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May 18, 2021
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Video Game Deep Cuts: Dicey Dungeons Gets Rad, Patreon Follows

by Simon Carless on 08/18/19 10:32:00 am   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


[Video Game Deep Cuts is a weekly newsletter from video game industry 'watcher' Simon Carless (GDC, Gamasutra co-runner, No More Robots advisor), rounding up the best longread & standout articles & videos about games, every weekend.

This week's roundup includes looks at standout new titles including Dicey Dungeons and Rad, an analysis of Patreon as incremental funding, and another longform piece (this time about Steam followers!) from my new Game Discoverability Weekly newsletter, which is totally great*. (*I am totally biased.)

Happy trails, and hope you dig all the other links. 
Until next time...
Simon, curator.]


Deep-Pocketed Collectors Are Fueling A Retro Game Gold Rush (Chris Kohler / Kotaku - ARTICLE)
"Danielle Smith has spent half a million dollars on rare video games, most of it in the last nine months. And she’s just getting started. “I really just want the best of the best,” said Smith, 35. That half a million bucks has only bought her around 200 games."

The 18-month fence hop, the six-day chair, and why video games are so hard to make (Blake Hester / Polygon - ARTICLE)
"The studio’s latest challenge? Getting characters’ butts to line up in chairs in the upcoming Afterparty, a game about two friends who die, go to Hell, and must outdrink the denizens of the underworld to save their souls."

Steam's 'Follower' counts - hidden in plain sight. (Simon Carless / Game Discoverability Weekly / Substack - ARTICLE)
"On each game’s Steam page is the ability to ‘Follow’ a title to see announcements about it in your Steam Community Activity Feed. It’s right next to ‘Add to your wishlist’ (see below pic from Steam website!), and is basically a light expression of interest."

Phil Spencer Is Exactly Who You Think He Is (Laura Parker / GameSpot - ARTICLE)
"The idea of anyone idolizing a business executive is surprising in any industry, let alone one where consumers are routinely suspicious of big companies and corporate scheming. But many gamers seem to view Spencer as one of them, rather than the physical embodiment of a corporate business strategy."

Clark Tank: Steam chart analysis & playing Godhood (Ryan Clark / Brace Yourself Games / YouTube - VIDEO)
"I'm veteran indie game developer Ryan Clark, and this is the Clark Tank! Every third Friday at 1pm Pacific time we stay on top of the latest game industry trends by examining the Steam top 50, scrutinizing the latest Kickstarted games, and by playing the most prominent recent releases. [SIMON'S NOTE: these edited for YouTube versions sometimes go up a bit late, but are great for zooming through the MOUNTAIN of great info Ryan packs into a multi-hour stream!]"

What to Play: ‘Rad’ takes us to a retro-future fun place — the post-post-apocalypse (Todd Martens / LA Times - ARTICLE)
"“Rad” from the outset feels a bit like a cheesy sequel to a 1980s movie that never happened. This time, the setting isn’t post-apocalyptic. It’s post-post-apocalyptic — bigger, better and with even crazier mutants. Imagine the tagline: It’s the “Rad” you knew and loved but now more radder. [SIMON'S NOTE: Double Fine's latest, also see some positive impressions from Shacknews - game is out on the 19th.]"

How fighting game tournaments are dealing with toxic and unruly players (Steven T Wright / The Verge - ARTICLE)
"Players who are particularly prone to pop-offs are sometimes called “salty,” a derogatory term for those who get upset with games more easily than most. While some fans were quick to refer to the MK11 incident as a pop-off for the ages, others expressed some discomfort with the players’ behavior. “Good pop-offs are quick and to the point,” reads one YouTube comment on the clip. “Buffalo just looked like a lunatic.”"

Alone in the Dark (Jimmy Maher / The Digital Antiquarian - ARTICLE)
"...There came a well-nigh revolutionary game out of France that upended all of these traditional notions about what the medium of videogames can do and be. It cast you as a painfully ordinary, near-powerless individual adrift in a scary world, with no surefire panaceas in the form of experience points, gold, or portable rocket launchers to look forward to. It was just you and your wits, trapped in a haunted house full of creatures that were stronger than you and badly wanted to kill you."

How the creators of Sea Of Solitude turned fear and anxiety into monsters (Andrew Webster / The Verge - ARTICLE)
"The art style of Sea of Solitude plays a particularly important role in the game. It’s a story that deals with heavy topics like depression and mental health, but it also attempts to visualize those intangible concepts. Kay isn’t exploring the real world; instead, it’s a kind of dreamscape where she’s constantly confronted with issues from her past."

