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Video Game Deep Cuts: Apple Arcade's Blasphemous Ring Fit 2

This week's highlights include some views on Apple Arcade, looks at the latest games, including the very gothic Blasphemous, the odd new Switch fitness title Ring Fit Adventure, and lots more besides.

[Video Game Deep Cuts is a weekly newsletter from video game industry 'watcher' Simon Carless (GDC, Gamasutra co-runner, No More Robots advisor), rounding up the best longread & standout articles & videos about games, every weekend.

This week's highlights include some views on Apple Arcade, looks at the latest games, including the very gothic Blasphemous, the odd new Switch fitness title Ring Fit Adventure, and lots more besides.

All kinds of interesting and fascinating stuff happening out there, and I'm delighted to bring it to you in real-time weekly. Hope you're digging it too!

Until next time...
Simon, curator.]


Spaceships, spooks and shoot 'em ups: the best video games of the autumn (Keith Stuart / The Guardian - ARTICLE)
"From ultra-violent alien hunts to a honking, flapping goose simulator, here are our video game highlights for the season."
Seaman creator Yoot Saito on the fishy Dreamcast AI that was way ahead of its time (Sam Byford / The Verge - ARTICLE)
"This summer marks 20 years since Seaman’s release, so I got in touch with Saito over email to discuss its development and legacy. His responses were so in-depth, with various passionate tangents into subjects like video game history and linguistics, that I decided to reproduce them here with minimal editing."

Blasphemous review: In for a penance, in for a pounding (Jeff Ramos / Polygon - ARTICLE)
"But it’s worth starting simply: Blasphemous is equal parts Soulsborne game mixed into a healthy helping of Metroidvania. But that doesn’t tell us much about what the game is, or what it does well, especially when the goal seems to focus on showing different facets of suffering, and not on the mechanical act of playing the game itself."

Boothing at PAX West (Grace Bruxner / Medium - ARTICLE)
"Hello! I’m going to be writing a little post-mortem on my booth at PAX West 2019 with the Indie Megabooth. I had a really nice time. This is going to be a super straightforward post and probably uninteresting to most people. I came from Australia to Seattle to booth at PAX, so a lot of this stuff is for people who don’t live near the convention. [SIMON'S NOTE: actually, this is interesting, for people who want to show games at trade shows!]"

The Animation of Metal Slug (Video Game Animation Study / YouTube - VIDEO)
"This time we attempt to cover the animation in the Metal Slug series... Thanks to my youngest daughter for shouting "WOW!" whenever she saw me playing Metal Slug for footage capture."

Celeste’s massive new expansion is a good time to play the platforming masterpiece (Nick Statt / The Verge - ARTICLE)
"The excellent indie game Celeste is coming to an end. Today sees the launch of the game’s first, and final, expansion, appropriately titled Farewell. Game developer Matt Thorson... designed the expansion to be one giant send-off: both for main character Madeline, and the players who’ve spent countless hours helping her traverse the titular mountain. [SIMON'S NOTE: also see this Noclip mini-doc about Celeste!]"

Dreamcast 20th anniversary interview extravaganza (Brandon Sheffield / Gamasutra - ARTICLE)
"As we celebrate the life of the Dreamcast rather than its demise, I asked a number of people who worked on the platform to share their thoughts, 20 years later. Many of these people haven't been interviewed in years, and share their Dreamcast stories for the first time. Happy 20th anniversary Dreamcast, you were a weird gleam in the night sky for far too short a time! "

How to Run a Studio Without a Surprise Hit (Various / GDC / YouTube - VIDEO)
"In this 2019 GDC session, Christopher Langmuir, Theresa Duringer and Tanya X. Short give realistic examples of how to run a small game studio without a surprise runaway hit."

A tale of revenge and murder in Rust (Emma Kent / Eurogamer - ARTICLE)
"We often publish uplifting articles on here about the positive impact of games. Whether that be a Skyrim-playing grandma immortalised in the next Elder Scrolls game, or a memorial to a modder's dog - games have an incredible power to heal and soothe. This story's about vengeance."

