Here are some thoughts on a few new-ish Itch.io games - The Alpha Device, sacrament iv. and (untitled) the flower game. My first foray into Itch and by the looks of things definitely not the last.
About a month ago I did a semi-personal thing about why I really like Celeste:
And on Valentine’s Day I talked about why Aqua is the last redeeming quality of the Kingdom Hearts series:
Oh I missed that Valentine’s day post, cool!
I just launched a new podcast/Youtube series called The Writing Game. It’s an examination of how the rules of writing, storytelling and game design can fit together to make more cohesive and interest projects. I started it because while I love all the discussion and analysis on other video game and writing podcast, there was nothing that was more actionable. Not that this is a how-to guide, more here are some theories and ideas to consider when writing and making video games.
The post can be found here: Rule the World
That’s the video for the first episode, which is more an introduction to the importance of rules for both the story and the game. You can also find the podcast on iTunes at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-writing-game/id1349670897?mt=2 New episodes will be released every two weeks.
I’d love some feedback, so please feel free to let me know what you think, what could be improved or what topics you want me to cover.
I also have two other podcasts, one is about startups and tech here in Helsinki called StartupHEL. The other is my personal podcast/Vlog called One Game Dad1.
A few weeks ago I wrote a review of Iconoclasts. You can find it here: https://www.giantbomb.com/iconoclasts/3030-38695/user-reviews/2200-30486/
I made this video recap of the first stage of this season of the Overwatch League and I’m still not sure if it’s somewhat entertaining or just pure cringe. Would love to hear your opinions! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRJNG9mXbAA
Just published a new video! It’s a base primer on action game design using the Bleed games as examples of what to do and not do.
There’s a part of me that wants to link posts from my Tumblr blog here, but the thing is, 90% of my critical writing is just prompts from my followers? My Tumblr is just an ongoing ask blog where I schedule a bunch of posts to go up usually once a day
And sometimes I put a lot of effort in to those things, but since they’re just people asking me questions it’s hard to put them in to context for this thread here. Especially because I get a lot of questions about, like, Sonic the Hedgehog opinions
But usually those branch out in to other topics. For example:
This ask is about what I think about the boost Sonic games (Sonic Rush, Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Generations, etc.) but it turns in to a post where I talk about accessibility in games, how other developers (Platinum and Arcsys) are backing away from hardcore systems-driven gameplay, and how that might reflect on Sonic’s scattershot tendencies.
Here’s an ask about the SSX series that I use as a springboard to talk about franchise fatigue.
Here’s an ask about Sonic vs. Nintendo’s sense of “atmosphere” as communicated via hub worlds and background elements that Nintendo used to ignore.
Here’s probably the last one I should link, which someone asks me about how Sonic would work as an open world game, and I push back, talking about what makes open world game design special, and why Sonic the Hedgehog has trouble fitting in to that concept.
I finally finished my piece on the Assassin’s Creed: Origins Discovery Tour mode. Overall I think it’s amazing that it exists, and I see a lot of potential in these types of educational tools. However, I have a few small issues with implementation here, and one larger issue with how the mode distances itself from the inspirational anti-colonial themes engrained in the game. Here are my thoughts.
Yo. This is really good!
So I wrote my games of the year for 2017 and its the first piece of writing i’ve done outside of academia. Was looking for any feedback whatsoever http://contentplate.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/games-of-year-2017.html
This is really good, I love you brought in Said and made the distinction between the main game and the Discovery modes approach to Egypt
Do you prefer here or in private?
Here is fine mate, I know it is pretty bad but I have to learn somehow
No, not at all. I think it’s pretty good. It’s one of these situations where there’s a solid foundation but a lot of small things you can do to make it more readable. Also keep in mind that I’m by no means a popular blogger or anything, so these comments don’t really have any authority behind them. It’s just how I personally think stuff works better.
