Favorite games in 2017

December 31, 2017 No Comments

For my own record, here are my favorite games I played in 2017. Just like last year, I don’t really mind if a game was released this year or sometime before—just that I played it in 2017. The list is no particular order.

Cosmic Express

Alan Hazelden’s Sokobond was a bit too complex for my taste, and while A Good Snowman was charming, it was a bit on the simple side. Cosmic Express feels like the exact in-between option, and also one of the better and most accessible track-drawing puzzle games I’ve played so far. It also gets pretty hard once you get to the bonus challenges.

2064: Read Only Memories

A surprisingly well thought out sci-fi story with a fantastic lo-fi graphical style. Although the story is good, I find the level of detail, character and world building surrounding the plot even more interesting than the story itself. The voice acting really is the topping on the cake.

OneShot

Although I’m not sure if this game was inspired by Undertale directly, it seems to follow many of the same values, and also has some curious programming wizardry, constantly breaking the fourth wall as part of the story. It seems Undertale’s success sent a message to the (indie) game industry: Start making more thoughtful and non-violent games, which I suspect we’ll see more of in the coming years.

Stephen’s Sausage Roll

Behind the rough graphics lies one of the best thought-out puzzle worlds of all time. Sausages are both the means of reaching the goal, obstacles and the goal itself at the same time. The simplicity in mechanics allows the dynamics to really shine, provided you take your time to figure it all out.

THOTH

Wonderfully minimalist and feels like a joy to play. Feels very much like a puzzle game while also being a twin-stick shooter, and this combination works wonders. The sound design is just as much ambient goodness as 140 was (which also got a new level this year).

Card City Nights 2

The wonderful team at Ludosity keeps putting out interesting spins to well established genres (like Ittle Dew 2). It’s a good thing these games just can’t take themselves seriously, since CCN doesn’t shy away from injecting a bit of nonsense into story and gameplay from time to time, keeping things fresh throughout.

The Jackbox Party Pack 3

The future of multiplayer gaming. Ever since I introduced this game to my friends, we barely play any other multiplayer games. Some incredibly well thought out game sessions that are genuinely comedic.

Wonders between Dunes

This year’s walking sim award (last year’s was NaissanceE). While you could take the touristic route by following the breadcrumb trail, you’re free to explore between the dunes. All vistas are wonderfully crafted and thoughtful, with wonderful sound design to boot.

80 Days

Story and strategy majestically combine in this round-the-world trip. While you want to see as much of the world as you can, you have a deadline to meet, so you’ll have to make some tough decisions. The story itself is incredibly thoughtful and diverse, as well as grand in scope.

Honorable mentions

Zelda: Breath of the Wild – A breath of fresh air for the open world genre and the discussion on player autonomy.
Super Mario Oddessy – Takes a new spin on the open world genre in a completely different way than Zelda did it.
Puyo Puyo Tetris – Guess all I’ve ever wanted in a Tetris game was a good story/mission mode. Still learning how to properly play Puyo Puyo.
Hacknet – Good puzzle game that also sort of teaches you how computers work!
Social Caterpillar – A game that attempt to explain what it’s like to be an introvert by abstracting communication and social situations. Bit rough around the edges but still excellent food for thought.
Scrolling Survivor – Finally someone managed to make a good autoscrolling platformer. Awesome one-bit art style, very well thought out gameplay and quite a bit of content to uncover.
Finding Paradise – This takes ludo-narrative dissonance to the extreme, and just like To The Moon, provides excellent commentary on the meaning of life.

2018

Well, I hear Runner3 is releasing! No idea what Nintendo is up to after Mario and Zelda. Other than that, I see myself gravitating more towards smaller experimental/non-traditional games (this is the first year I’m including games hosted on itch.io on this list) and expect that trend to continue.

How to record gameplay footage

April 11, 2017 No Comments

(This post is primarily intended for those invited to playtest my games– but you might also find this information useful if you’re looking into simple recording software yourself. Enjoy!)

Recording gameplay footage creates the most useful information for me, while keeping the workload for you low, aside from actually testing the game. It can be a bit tricky to set up, so here’s how it works.

Please do a test run of your recording program to make sure it works and is set up correctly! Thanks!

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About UI friction, or ‘Death of the Title Screen’

March 13, 2017 No Comments

I love UI and UX. It’s quite hard to design, and takes a long time to get right, but it’s so satisfying when you ultimately get it right. I’m currently working on the UI of my precision platformer Mobility, and I’ve seen a lot of both good and bad examples lately, so I thought I’d write about the subject more in-depth.

The goal of most UI, no matter if it’s for an application, a game menu, the interface of an operating system, or whatever, it’s to get the user from A to B as fast as possible. That means it’s both obvious to the users/players which actions they need to take in order to accomplish their goal, as well as having as little steps between A and B as possible. In the context of a game, this usually means that the player can get from booting the game to actual gameplay as quickly as possible, and for bigger games, that users can comfortably navigate inventory, shop and trade menus.

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Sokobanana design

February 7, 2017 No Comments

Let’s continue the tradition of explaining the design of my games using my latest creation, Sokobanana! I’m primarily making these so I can reference my design choices later in case I forget them, but I’m putting them on my blog for everyone to see. This contains spoilers for the puzzles of Sokobanana, so play that first so you know what I’m talking about. You might need to click ‘Read more’ to display the entire post.

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Faves of 2016

February 6, 2017 No Comments

That’s another year gone by! This year I ended on the Backloggery memory card with a score of +25, which is just slightly less than my end score last year. This year I released JMPR for Game Boy Jam 5 and Tahira’s Tower (also for Android). That’s just two projects, but I’ve been hard at work on Mobility as well, which I’m realistically aiming to release this year. I’m currently also making stuff in Puzzlescript, so you can expect to see those soon as well.

As part of the wrap-up, here’s the list of my favorite games of the year. As always, it doesn’t have to mean the games have been released this year– just that I played them. The list is in no particular order. These also mainly list commercial games– if you’re looking for freeware games I like, check out this itch.io collection.

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