Life is Strange 2 interview with Michel Koch: Family, religion, and race (Ozzie Mejia / ShackNews - ARTICLE)
"Life is Strange 2 has been a heavy story from Dontnod Entertainment, one that Shacknews was eager to speak to co-game director/art director Michel Koch about. We get raw about the past two episodes, the role of religion, forgiveness, and the touchy subject of race."

i don’t think i like prestige games (GB 'Doc' Burford / Medium - ARTICLE)
"The reason I could predict everything that happened in The Last of Us was because it had already happened elsewhere, most notably in the movie The Road. Nothing I saw in The Last of Us surprised me, because everything in The Last of Us was carefully derived from somewhere else."

Apple Arcade is a tough sell, despite its low price (Nick Summers / Engadget - ARTICLE)
"The more I think about it, though, the less convinced I am that anyone will actually pay for Apple Arcade. For the vast majority of people, the service just doesn't make a lot of sense. [SIMON'S NOTE: Also see USGamer's 'What We Like and Don't Like About Apple Arcade' - personally I think it's a worthy service and I have no idea how well it's gonna do! Should be interesting...]"

The Perpetual Tomorrow of Virtual Reality (Khee Hoon Chan / EGMNow - ARTICLE)
"If virtual reality represents a sea change for gaming, the tide has yet to come in. Sitting opposite the data is an undeniable and enticing truth: VR has long been about submerging players in an alternative, artificial universe, but it’s only now closing in on the fictionalized versions painted by science fiction stories."

Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure is Wii Fit meets Final Fantasy on the Switch (Andrew Webster / The Verge - ARTICLE)
"You play as a hero dressed like a gym rat, and you partner up with a sentient ring named Ring to fight off an incredibly swole purple dragon in a leotard, who is infecting the fantasy realm with darkness. (Nintendo says that the dragon was designed to represent the negative aspects of gym culture, like ultra competitiveness. In other words, he’s a fantastical bro.)"

Choice Design With Zachtronics' Matthew Burns - GDC Podcast Ep. 2 (Kris Graft & Alissa McAloon / GDC - PODCAST)
"Matthew joins Gamasutra's Kris Graft and Alissa McAloon on the newly-minted GDC Podcast to chat about how a game [Eliza] with so little room for choice was brilliantly designed to say so much about player agency. And yes, we just called a visual novel a game, but only because Matthew gave us permission to."

Ars goes back to school: The video games that threatened our college GPA (Ars Staff / Ars Technica - ARTICLE)
"Our staff runs a pretty wide gamut of ages and gaming proclivities, so this list includes a nice variety, but it's incomplete without your contributions. Enjoy our stories for inspiration, then take to the comments and let us know how you juggled your favorite gaming addictions between classes."

'Gears 5' Director on His Career of Salvaging Game Development Trainwrecks (Patrick Klepek / VICE - ARTICLE)
"When Microsoft purchased the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games in 2014, it hired someone from the game’s past to help lead its future, producer Rod Fergusson. This week, Fergusson and his studio, The Coalition, shipped their second game, Gears 5, and the first one directed by Fergusson himself."

The History of Super Mario Bros Warpless World Records (Summoning Salt / YouTube - VIDEO)
"[SIMON'S NOTE: great speedrun discussions, as per normal!]"

Inside The Ghosting, Racism, And Exploitation At Game Publisher Nicalis (Jason Schreier / Kotaku - ARTICLE)
"Ghosting stories like these are common when it comes to Nicalis, a game developer and publisher that has grown big in the independent scene thanks to smash hits like Cave Story and Binding of Isaac but also has cultivated a reputation for mistreating employees and outside developers."

Nearly 30 years ago, Mortal Kombat’s blood forever changed the video game industry (David L Craddock / Polygon - ARTICLE)
"Two engineers from Midway pulled their truck up to an arcade, threw open the shutter door, and rolled out a plain black cabinet. They wheeled it into the cool, dimly lit den of flashing screens and plugged it in near two of Capcom’s Street Fighter 2 machines. Then they waited."


[REMINDER: you can sign up to receive this newsletter every weekend at - we crosspost to Gamasutra later, but get it first via newsletter! Story tips and comments can be emailed to [email protected]. MINI-DISCLOSURE: Simon is one of the organizers of GDC and Gamasutra & an advisor to indie publisher No More Robots, so you may sometimes see links from those entities in his picks. Or not!]

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