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This week's highlights include the Cyberpunk RPG's original author, 4D Toys' brain-bending surreality, Fire Pro Wrestling's resurgence, and lots more.

Simon Carless, Blogger

July 17, 2017

8 Min Read

[Video Game Deep Cuts is a weekly newsletter from curator/video game industry veteran Simon Carless, rounding up the best longread & standout articles & videos about games, every weekend.

This week's highlights include the Cyberpunk RPG's original author, 4D Toys' brain-bending surreality, Fire Pro Wrestling's resurgence, and lots more.

Just blasting out this set of links after a busy week, and the breadth of items is again outstanding. Particularly wanted to give attention to Cool Ghosts' Zelda: Breath Of The Wild analysis video linked below, which is a near best-case scenario for 'videos about games on the Internet' .

He's a creator who's been Patreon-funded to make truly thoughtful videos that bypass the initial hype cycle. But that's just what I want - you can agree or disagree :P

Until next time...

Simon, curator.]


Top Fallout 4 and Skyrim modders weigh in on Bethesda's Creation Club (Austin Wood / PC Gamer)
"The Creation Club was Bethesda’s most contentious E3 announcement. A follow-up to Valve’s failed paid mods program, the Creation Club will allow third-party developers, including modders, to create sanctioned add-on content for Fallout 4 and Skyrim: Special Edition."

Mind Games: Dissecting Get Even's Narrative-Mechanics Synergy (Michael Sabbagh / Gamasutra Blogs)
"But beneath the recent roundup of highly advertised and regarded releases lies a diamond in the rough, a game that similarly addresses the intricacies of human thought while also setting up its systems and mechanics in a way that is far more than meets the eye. It's a title that, despite not achieving the same level of attention as the heavy-hitters, harbors its own bag of surprising tricks. That game is Get Even."

Videogame gardens can be spaces for reflection (Henrique Antero / Zam)
"Gardens provide solace and refuge from the frenzy of the world. The english philosopher Francis Bacon famously opens his essay Of Gardens by stating: “God Almighty first planted a Garden. And indeed it is the purest of human pleasures.” Gardens are seen as a space for contemplation, associated with quietness, meditation, and a passive approach to life and time."

What the World of Fighting Games Looks Like the Eve of Its Biggest Event (Josh Melnick / Waypoint)
"The 16th installment of the historic fighting game world championship, Evolution (a.k.a. EVO), is just around the corner, featuring nine main stage games, each with their own rivalries. The players we see duking it out in the many top 8's come with years of history in their respective communities. [SIMON'S NOTE: OK, a little LTTP on this, but a really good overview of the scene nonetheless.]"

The Hitman GO Design Postmortem (Daniel Lutz / GDC / YouTube)
"In this 2015 GDC postmortem, Square Enix Montreal's Daniel Lutz delivers a design postmortem on the wildly unexpected game concept of Hitman GO, an award-winning, extremely minimalistic turn-based strategy game with beautifully rendered diorama-style set pieces."

Wolfenstein: The New Order Fights for the Past (Reid McCarter / Bullet Points Monthly)
"William “BJ” Blazkowicz’ most striking feature is a strong, square jaw. It’s a very American jaw, anchoring a face that can stand up to any of the punches the outside world can throw at it. His second most important feature is a pair of sad, watery blue eyes."

Why people are still making NES games (Austin Wood / Eurogamer)
"Officially, the NES died in 1995, some nine years after its launch. Unofficially, though, dedicated fans are keeping Nintendo's retro console very much alive. Today, the most prolific and respected NES developers are people such as Kevin Hanley, from Crestview, Florida. Since 2009, Hanley has made nine "homebrew" NES games, cartridges and all."

Marc ten Bosch created an extradimensional game engine for 4D Toys (Chris Priestman / Gamasutra)
"Marc ten Bosch has been working on 4D puzzle-platformer Miegakure (Hide and Reveal) for eight years now. Over that time, many have dared to describe how the game works after playing around with early builds, but it’s tricky to do well without an accompanying visual demonstration."

China Cracks Down On Video Games (Adam Minter / Bloomberg)
"Shareholders of Tencent Holdings Ltd., the world's biggest video game company, panicked last week. People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, singled out "Honour of Kings," Tencent's biggest game, for an unusually high-profile criticism."

Wolfenstein: The New Order Is About More Than Defeating the Nazis (Writing On Games / YouTube)
"With the impressive reveal of Wolfenstein: The New Colossus back at E3 2017 I, like almost everyone else, finally decided to give its predecessor (The New Order) a chance. I was expecting something of a tired commentary on how games handle war; instead I got a deeply personal and surprisingly affecting character study."