The Uncertain Future of Video Game History (Michael Goroff / EGMNow - ARTICLE)
"Noble as they are, amateur efforts to save games from extinction can only go so far. Limited by time and money, one person can only save so many games. Thankfully, as game publishing veers more in the direction of a digital model, even more formal efforts are on the rise and doing their best to legitimize video game preservation."

Power Stone: the Dreamcast brawler that foresaw Fortnite and Overwatch (Keith Stuart / The Guardian - ARTICLE)
"“I was going to go with a modern-day setting to appeal to as many players as possible,” says designer Hideaki Itsuno. “But modern-day technology lacks a certain flair – there’s just no romance to it! So I went with the 19th century, before such technology became ubiquitous.” Itsuno was influenced by Jackie Chan and Indiana Jones movies that he’d watched when he was a child. “It seemed to me to be the kind of positive setting anyone could feel excited about.”"

The Making of Castle of Illusion, Quackshot and World of Illusion (Strafefox / YouTube - VIDEO) 
"The Illusion series was an important pillar for SEGA. It offered a high quality line of family-friendly games. In this episode we discover the history and development of Castle of Illusion, Quackshot and World of Illusion as well as Fantasia."

Dicey Dungeons adds much needed charm to deckbuilding roguelikes (Jeff Ramos / Polygon - ARTICLE)
"Dicey Dungeons’ charming overall aesthetic, wonderful character art and bop-filled soundtrack helps the game feel far more inviting than most games I’ve played in similar genres. As I jump through the mental hurdles presented by some of the later characters, the upbeat and boisterous attitude of Dicey Dungeons never faltered."

'We Know We’re Not Taking It Far Enough': A Ubisoft VP Wrestles With Politics In Games(Stephen Totilo / Kotaku - ARTICLE)
"During our half-hour conversation, Francois was ambitious about the future of games. He exhibited the video game true believer’s tendency to position games as a remedy for a societal problem. At times he was open about Ubisoft’s shortcomings, at other times defensive or vague."

Video game corporate satire is really overdue an upgrade (Edwin Evans-Thirlwell / Eurogamer - ARTICLE)
"Videogame "satires" of giant corporations have never rung that true for me, largely because some of the most prominent examples are developed by giant corporations. GTA aside, the field is led by Portal 2, a historical and architectural cross-section of a dysfunctional science company created by Valve, the owner of the world's largest PC game distribution platform."

Aesthetic-Driven Development: creating Merchant of the Skies from announcement to Early Access launch (Vladimir Slav - ARTICLE)
"This is how Merchant of the Skies really started. I’ve had an idea of the sky-faring strategy game before, but I could never come up with a proper gameplay. This aesthetic style had its own constraints and actually enhanced my creative process. Essentially, this style gives [the] following limitations..."

Opinion: Everything Is Gamergate (Various / New York Times - ARTICLES)
"Gamergate didn’t invent the tactics that were used. Anonymous accounts and online message boards led vile targeted harassment campaigns a decade before Ms. Quinn’s ex-boyfriend wrote the first words of his post."

The Story Of Super Mario Bros. & All Night Nippon (Gajillionaire / YouTube - VIDEO)
"[SIMON'S NOTE: Background: "All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. is an officially licensed retool of Super Mario Bros., released in 1986 for the Family Computer Disk System. This version is based on the Japanese radio program All Night Nippon, and it was given out as a raffle prize on the show itself."]

Designing Communities for Kindness (Victoria Tran / Medium - ARTICLE)
"Devs tend to know they want a community, but neglect considering what kind of belongingness they want from their communities. And then those who do consider it might decide they want “positive”, “healthy”, and “engaged” communities, which is a great goal, but doesn’t concretely describe what actions to take."

Patreon has become a lifeline for creators of weird, alternative games (Lewis Gordon / The Verge - ARTICLE)
"Cardboard Computer’s turn to the membership-based crowdfunding platform is surprising, both because Kentucky Route Zero has garnered such a warm public response and because Annapurna Interactive, a publisher with definite clout, is set to release the upcoming console versions of the game. But the episodic adventure exploring debt, Greek mythology, and the forgotten corners of America has never been a straightforward project."


[REMINDER: you can sign up to receive this newsletter every weekend at - we crosspost to Gamasutra later, but get it first via newsletter! Story tips and comments can be emailed to [email protected]. MINI-DISCLOSURE: Simon is one of the organizers of GDC and Gamasutra & an advisor to indie publisher No More Robots, so you may sometimes see links from those entities in his picks. Or not!]

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