[My first Gamasutra thing, so please bear with me. I'm Sean B. and besides enjoying rambling about video games every now/then, I like to put words together to assist independent game developers with the mundane content writing, PR and communications type work.
I've been doing so for the past three years under the humble moniker of Higher Eclectic Ground and my LinkedIn should be able to provide you with more. I'm often tasked with creating dev-logs and similar marketing-oriented content for my clients; I don't know why it's only just dawned on me that Gamasutra would be a lovely avenue to share some of these.
To start with, here's an original article I created for Mega Cat Studios last month to help promote the release of Coffee Crisis. Apart from my own portfolio website, it has previously been featured on Retronator, Cliqist and Xbox Tavern.]
Coffee Crisis: Why This Pittsburgh Alien-Brew Wants a Shot of Xbox One.
When it really shouldn’t.
Mega Cat Studios has considered itself part of the ol’ Kickstarter Retro Renaissance after all, wherein anything past discrediting the cloud and evangelizing cassettes is probably heresy.
Retrospective box-sets were delivered to their equally retrospective Sega Genesis/Mega Drive owners and as of the 4th of this month, the game went live on Steam. The Xbox One launch meanwhile is due for July, to which you might enquire if either of ports are any different from their cartridge counterpart.
Quite a bit, actually.
Sure the Smurgliens are making a comeback for another serving of the original single player/local co-op plot penned by BFCH baristas/protagonists Nick Miller and Ashley Corts. They’ve tapped into the Earth’s Wi-Fi, the absurdity it calls music and are keen on invasion but then there’s –
Death Metal Mode
Months of research harvested off beta testers and 30-odd event appearances have given Mega Cat something called Random Modifiers.Yeah there’s no Retro Renaissance without rogue-lite and as if hurling combos, carafes and bags of coffee beans at the aliens gave no satisfaction, these Modifiers mean to keep things re-playable by either helping, hurting or distorting players.
Consider them variables that erratically spawn antagonistic surprises, throw disco/coffee/CRT-themed on-screen filters, deactivate cheat codes, grant buffs and mess with your FOV to keep each play-through of Coffee Crisis’ new Death Metal difficulty unique.
Anywhere from one to five Random Modifiers may come into play within a level’s Finish Them Zones – designated areas where the screen ‘locks’ and prevents onward progress until all the ugly-Smurglies have been eliminated.
Overcoming the Genesis/Mega Drive’s technical limitations are more on-screen enemies, move sets, increased obstacle awareness and amped stats, while you, beloved player, are offered a renewed roster of flings, breakables, power-ups, mini-games and attacks developed exclusively for the PC/Xbox One from the ground up.
Plus, mash those buttons long enough with a measure of dexterity and you just might earn yourself a discount on a Coffee Crisis cartridge.
Twitch/Mixer support lets players not just spectate their favorite streamers couch-brawl but cast votes upon the Modifiers that Coffee Crisis applies to their broadcasted Death Metal sessions.
‘We started testing with broadcasters early on and have continued testing as we make changes and adjust features,’ Zack Manko, Lead Cat, quips excitedly in noting how the new mode of difficulty is yet to be beaten.
‘Seeing viewers spawn more aliens to harass their favorite streamers (playfully) is always good for laughs, but more importantly it’s good for the streamers, their viewers, and for the gameplay experience.’
And to think much of it derives from Coffee Crisis’ new 10-track jam tuned especially for the PC and Xbox One.
With equal parts double-bass drums, breakdowns and melody that’s apparently meant to both crush and spill coffee beans, relates Mitch Foster, Nylon video game guitarist/composer/sound engineer who pairs with high school band mate AJ NOE.
But hey, that's not all.
A Skinny Chestknee (pictured above) cameo with reinvigorated sound effects, reworked animated sprites, dedicated support for the Razer Chroma keyboard, Level FX, dual controller compatibility with adequate rumble and an in-game backer-celebrating Hall of Fame are all extras.
Pause for a cuppa at the website for a complete breakdown.