Weekly Links #251



Hello, everyone! As of this writing, No Time To Play has been around for eight years (and a half), and the newsletter for five. Join me as we embark on a new five-year mission to explore strange new ways of using interactivity in art. And look, people already have things to say about it!

Too bad news are thin on the ground, which makes sense given the date. Guess I've been spoiled by previous years. Oh, there are the usual retrospectives, predictions... and scandals. Not so much things worth mentioning. The industry sounds more and more like a broken record, and I don't see the situation improving, on the contrary. Only the indie scene is more vibrant than ever, with Itch.io seeing a surge of new release announcements as of January 1st. While GameJolt, on their part, has stopped sending me updates, even as they made noticeable updates to the site and I got mentioned in a forum thread! (Watch video #3, right after the 13-minute mark.) That's not the only breakage I see, either. Bleh.

In the way of extended news, this issue we have: a game jam in honor of the public domain and a retrospective of real-time, first-person dungeon crawlers; details after the cut.

These days, the US celebrate the end of a 20-year freeze on copyright expiration, which is just as insane as it sounds. Via the Intfiction.org forums comes the news of a game jam in honor of the event. Hosted on Itch.io, and organized/judged by famous militants for free culture, the jam lasts until the end of January 2019, and has inclusive, generous rules. There are even real-world prizes! Not much else in the way of details however, at least for now. Good luck to all entrants.

Right after the winter holidays, Jimmy Maher is back in force with a retrospective of first-person dungeon crawlers, a.k.a. blobbers, specifically the real-time kind pioneered by Dungeon Master and definitively established by Eye of the Beholder. Note how much Westwood's later title Land of Lore sounds like a JRPG, and in the good sense at that. Think the Japanese with their mobile consoles were onto something when it came to UI design? You know my opinion.

It's worth remembering that while the real-time blobber remained a niche in a niche, even with high-profile games like Legend of Grimrock being released this decade, their turn-based counterparts never ceased being popular. The Might and Magic series stuck to the formula all the way to the fifth game in the mid-1990s before switching to real-time 3D, producing legendary titles in the process. More recently, games like Heroine Dusk or Das Geisterschiff, that I mentioned here before, have been carrying the torch just fine, while my own Electric Rogue tries to innovate on the formula, at least when it comes to graphics and movement. It's a popular enough genre all right, for one so technically challenging for both creator and player. And that speaks loudly.

Not much else today, so thanks for reading and see you next time.


Tags: meta, news, game jam, retrogaming, rpg