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Video Game Deep Cuts: Doom, Final Doom, Doom 2020

by Simon Carless on 01/04/20 08:53:00 pm   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.

The latest highlights include two standout articles about id Software's classic Doom, as well as some picks for the top upcoming games of 2020, some final 'best of 2019' charts, some great retro game articles, & lots more besides.

So I'm sure there won't REALLY be doom in 2020, and I'm just goofing, but I hope everyone has a very pleasant New Year and keeps pushing games as a great pastime & art form. And also isn't one of those people getting a bit over the top with exploitative F2P, that's none of you folks, right? Great. Happy New Year!

Until next time...
Simon, curator.]


Vampires, gangsters and Keanu Reeves: our games picks for 2020 (Keith Stuart & Keza MacDonald / The Guardian - ARTICLE)
"A remake of a beloved classic, long-awaited sequels, alien shooting and Minecraft adventure lead our preview of this year’s most anticipated releases."

Dear Player: I love you, let’s talk (Jennifer Scheurle / Polygon - ARTICLE)
"Dear Player, We don’t really know each other at the best of times. In most cases, we will never get to meet — and yet, our relationship is one of love. At least, I feel this way about you. I’m never quite as sure how you feel about me, either good or bad, due to how many of those emotions are communicated only in the strongest possible terms."

Gamasutra's Best of 2019: 8 standout Apple Arcade games (Staff / Gamasutra - ARTICLE)
"Apple Arcade’s curated library launched with a number of captivating titles, and those ever-growing ranks include several games that wormed their way into the daily lives of Gamasutra’s editorial team and our various devices. So on top of our usual Best of 2019 coverage, here are editors’ personal picks for the best games currently on Apple Arcade."

The Roots of Doom Mapping: An Evolution of Level Design Through the Most Influential WADs Ever Made (Not Jabba / DoomWorld - ARTICLE)
"As we worked on 25 Years of Doom, we tossed around all kinds of ideas for historical articles: a history of gameplay modding, histories of specific mapping styles, histories of memes. There was even some half-joking discussion about a history of Doom maps featuring helipads with a giant letter H on them. You could probably write that article if you wanted to. There’s been plenty of material. But a history of all Doom mapping…well, that’d be an entire book’s worth of content."

The Cost Of Being A Woman Who Covers Video Games (Maddy Myers / Kotaku - ARTICLE)
"Now that it’s 2020, I keep thinking about how it felt to be a woman writing about gender in video games back in 2010. Ten years ago, the gender imbalance in the video game industry was not seen as a problem to be solved so much as a mundane and largely unquestioned reality."

The “Zorfon” Mystery: Answers from a Golden-Age Video Game Developer (Rob Wanenchak / Medium - ARTICLE)
"Noelie Alito not only answered my questions about the odd cartridge in my possession, ZORFON PATROL, she kindly answered a number of interview questions, allowing me a glimpse into what it was like working for General Computer Corporation doing programming for Atari games in the early 1980s."

Exploring the Tech and Design of Noita (Petri Purho / GDC / YouTube - VIDEO)
"In this 2019 GDC session, Nolla Games' Petri Purho talks about the technical details of Noita's physics engine, including scaling up the falling sand simulation to support large continuous worlds and integrating destructible rigid body physics, while demonstrating the emergent physics based gameplay."

The year in videogame blogging: 2019 (Kris Ligman / Critical Distance - ARTICLE)
"Sure, we’re still arguing over whether games are capital-A Art and reinventing the (totally fake) ludology-narratology “debates” for the umpteenth time, but I can say without reservation that this year’s writers are the most diverse, talented, and fearless bunch I’ve ever laid eyes on. [SIMON'S NOTE: if you want the 'social issues around games' take in 2019, Kris & friends are the best as per usual.]"

Ghouls ‘n Ghosts – 1988 Developer Interview (Shmuplations / Gamest - ARTICLE)
"In this interview, conducted at the 1988 AM Show arcade trade event, Makaimura/Ghosts’n Goblins creator Tokuro Fujiwara and greenhorn Hiroshi Yamamoto discuss the making of Daimakaimura/Ghouls’n Ghosts, the impending sequel to Capcom’s 1985 smash hit arcade game, and how both an influx of new blood and new arcade hardware allowed the team to more fully realize the concepts established in the original game."

Gamasutra's Best of 2019: The top 10 games of the year (Staff / Gamasutra - ARTICLE)
"From a high-end multiplayer first-person shooter to a weird game about a rich-person sport, followed by a beautifully dreary RPG with a twisted-up protagonist, here are Gamasutra's top 10 games of 2019. Also: Gamasutra's Best of 2019: Kris Graft's top 10 gamesGamasutra's Best of 2019: Alissa McAloon's top 5 games (from 2018's backlog)Gamasutra's Best of 2019: Chris Kerr's Top 5 GamesGamasutra's Best of 2019: Bryant Francis' Top 10 GamesGamasutra's Best of 2019: Katherine Cross' Top 5 GamesGamasutra's Best of 2019: Alex Wawro's Top 5 Games."

