march highlights

mixed media

Some highlights from March:

Goldfish by Ondřej Žára is a charming game perfect as an introduction to roguelikes. Play a magical goldfish granting wishes to fishermen while upgrading your jaws, scales, and fins to survive underwater caverns. It even runs in Haiku's browser. It's but one of the many seven day roguelike games created this month along with Kunoichi.

Game Hunter's Let's Play of the 2013 7DRL entries is practically a course in game design. Seeing how each game provides or tries to provide assistance to new players, feedback, and a compelling experience in 15-20 minute episodes helped prepare for my first foray into the challenge. He's also playing through all of the 2014 successes as well.

To the Moon by Freebird Games featured some lovely music with an unusual premise: Providing the terminally ill with artificial memories such that they die happy. I'd love to see something done with the premise that provided more player agency, but this was still an enjoyable experience.

Shadowrun Returns was enjoyable mainly for nolstagic reasons: I loved the SNES Shadowrun and creating characters (and sometimes even playing!) the tabletop game. The skill layout is notable for clearly showing prerequisites and caps, and like the tabletop game, creating a character, selecting those skills, and imagining how your character will behave was enjoyable.

The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey describes Gallwey's methods for students to train their attention while quieting their fears, need for control, and desires to do better. In doing so, Gallwey provides a concrete example of how Csikszentmihalyi's flow theory can be applied from both educator and student perspectives.

How to develop video games is still in its infancy compared to playing tennis, but three other pieces I read this month try to provide some guidance: Neil Gaiman's Make Good Art provides a high-level overview on making creative works in general. Rise of the Videogame Zinesters by Anna Anthropy covers similar ground while focusing on videogames while stating that you, too, can create a video game. Right now, today! Keep doing it, and you'll get better! "Reasons for Modest First Projects and Incremental Learning" by Chris DeLeon is a shorter alternative to Anthropy's work with the same message—Make a small game today! Get better!—with a more traditional game-development focus.