Braid is one of those games that rolls lazily off the tongue in conversations about the most influential indie games of all time. Depending which of the many breathless pieces you've read about it over the years, Braid was either an "enormous leap towards realising the potential" of videogames that "ripped away…years of gaming blinkers", the "Sex, Lies and Videotape of indie gaming", or possibly even gaming's "Easy Rider" moment. It has a reputation as more than just a clever puzzler with a mind-bending rewind mechanic—it was a changing of the guard, a signal that independent games could finally compete with their big-budget counterparts.Even today, it's still on people's minds. Developers I've spoken to over the past few months have managed to slip it into conversations about seemingly unrelated topics, mentioning its brilliance or commercial success. But how influential was it actually? Did Braid directly inspire a generation of indie developers? Or was it just one indie … [Read more...] about Does Braid deserve its status as the iconic breakthrough indie game?
Debts cleared after 6 years
March 4~11… what a crazy, crazy week. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be based on my first experience back in 2012 (this time I actually slept a good 7~8 hours each night!), likely because I’m a lot more knowledgeable than I was back then, and have lots more tools at my disposal. Still, the desire to create something awesome had me putting easily over 80* hours of work into POLYBOT-7, my entry for this year’s Seven-Day Roguelike Challenge. (*This is during the week only--excludes all pre-7DRL preparation!) The rate of problems and solutions flying through my brain throughout the week was pretty overwhelming. Tiring sometimes, but at the same time exciting to try to find hacks that could manage so many features and content in such a short period. So. many. hacks. The technical debt is real! I was cringing as I wrote much of the code, but had little choice--take the fastest route possible or risk failure. For the first few days I was doing a slightly … [Read more...] about 2018 7DRL Postmortem, Part 1: Preparation
Is any genre of video games as closely associated with a single country as role-playing games and Japan? There’s even a term for those games: “JRPG,” a designation that has developed into a catch-all describing games from any region designed in the style of Japanese RPGs. But what makes a truly great JRPG? This month, I’ve decided to explore that question by looking at the entire pantheon of role-playing franchises crafted in Japan and ranking the 25 most notable series from worst to best. The rules here are simple. To qualify, a series needs to hail from a Japan-based developer (with the realization that a bit of input from international studios is unavoidable in some of the bigger contemporary franchises). Each series needs to consist of at least three related or co-branded games. Finally, in order to qualify as a role-playing series, the majority of its games need to incorporate some sort of level- or experienced-based statistic and attribute mechanics … [Read more...] about The greatest Japanese RPG franchises, part 1
It’s been a good few months since the release of Super Mario Odyssey – enough time, surely, to consider its place in Mario history. And, because you all love lists, that naturally means it’s also time to think about where it ranks against Mario’s other platformers. By ‘platformers’ I mean any 2D or 3D game in the main Mario series where the plumber is the star. So while Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island is a magnificent game, it doesn’t count. Nor, for that matter, does Super Mario Maker: it can be experienced like a platformer if you’ve no creative yen whatsoever, but it’s been designed as a construction tool. (And as a platformer it’s also wildly inconsistent in quality terms, depending on whose levels you’re playing. It’d basically have to be in first and last place at the same time.) In putting together this list, I’ve considered the historical importance of each game, but that comes secondary … [Read more...] about The best Mario game
Winter is over in the real world, but Game of Thrones season 7 has proved that, for Westeros, the icy season is definitely in full force. With Cersei double-crossing those fighting the White Walkers in the north (who, by the way, have a flippin’ dragon now), Daenerys and Jon finally having a steamy rendezvous, and Jaime fleeing from his megalomaniacal sister, the proverbial has well and truly hit the fan. Like Cersei you’ll probably want to get a strong glass of Dornish red to dull the pain when you realise that Game of Thrones season 8 is still a long way away, as it’s due to air in 2019. Until then there are plenty of Games of Thrones season 8 fan theories to dig into, because come on, do you really expect us to just sit and wait without obsessing over potential plot revelations? Be reasonable. George R.R. Martin is still working on the few final books in the series, but even after that Game of Thrones season 7 ending the only thing in the TV series … [Read more...] about 15 amazing fan theories for Game of Thrones season 8