I read this guest post by Alex St. John today on Venturebeat (which is one of my favorite destinations for industry news, by the way). I got angry. I wrote an inline response. The bold parts are the article’s original text. My responses are the rest of it. Yes, this lay-out is half-copied from the amazing nodontdie.com (which you should read) because I couldn’t come up with another one this fast. I read this Read More...

Quantum Break is a video game intertwined with a TV series. It’s neither, and also both. It’s hard to explain. If there’s any spiritual predecessor for the game, it’d be Remedy’s previous release, Alan Wake. The game is set up similarly, in Episodes that are effectively TV series episodes, complete with cliffhangers and credits sequences. The actors used for the real-life TV series are also the motion capture, body capture Read More...

To me, one of the most fascinating narrative things in games is the narrative justification for whatever unholy acts you have to fulfill to somehow end up on the side of good again. Where most games cater to a power fantasy, they also cater to a sense of moral justness, and to resolve the two people need a good reason for their spectacular murder sprees. One of my favorite examples Read More...

Convenience is something that sounds exclusively positive, but I was reminded yesterday that it can have rather harsh consequences. During my irregular call-in show Call Me Ismail yesterday, Palestinian developer Rasheed Abueideh reached out to talk about his upcoming game Liyla. It’s an Android game based on the events of the Israeli attack on Gaza of 2014, from the perspective of a girl who lived through the war. Rasheed called to talk about general advice, Read More...

One part that’s interesting to analyze in a game is what the player’s presence is. In most modern games, players assume the role of a character, while in games like Candy Crush or Tetris, the player is simply that – the player. In some games, as Brendan Keogh pointed out in his analysis of SUPERHOT and Cibele, the player is intentionally kept out of the game world entirely or forcefully. Read More...

I was thinking about language the other day and realized there’s a beautiful example of a system that is partially designed with intent, and partially grown through chaotic iteration. Most language has a design, but mostly has grown organically through a history of centuries and centuries. Anyway, I got curious about purely designed languages, such as Esperanto, and found an entire list of designed languages. There are two that stood Read More...

There’s one mantra that has guided me over and over and it is that every structural action you take causes ripples. I don’t want to go as far as to say I believe in the butterfly effect as much as 2015 horror title Until Dawn did. What I do believe in is that facilitating things pays off in the long run. If you worry that there are not enough developer Read More...

Adriel and I were visiting Campagne Cafe in Seattle at the recommendation of a friend & got to talking about salads when Adriel ordered one. We ended up talking about how salads are referred to as ‘rabbit food’ by people in the US sometimes, and I thought it was interesting as the Dutch will call it ‘konijnenvoer’. The two of us being huge etymology fans, but the etymology here seemed Read More...

One of the most interesting conversations happening in games right now is the controversy surrounding Fire Emblem: Fates, a Nintendo game in the popular Fire Emblem series. While the game originally launched in Japanese markets in June 2015, the US version of the game came out today (as of this writing, there is no mention of a EU release date), and it’s already one of the most controversial launches in Read More...

Sorath’s Devil Daggers released today and it is fantastic. It’s fast-paced, it’s brutal and it’s relentless. What is most striking about how relentless it is, though, is not the relentless action – the type of overwhelming mayhem Vlambeer uses in our own games to force flow in the player –  Devil Daggers is relentless in its identity. More than anything, it has become clear that independent titles that manage to relentlessly adhere Read More...

 Content warning: discusses Firewatch spoilers Campo Santo’s lovely debut title Firewatch has released to both critical and financial success, and yet the internet seems to be split on one specific element of the game: the ending of the game. During the course of the game, the player assumes the role of Henry, a man running from life and a marriage falling apart by taking a job as a firewatch in a national park. Read More...

The Witness has an interesting design premise: it’s a game that comes from a strong and singular authorial vision. However, having played through many hours of The Witness so far, I would posit that that strength is also its biggest weakness. The strengths are easy to discuss: The Witness was created over seven years purely around Jonathan Blow’s vision of the game – creating something strongly consistent and focused. The weakness is Read More...

I couldn't help it. I responded to one of those "should I refund" threads. I felt like I rly needed to say it. https://t.co/yEBNH6wFku — Jane Ng (@thatJaneNg) February 13, 2016 Speaking of Firewatch yesterday, this tweet by the amazing Jane Ng went out a few days ago, and I had strong feelings about it. Jane Ng is an artist on Firewatch, which was made by the around 10-person strong Read More...

Being half-Egyptian, the ongoing and unstable political situation in Egypt is extremely worrying to me. This AP article has a great short description of what’s going on, but the quote I want to talk about is this one: The standoff between policemen and doctors suggested that Egypt’s powerful security forces may have overstepped their limits by clashing with one of the country’s most respected professions. On Friday, the Arabic hashtag Read More...

 Content warning: discusses US abortion debate If you’re on the internet, you’ve probably noticed it has effectively split into two camps. One believes the internet should be a place where people get treated with respect, where disagreement is handled properly and where people are generally held to the standards of decency you’d expect in real life. The other group believes the internet’s power is that you can say whatever you like, Read More...

My favorite ‘laws’ in life are those that seem remarkably simple & obvious, but that have a lot of unexpected implications. One of my favorite is a Human-Computer Interaction law called Fitts’ Law. While there’s a lot of specificity you can discuss, the basic version of the law is as follow: The further away and the smaller something is, the more difficult it’ll be for the user to point at it. That’s it. Read More...

If you’re working on a creative project with multiple people, think about your essence statement. An essence statement is a single sentence that explain the core value and purpose of your product. It is not used for external communication like a product pitch is, but is mostly for internal communication in the team. It doesn’t describe the mechanics or aesthetics as much as it discusses what the goal of the project is Read More...

When I arrived at Dallas airport I decided to buy and try a Tile. They’re nifty little gadgets, basically tiny square pieces of plastic you can attach to whatever thing you own. After you activate a Tile, your phone will be able to monitor the distance to the phone within Bluetooth range, saves the last GPS location the Tile connected to your phone, and you can trigger the Tile to make a Read More...

 Content warning: discusses Gamergate One of the most fascinating political ‘public relations’-plays in the world is something I like to call ‘strong and weak’. It’s something I first noticed in the continuing coverage of the conflict in Israel & Palestine, but once you spot it it becomes very clear very quickly that it’s used in all sorts of political situations. It effectively is used as such: we are ready and capable Read More...

I want to make a charity stream called Awesome Games Done Very Slowly and it's me 100%ing RPGs for a week while not using the run button. — Adriel Wallick (@MsMinotaur) January 11, 2015 + 393 days = Grand total we managed to raise for @AbleGamers during Square Bowl II: $11,231 Thank you SO MUCH everyone <3 — Adriel Wallick (@MsMinotaur) February 8, 2016 = $11,231. $11,231 / 393 ≈ $29 per Read More...