Creating the 30 different control schemes of Edith Finch (Alex Wiltshire / Gamasutra)
"In the beguiling indie game What Remains of Edith Finch, released earlier this year, you can swing on a swing, fly a kite, conduct a frog, swim as a shark, fly as an owl, reach with a tentacle."

Breath of the Wild: The Best Game Ever (Cool Ghosts / YouTube)
"Matt Lees discusses the latest Zelda game. [SIMON'S NOTE: almost the definition of a considered non-'hot take', this is more sublime stuff from Cool Ghosts! The name is a joke, don't forget - every game they analyze has that 'best game ever' moniker..]"

Making Cyberpunk: when Mike Pondsmith met CD Projekt Red (Robert Purchese / Eurogamer)
""We had Communism and we had Cyberpunk." Mike Pondsmith would hear those words 25 years after he'd joked about how few people would play a Polish translation of his American paper role-playing game Cyberpunk in a country behind the Iron Curtain. They would be the words spoken by a company offering him the deal of his life, and the words responsible for him signing it."

Who Else Makes Videogames? Considering Informal Development Practices(Brendan Keogh / BRKeogh)
"I want to start with an anecdote of a videogame made here in Melbourne. In 2013, four Melbourne friends with no formal videogame development experience decided they wanted to make a local multiplayer videogame together. Under the monicker ‘House House’, they began development in their spare time around existing study and jobs on what would come to be called Push Me Pull You."

What the death of the CRT display technology means for classic arcade machines(Jeff Grubb / Venturebeat)
"The arcade is dead. You already knew that, but that industry’s coffin is about to get another nail. The cathode-ray-tube technology that powered the monitors for nearly every classic arcade game in the twentieth century is defunct. Sony, Samsung, and others have left it behind for skinnier and more lucrative LCDs and plasmas, and the CRTs that are left are about to sell out."

Game Design Deep Dive: Creating a new language for Planet Coaster (James Stant / Gamasutra)
"All guests and staff members communicate with each other using Planco, a language that has been conceived and realized specifically for this game. Planco utilizes English grammar and alphabet characters and effectively adopts a word-for-word replacement system. New words are typically created using one of three approaches: word association, onomatopoeia or bearing a similarity to an existing language (or a combination of any of these)."

Trent Reznor’s cold call led to an awesome game-filled Nine Inch Nails video (Sam Machkovech / Ars Technica)
"The entire video for the song "LESS THAN" revolves around a woman playing a customized version of Polybius. No, it's not the urban-legend arcade game that stole souls in Oregon in the '80s; instead, it's the 2017 arcade-action game released by Jeff "Llamasoft" Minter (of Tempest 2000, TxK, and Space Giraffe fame)."

Solo Board Gamers: Who Are The 1%? (Nick Yee / Quantic Foundry)
"Given that most board games are primarily designed to be a social activity, solo board gamers at first glance seem like misplaced unicorns. On the other hand, BoardGameGeek has annual awards for solo games, its catalog takes care to tag the opportunity for solo play and solo variants, and many games do support solo gameplay. So there is clearly demand for solo gameplay."

Project Discovery: Lessons From Scientific Research in EVE Online (GDC / YouTube)
"In this GDC 2017 talk, MMOS' Attila Szantner and CCP's Bergur Finnbogason tell the story of how citizen science project Project Discovery and how EVE Online players generated over 20 million protein location classifications, and how your game can contribute to science and a better world."

The history and future of Fire Pro Wrestling, as told by Tomoyuki Matsumoto(Jeremy Parish / Retronauts)
"I don't personally follow wrestling or wrestling games, but even I know that Fire Pro Wrestling is legitimate. Created by Human Entertainment for PC Engine back in the early ’90s, Fire Pro built on the ideas designer Masato Masuda had established with games like Pro Wrestling for NES: Flamboyant original characters, deep yet accessible mechanics, and an emphasis on authentic grapples and holds rather than punches and kicks."


[REMINDER: you can sign up to receive this newsletter every weekend at tinyletter.com/vgdeepcuts - we crosspost to Gamasutra later on Sunday, 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, so you may sometimes see links from those entities in his picks. Or not!]

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Simon Carless


Simon Carless is the founder of the GameDiscoverCo agency and creator of the popular GameDiscoverCo game discoverability newsletter. He consults with a number of PC/console publishers and developers, and was previously most known for his role helping to shape the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Conference for many years.

He is also an investor and advisor to UK indie game publisher No More Robots (Descenders, Hypnospace Outlaw), a previous publisher and editor-in-chief at both Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine, and sits on the board of the Video Game History Foundation.

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