Video Game Deep Cuts: The Year Of The Pac
Wakka wakka wonderful!
[Pic via Tim Lapetino’s sublime ‘365ofPac’ visuals/collecting project, which I only just found!]
Welcome to the revamped Video Game Deep Cuts newsletter, folks. So, since I moved across to Substack as our newsletter host, it has a much more fully-featured CMS than Tinyletter.
Therefore, I thought I’d try a different newsletter format, inspired by both my buddy Juan Gril’s suggestions & Rex Sorgatz’s (sadly on hiatus) Recs newsletter. Feedback is very much appreciated - do you like it more? Less? Are the headings useful? Ping me with comments.
- Simon, curator
The Current: Recent Games In The Spotlight
Half-Life: Alyx is “scary as hell, and proves Valve’s VR gamble paid off.”
The Nintendo-published indie Good Job! definitely breaks social distancing rules, but looks super cute.
In Other Waters is a unique-looking adventure game “where you get to play a helpful AI assistant to a xenobiologist on the trail of a missing colleague.”
Always fascinating to see how Animal Crossing: New Leaf is covered in the New Yorker. (Spoiler: it’s about ‘finding connection’.)
Just out on Steam, but another of the Apple Arcade flood I missed, Over The Alps is “a Hitchcockian World War Two spy thriller” with an intriguing dev heritage.
The Culture: Game Culture & Deep Dives
Why does Animal Crossing’s fake language sound different in Japan?
A love letter to video games, in the time of coronavirus.
How a cozy, therapeutic vibe was created in hit visual novel/java-slinging sim Coffee Talk.
Mutazione’s Hannah Nicklin has a ‘virtual GDC 2020’ talk on why writing for an ensemble in video games is great, vs. typical ‘hero’s journey’ tropes.
A neat mini-doc about the impact of the Hadouken in the Street Fighter series.
The Past: Game History
The history of how the Magnavox Odyssey was advertised to ‘70s proto-gamers, in visuals.
The quest to beat a legend in speedrunning on Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out.
On the making of Big Blue Box/Lionhead’s Fable, featuring “angry swans and crippling crunch”.
57 classic Atari games are now conquerable via artificial intelligence, because of course they are.
The Other Goodness
Why netcode (& lag) can make or break your favorite online fighting game - and currently is!
In a hard time for positivity, a focus on why Kind Words is wonderfully uplifting as a game concept.
Game designer Adam Saltsman (Overland/Canabalt) critiques the design of Doom Eternal.
The intriguing imagined evolution of Riot Games from single-product ‘stuck in the mud’ to expansive multi-game universe creator.
What happens when the coronavirus outbreak messes with your game announcement plans.
Thanks for reading, and see you next week!