Category Archives: Features

I’m Not A Gamer

As I’m writing this GamerGate is entering its 8th month of ongoing terror and intimidation across social media. It’s been a horrendous period in games, destroying people’s lives, driving people out and away from the games industry, permanently scarring the reputation of games in the public eye, causing universities to cut funding for games programs, and showing no signs of stopping anytime soon as its advocates continue to find new, even more horrific methods to try to drive out their adversaries. Continue reading I’m Not A Gamer

Indie Impressions: Titan Souls (Prototype Demo)

I’m not sure exactly why or when it started, but I’ve become completely obsessed with Titan Souls and its imminent release. Despite having watched little gameplay, only knowing basic details on how it works, and having yet to read through an actual preview of the game, there’s just been something about it that I can’t describe which makes me feel it’s going to be something special. After sitting down with the current demo build I can only say that whatever excitement I previously had is now monumentally higher, making the game almost certainly my most anticipated release this year so far. Continue reading Indie Impressions: Titan Souls (Prototype Demo)

Indie Impressions: Blue Revolver (Alpha Demo)

Blue Revolver is like a checklist of bullet hell staples, remixed into its own uniquely handcrafted mayhem.

It reminds me a lot of another recent genre classic, Crimzon Clover, but more as an inspiration than a clone. Recognizable pieces make it an easy game to slip into, alternating between different firing speeds while dashing tightly through projectiles. Even in an alpha state Blue Revolver feels polished and sophisticated. The speed of the ship, the number of shots required to take down an enemy, the positioning of oncoming threats and the paths you need to take to  avoid them; there’s a level of knowledge in Blue Revolver’s design that’s atypical of a small developer at this point in development, and it has me immensely excited about where it might grow from this point. Continue reading Indie Impressions: Blue Revolver (Alpha Demo)

An Ode to Pixel Art

Close your eyes and think of what the word “game” first brings to mind. For myself and I imagine a lot of people born before 1995, that image was something 8 or 16-bit. Maybe Mario, of MegaMan, or one of the early Final Fantasy games. In my eyes, pixel art is the defacto aesthetic of games. It’s where they began and an art style they created, yet beginning around the release of the Playstation, there’s been a trend in games to abandon the style in favor of attempting as high a level of realism as possible with a game’s graphics. Only in recent years has the style been revisited, mostly by indie developers, and yet the response I so often see toward it is not one of appreciation but accusations of developers being “lazy”, “incompetent”, or “unimaginative”. Continue reading An Ode to Pixel Art

Indie Impressions: Cadence (Kickstarter Demo)

Music creation and editing software is something I’ve always been incredibly interested in learning how to use, but doing so is in a lot of ways like learning an entire new language. Though there have definitely been improvements in teaching newcomers how to use the software, by and large my experience has been loading a program up, being overwhelmed with toolbars, audio tracks, and more level adjusters than I can even begin to imagine what I’d do with them. So hearing about Cadence, I was immediately taken in by how its entire design is focused in the opposite direction of giving you millions of ways to adjust your sound, leaving you with a minimal but still highly functional and dynamic arrangement of tools to create loops which when layered form an actual song. Continue reading Indie Impressions: Cadence (Kickstarter Demo)

Are long games hurting the medium?

I’m not exactly sure where the mindset originated (though if I had to guess I’d say with young people without a large income), but for a large segment of the gaming community a game’s length is often viewed as one of the deciding factors in whether they decide to purchase/play it. It seems absurd to me, as after all nobody says they only read books that are over 1000 pages or albums with more than 20 tracks, but for whatever reason games are uniquely singled out as being required to provide dozens and dozens of hours of content, or else be written off as a poor value or even somehow degrading games as a whole with their meager offering. Continue reading Are long games hurting the medium?

Indie Impressions: Fantastic Witch Collective (Adventure Demo)

Firstly, I’d just like to take a moment to recognize that Fantastic Witch Collective as a name for anything is already pretty brilliant. That that something happens to be a delightful 16-bit RPG from indie developer, Lulu Blue, only makes it more, well, fantastic, and though it’s still incredibly early in development, the little I’ve played of FWC has me convinced it’s going to live up to its title. Continue reading Indie Impressions: Fantastic Witch Collective (Adventure Demo)

How itch.io is different and why they’re important

Steam, Desura, Humble DRM-Free, GMG Capsule; there are so many different digital platforms for games at this point that anytime I hear of the creation of yet another, I shake my head and wonder “what is the point?”

itch.io is the latest of these, or at least the one I’ve been hearing about the most. It’s a site dedicated to independent games with a focus on developers and flexible monetization. It doesn’t sound too radical when you put it that way, but as I dug deeper into the site, I began to see how itch.io drastically differs from other distribution platforms; in ways that significantly alter the message the site seems to driven by, and the impression I got of how it chose to present it. Though in some ways the site still feels as if it’s in its infancy, these differences are exciting and noteworthy enough to warrant discussing. Continue reading How itch.io is different and why they’re important

Indie Impressions: Master Spy (Alpha Demo)

Stealth games have had something of a rebirth as of late, starting most notably with Mark of the Ninja to move the genre away from trial and error into more organic, creative gameplay loops.

Turbogun’s Master Spy isn’t interested in that kind of stealth though. In fact calling Master Spy a stealth game almost doesn’t seem appropriate. It’s far more in line with an arcade twitch platformer, giving you small rooms to navigate with absolute precision, only instead of evading enemies you need to keep out of sight of guards and security cameras (among the other assorted traps you’d expect a spy to encounter, ie. lasers everywhere). Continue reading Indie Impressions: Master Spy (Alpha Demo)

The problems with F2P and how Hearthstone solved them

I’ll be the first to admit that I cringe a bit anytime someone tells me about a free-to-play game. It’s a reaction I’ve seen among a lot of people lately, and it’s frustrating because I don’t think F2P as a monetization system is inherently bad. In fact, I feel it’s the inevitable and ideal future of a lot of games, allowing for greater financial success and longevity for developers, and the ability for players to try a game before spending a dime in a way demos can’t provide. Continue reading The problems with F2P and how Hearthstone solved them