How much of a genius-level move was using binary space partitioning in Doom? (Sinclair Target / Ars Technica - ARTICLE)
"I’ve also wondered where binary space partitioning first came from and how the idea found its way to Carmack. So this post is about John Carmack and Doom, but it is also about the history of a data structure: the binary space partitioning tree (or BSP tree). It turns out that the BSP tree, rather interestingly, and like so many things in computer science, has its origins in research conducted for the military."

Surviving GameStop: How Passion, Community, and Novelty Keep Indie Game Stores Alive (Phillip Moyer / EGM Now - ARTICLE)
"“You’ll never find this. You’ll probably never see another one of these unless you go online and look at a picture,” said Brian Marks, beaming with pride while waving around his store’s newest purchase. Marks is the owner of Game Repair, an independent game shop in Las Vegas. He just got his hands on a 56k modem for the Nintendo GameCube."

How the Photo Mode Became a Homogenized Feature of Commodified Games (Dia Lacina / VICE - ARTICLE)
"A day of finding those incongruous spaces is what feeds me creatively. It’s what I’m starving for when I consider the game worlds where I try, and so often fail, to get similarly lost. We've gotten too good at designing video game worlds. We have best practices, rubrics for successful map design, techniques and technologies to guide players — and we need to guide them — down explicit pathways."

The Making of Outer Wilds - Documentary (Noclip / YouTube - VIDEO)
"We talk to the developers at Mobius Digital Games about the design of their breakthrough hit - Outer Wilds. [SIMON'S NOTE: exemplary work from Danny O'Dwyer and friends, as per usual.]"

The most anticipated video games of 2020 (Elise Favis / Washington Post - ARTICLE)
"The new year leaves us on the precipice of a new console generation. Titles like Hellblade: Senua’s Saga, Halo: Infinite and Godfall are announced for next gen platforms, while others haven’t revealed PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X versions (i.e. Cyberpunk 2077) and will release for the current generation. Despite this transitional period, we still have plenty to be excited about."

25 Years With an Invisible Elephant in the Room (Tom James / Medium - ARTICLE)
"It’s about time we in Western circles more widely grappled with the place that historical dating sims inhabit within this canon. In the remaining days of this year, one already rife with significant anniversaries in video game history, there’s one paradigm-defining entry in the genre that turned 25 this past May, yet has lamentably gone ignored despite its sheer presence in its homeland and its immense legacy remaining in many of today’s chart-topping hits."

Blendo Games Has Been At It For 10 Years, And Has Consistently Kicked Ass (Heather Alexandra / Kotaku - ARTICLE)
"A decade can feel short, but it’s still plenty of time to build out an artistic catalogue. As AAA studios labored towards creating bigger and more expensive games in the 2010s, one indie developer helped shape how we think of video games stories, using narrative subversion, clever editing, and an overall sense of playfulness. The developer is Brendon Chung and his independent studio, Blendo Games."

The 100 Best Video Games of the 2010s (Staff / Slant Magazine - ARTICLE)
"Comedian Kumail Nanjiani claimed some years back that video games are the only art form that got better solely because of technology. While that’s arguably been true for much of the medium’s history, it ceased to be the case in the 2010s. The decade in gaming didn’t lack for astounding technical achievements, but its arc was defined less by powerful technology than powerful ideas."

Buzz Aldrin’s Race into Space (and Space-Program Games in General) (Jimmy Maher / The Digital Antiquarian - ARTICLE)
"But this article is not about one or more of those interesting cultural outliers. It’s rather about an interestingly scanty subgenre of games which seems like it ought to have been perfect for the demographic I’ve just described, but that for some reason just never quite took off. Specifically, I speak of games based on the realities of space exploration in a contemporary context, as opposed to the outer-space fantasias of Star Wars and the like."

What Cats Can Teach You About Empathic Game Design (Willem Delventhal / GDC / YouTube - VIDEO)
"In this 2019 GDC session, Mew and Me's Willem Delventhal explains how designing games for house cats helped him think about designing games for humans as well. "

How Unity Of Command 2 balances game design with military history (Alex Wiltshire / RockPaperShotgun - ARTICLE)
"But as well as dealing with Europe’s topography, the sequel would also have to be a lot more complex than the first. “It was a much more technically complicated war than the Eastern front,” he says. The war here was heavily affected by intelligence and the Allies’ almost continual air superiority. There were amphibious landings and it involved armies from many different countries. ”Multidimensional. We needed more stuff.”"


[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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