it's something that bothers me too.

Can you think of another period in history when there was a "supersaturation of the market with hundreds of mostly low-quality games?" Can you name a time when we have $60 games competing with a bin full of titles selling for $1? I can.  It's called "NOW."

"Very Fast, Made of Meat" by Amanda Lange, 13 July. Dipping into Lange's back catalogue unearths all sorts of gems.

Super Meat Boy is a game about courage and determination... The braver you are; the more you commit yourself and the more aggressive you are in pursuit of your goals, the better off you will do at the challenges in the game.  If you stop, if you wait, if you hesitate or are tentative, you will get crushed... [The] fact that hesitation or slow motion is what brings you failure might be seen as the message of the game.

"The Challenge of Taking Old Games Seriously" by Dennis Scimeca, Joystick Division, 13 August (via On The Stick, who took stabby knives to this article and Where We Came From's ending). Read as a concerned response to the apparent ageing of video games rather than an attack on retro.

The reason this question of how we look at the earliest video games matters vexes me is because if video games are art, then they've always been art, so once we get past this theoretical, necessary stage of technological infancy, pretty much every video game from the release of the Atari 2600 forward should have some level of interest for a devotee of video games, the same way that an audiophile can get something from old records, or how bookworms love old literature, or how film buffs appreciate Welles and Eisenstein.

"Game Music Brasil 2011" by Nicolau "Calunio" Chaud, RPGMaker.Net Blog, 10 October. Calunio writes about coming second in a major indie gaming contest, feelings of validation and being a celebrity for one evening in Rio de Janeiro.

I didn't care about winning that much, the best part was being there and being able to tell family and friends that the time I spend making games is serious/relevant stuff. When I tell people my games are getting popular, first reaction is always "can't you make money out of that?"

"Laughing Stock: Doug TenNapel" by Patrick Cassels, Kill Screen Daily, 8 September. Revealing interview with the creator of Earthworm Jim. Plus Ren & Stimpy references are always welcome.

We had some conflicts at the start, and that was because I had to assign the Jim rights over to Shiny before they could make the game. I feel like I got screwed on that deal, especially given I was so young and I didn’t know to go in with my own lawyer. Even today, that handshake with Perry cost me the ability to control my own character. But still, he and I got along well; he’s also 6’8”, so he’s one of the few men I could see eye to eye with.

 

Events

"The Indie Fix: IndieCade Round-up" by Armand K, Bits'n'Bytes Gaming, 12 October. Armand covers just about every game at IndieCade. I am still amazed that he manages to send word of a new indie game almost every day of the week.

The Interactive Fiction Competition 2011 is being covered by both Gnome's Lair and Amanda Lange. Gnome has written up a couple of his favourites while Lange has been pumping out summaries at a fast and furious pace.

 

Play

Terry Cavanagh's "Hero's Adventure" (via Gnome's Lair). Short RPG and I like its message even if it is yet another meta-game statement.

 

Sideways

"The Curse of Tina" by Adam Curtis, BBC Blogs, September 13. Discussing the rise of the Think Tank, Curtis travels via the story of Radio Caroline - a popular symbol of 60s counter-culture yet it was originally founded to push free market ideas onto the public. It ends with something that smells like murder.

To do this Fisher and Smedley knew they had to disguise what they were really up to. In 1955 Smedley wrote to Fisher - telling him bluntly that the new Institute had to be "cagey" about what its real function was. It should pretend to be non-political and neutral, but in reality they both knew that would be a front.

 

I Can't Read Show Me Pictures

I love this. Picked up from Twitter but via whom I remember not.

Shoreditch of the Dead: animation that starts in horror mode and slowly turns batshit insane and then goes beyond that into WTF. Steve Cutts, the creator, based every character on Facebook photos of his office colleagues (via Tap-Repeatedly).

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

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  1. “I am still amazed that he manages to send word of a new indie game almost every day of the week.”

    I sacrifice quality for quantity.

  2. Another excellent round-up oh Harbour Master. And thanks a ton for the links. Mind you -and to my defense- I have actually covered two i-f comp games so far: Calm and The Play.

  3. @Armand: I’m glad someone does! There’s way too much focus on quality these days.

    @gnome: AGH, I got my eyes shot looking over Amanda Lange’s posts and because your posts weren’t explicitly titled “IF 2011” when I was wrote this up last night, I totally forgot you had touched on two titles earlier in the week. Silly! I am putting through a correction now.

  4. Thank you kind HM :)

  5. Thanks for the link HM!


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