Author Archive

The fallen price of indie games

“It was obvious hours into launch that I’d messed up.”

In 2010, Terry Cavanagh released the platformer VVVVVV with a launch price of $15 but soon received complaints about it being priced too high. Kieron Gillen wrote in the RPS review of VVVVVV, “While I think it is worth the money, fifteen dollars does strike you as a lot for an indie lo-fi platformer.”

“I desperately wanted to fix it and drop the price,” says Cavanagh. “But it seemed super unfair to the people who’d already paid $15, so I held my ground. More than that, I’d done pre-orders – over a hundred people had given me money before the game had even come out to help keep me afloat. It would have been totally unfair to reduce the price of the game to less than what they’d paid for a pre-order.”

Cavanagh was one of many who discovered the hard way that the price of indie games was on the way down. Should independent developers just accept low prices as a given – or is there an argument for pushing back against market forces? Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Recursed

If you found Inception’s dream within a dream within a dream too difficult to follow, you’ll be hopeless at brain-shredding puzzle game Recursed by Portponky. In Recursed, you can easily find yourself inside a room inside a room inside a room… while, uh, carrying the room you’re in.

If this sounds like your Möbius strip of tea, read on and I will tell you Wot I Think. Read the rest of this entry »

Editorial: When Is It OK To Spoil A Mechanic?

Now and again, a game comes around whose experience is so vulnerable to spoiling, that it seems merely whispering a single detail could annihilate sales. Reviewers and enthusiasts who would ordinarily wax lyrical about a beloved game find themselves in the awkward position of trying to recommend the game without, uh, mentioning what it’s about. You’ve probably heard of Alexander Martin’s Starseed Pilgrim, right? Or maybe you haven’t, considering we’re not supposed to talk about it. Shhhhh.

But what if something exists beyond those spoilers, something else that we should talk about?

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Wot I Think: Quarries of Scred

Back in 2009, Kieron Gillen foretold that someone, somewhere would punch Terry Cavanagh in the face for the notorious yet optional VVVVVV challenge of Veni Vidi Vici. I can see a similar punishment being doled out for developer “Noble Kale” for his game Quarries of Scred because almost every time I play, no matter how determined I am to win, it kills me with rocks. Always bloody rocks.

So let me tell you wot I think about Quarries of Scred, a game I describe as the Flappy Bird of the Boulder Dash family.

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Of Mice And Gamepads: The Future Of Controllers

If I’m going to be dull and reductive about it, playing videogames works like this: we tell a game something through an input device – say, a gamepad, motion contoller, touch screen or keyboard – and get a response back in the form of images or sound. It’s like a conversation, but it’s shaped by the devices we use to talk. Without the Wiimote, there is no Wii Sports. Without the touch screen, there is no Fingle or Bloop.

If I don’t own the relevant controller, then I can’t play these games. But what if the controller doesn’t even exist? Many games are impossible to conceive of because we don’t have the hardware to act as muse. Are we living on a junk diet of gamepads and mice – or a rich land of controller plenty?

Let’s have a chat with a few developers and see wot what they think.

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