First, I don’t want to linger on specific errors in grammar or punctuation, but there is enough of them that I think it should be pointed out. This stuff comes with time, but if you want to speed up the process, a somewhat hacky but useful trick is to Google your sentence - or something similar if it’s too specific - in quotation marks and see if you find any credible results. If not, chances are your formulation is iffy, and you could fish around for something better. That’s not to say non-standard formulations are bad, but you need to be conscious of the fact they are non-standard, and make sure your readers know you’re conscious of it as well, otherwise they come off as unprofessional.
As far as more specific stuff goes, I like to treat these multi-entry posts as consisting of several mini-reviews, and in reviews I like to always have a central thesis that I go by. It’s perfectly reasonable and even desirable to open up by describing how a game got on your radar and giving a short description of the plot premise and gameplay, but after that I think it’s important to focus on a 2-3 specific things you want to say about the game. In some of your entries, like the ones on Bomber Squad and PUBG, this is done very well. Others need a bit more focus. I’m specifically thinking about AC:O. It looks like you had a lot to say about the game and you get a bit too specific to my taste about some details. In a review, the various parts could be fleshed out; in a round-up like this, I think you need to be a bit more concise.
But, yeah, all in all I think you’re doing really well, especially for your first time writing about games, and I really identified with what you had to say about Yakuza 0 and 2017 as a whole. Keep it up.
Also, this is a bit specific, but regarding DDLC, it’s really not easy thinking about how to review a game where you don’t want to say anything about the game itself. I’d check out Jim Sterling’s reviews of The Stanley Parable and The Beginner’s Guide for ideas on how to accomplish that - I think they’re very good examples of how to talk about an idea without discussing the specifics.
Anyway, yeah, sorry if that’s a bit long or preachy. Hopefully I said some valuable things.
@Dyfrig I will echo @BigNoNo’s comments - what I found personally helpful for me when checking for grammar and punctuation errors is spending A LOT of time editing and proofreading. Thinking about it, maybe 40-50% of the work I put into my posts is done after I actually write them: multiple readings, patching out errors, moving things around, adding/removing things and trying to catch small mistakes.
It can definitely be uncomfortable to do this, but in the end it’s worth it, your post will always be better because of this.
Regarding the length - I had the same problem with the GOTY list to be honest so I won’t chide you there, I wanted to say way too much as well, in the end I had to split it into two posts.
I really enjoyed the way you described your time with Bomber Crew, keep the writing going, would love to read more!
Firstly, thank you for taking the time to have a read with a critical eye and actually give feedback, it means a hell of a lot.
The google tip sounds really handy, is their a particular example that really stood out?
I completely get what you mean about AC:O. Even when writing it I thought to myself ‘I could just keep on going’. I had so many thoughts on the game I couldnt find a through line to focus on.
Yeah, I had a tough time on DDLC but I felt I had to put something down (even if nobody was going to read it). I’ll definitely check out Jim’s work.
Thank you very much though mate, your feedback is far from preachy and I appreciate it a lot.
@Seva Im going to assume you are a fellow Liverpool supporter, so props for that.
Thanks for reading though, it honestly means a lot. Yeah I definitely need to spend more time proof reading, you would think after university i’d have learnt but I still find myself being lackadaisical reading through it over an over.
Length wise, as BigNoNo said, I had so many thoughts on AC:O I should have figured out where I wanted to go with them first.
Again mate, thanks for the time to provide some feedback, it means a lot. Im glad you enjoyed the Bomber Crew section, I had the most fun writing that part.
You’re more than welcome! I really love game critique, so getting to give and get feedback is always a pleasure.
For phrasing that stood out as being a bit weird, just off the top of the article, you’ve got something like “so as one Vincent Caravella is said to say…” I would Google “so as * is said to say” and continue from there. Note that I don’t think this is necessarily grammatically incorrect but it sounds awkward due to repeating a lot of s sounds.
As for DDLC, I totally get that. Sometimes you feel like you need to mention this one game but you don’t know how. I had the same problem with my GOTY video when it came to Wolfenstein II. And your instinct was right - better to put something down than nothing, 'cause nothing can’t be improved.