Whether you're breaking the tree down out of the attic (and watch out for the spiders I promise you have made a thriving little metropolis in its dusty branches since last year), preparing for an entirely different holiday, or just kicking back for another month of simple mayhem and debauchery, this week's Link Dump Friday is for you.
Don't You Just Perform The Fusion Dance? It isn't as easy to categorize games as it used to be. Trust us, we know. Every year as we prepare for Best of, we go back through all the articles we've published to make sure they're properly labeled and have a bunch of fights over what belongs where. The reason is relatively simple... developers are becoming more and more creative with combining genres, making games that are less "just a platformer" than ever before. It seems appropriate, then, that the brilliant folks at Extra Credits have released an episode dealing with combining genres, and, like everything they do, you should probably watch it. After all, both players and developers are constantly clamouring for innovation, but if you don't think about what you're doing and why, that way there be monsters... of the patchwork Frankenstein's sort.
An Extra Squishy Post-Mortem Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl's action-roguelike The Binding of Isaac is one of the most disturbing, fleshy, and addictive experiences around, marrying simple but challenging gameplay with concepts and designs that are, uh... different. As such, any fan would do well to check out the recently released postmortem written by Edmund himself that deals with everything from where the team feels they succeeded and failed, to censorship, blasphemy... and the announcement that development has begun on The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, a remake bound for consoles. Details are currently sketchy, although they do say one of the plans is for an overhaul of the visuals into 16-bit (which could help get the game on Nintendo's eShops) and we can only hope we get our hands on it via iOS as well, though Edmund expresses concern over how the game might control on iPad. More Isaac? We're all for it!
A Place Like Home For Indies If you love indie games and want to see even more of them, you might want to consider helping the Kickstarter for LA Game Space get off the ground. Based in Los Angeles, it plans to be a "non-profit center for video game art, design, and research", with the profits from the funding going towards the development of their physical space, where you can attend talks and other events like exhibitions, or view all of them online if you can't make it to California. What's interesting here is that donators have some pretty swank incentives. Just $5.00USD gets you an exclusive game by Keita Takahashi (creator of Katamari Damacy), while $15.00USD not only includes that, a bunch of classic indie games like Aquaria and a Christmas edition of Super Crate Box, but also a whopping 30 brand new experimental games by everyone from Hotline Miami creator Cactus to something magical from the combined talents of Adventure Time's Pen Ward and QWOP's Bennett Foddy. So... amazing free games and the opportunity to fund a place where even more can be helped to get off the ground?... am... I dead? Is this heaven?
Gaming With Friends Side-By-Side Multiplayer is cool and all, but while it may be harder to organise at times, there's something more infinitely satisfying about the party atmosphere you can get from local multiplayer, and Die Gute Fabrik want you to experience even more of it with their Kickstarter for Sportsfriends, a pack of four local multiplayer sports-ish games destined first for a Playstation Network release and then your humble computer (PC, Mac, or Linux.). $15.00USD gets you a copy of the game for your choice of platforms, while a whopping $60.00USD gets you an additional three unreleased games by the developers... Bennett Foddy, Noah Sasso, and Ramiro Corbetta. The games, which range from an enhanced version of PoleRiders to Johann Sebastian Joust, which has no graphics whatsoever but unspeakable levels of hilarity when played with a group of lively friends, are all perfect for a evening of rowdy fun. The downside is the initial PSN exclusivity, as well as the fact that many of these games require a controller instead of a keyboard, but if you and your friends love gaming together and competing for fun, then this is definitely a project to consider checking out.
Mo' Murder? No Problem! The adrenaline-fuelled arcade action game Hotline Miami, about a man driven to horrifying acts of violence by messages he receives on his answering machine, is as disturbing as it is fun... and for a game about brutally murdering tons of people (usually in fashions that ensure no court would ever set you free), it's a lot of fun. If you're a fan, then, you may be excited to know that a sequel is already being planned. No development has begun, as the team is still working on polishing and patching the original, and though originally planned as DLC, the release wound up being so big in planned scope (as long as Hotline Miami itself) that the team feels it makes more sense to put it out as a full game instead. Sound good to you?... eh, who am I kidding, you're always looking for an excuse to take your rubber masks out of storage. Creepy, really.
Just Got, Like, A Lot of Dust In My Eyes If you don't like to cry, you may want to avoid reading Allow Natural Death, the devastatingly honest and heart-breaking article by gamer Jenn Frank that deals with her mother's death, and how her thoughts on games (as well as her personal experience with Terry Cavanagh's Super Hexagon) impacted her thinking during that time. If you haven't finished Super Hexagon, you'll want to avoid this since it has spoilers about the end of the game, but Jenn's beautiful writing and heartfelt sincerity as she lets us into this incredibly painful and intimate moment in her life, painted through snapshots of her life, is worth reading. Strictly game related? Not necessarily. But I figure every now and then we could all use some reminding that the people on the other side of the flashing lights, sounds, and lines of code that we enjoy have hearts that beat like ours, and things like these bind us all together in unexpected ways.
Do you know an upcoming indie project or some community gaming related news you think deserves some attention? Send me an e-mail with LINK DUMP FRIDAY in the subject line at dora AT casualgameplay DOT com with the info, and we'll judge it with the all-seeing glare of our own self-importance for inclusion in a future Link Dump Friday article!