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Video Game Deep Cuts: Nailing Nostalgia & Duelyst Bards

The latest Video Game Deep Cuts compilation of intriguing video game longreads from around the web includes Lord British's in-game bards, nailing nostalgia, and going inside EVE: Online's propaganda machine.

[And we're back with our second newsletter - with double the subscribers of the first one, even! This newsletter is being jammed out fairly swiftly, since I'm out of town at the Game Developers Conference 2017 advisory board meeting - lots of talk grading, exotic Oreos, and impassioned arguments. But luckily, there's a lot of really good writing - and videos - about games out there right now.

- Simon Carless, curator.]


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Meet the bards whose dedication moved Lord British to tears (Steven Messner / PC Gamer)
"Unlike most bards, whose works are trapped and lost in the memories of those who hear them, the songs written by the Poets' Circle are woven into the fabric of New Britannia itself—no less tangible than the castles and sprawling meadows that stretch across its countryside. Holt Ironfell is just a fictional character in Richard Garriott's MMO, Shroud of the Avatar, but his real-life counterpart, James, doesn't just pretend to be a bard, he is one."

Shovel Knight & Nailing Nostalgia (Mark Brown/Game Maker's Toolkit/YouTube)
"
Some games are all about nostalgia - a reminder of how games used to be. No game nails this sensation quite like Shovel Knight, which expertly picks and chooses the right bits to emulate from old games. Here's how Yacht Club Games pulled it off."

Publishers for indies – are they useful anymore? (Brandon Sheffield/Gamasutra)
"The role of publishers in games has changed massively in the last four decades. They've gone from fledgling (80s), to absolute necessity (90s), to near-irrelevance (indie boom of mid-late 2000s), to the curious interstitial place they're in now. Five years ago, I'd have said the only point of a publisher was to give you money and get out of the way. Now, for indies, I think they are either not even good for that, or massively more important, depending on which type you're talking about."

Esports 2020 (Emma Witkowski/Medium)
"The Olympics as a mega-spectacle has among many other issues a viewership problem, in particular with the bracket known as the millennial market. In case you missed it, the millennial market loves to play and watch other people play videogames. As such, there’s no better time to talk about the interconnected and relational work being done between “Pro-Am” computer games practices, elite sports, and mega-events."

A Conversation with Mike Pondsmith, Creator of Cyberpunk 2020 (Isaac Wheeler/Neon Dystopia)
"
The legendary cyberpunk Michael Pondsmith, commonly known as Mike Pondsmith or Maximum Mike, is best known for creating roleplaying games like Cyberpunk 2020... currently, Pondsmith and R. Talsorian Games are working in conjunction with CD Projekt Red to create the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 video game."

Inside Eve: Online’s propaganda machine—from Photoshop to DDoS (Nick Cowen/Ars Technica)
"
Why are two of Eve's biggest factions not only at odds with each other in the game, but in total disagreement as to whether they're even fighting in the first place? The answer lies in Eve's grand narrative and the dogged determination of players to own it. In Eve, as in the real world, the winners write the history books. Or blog posts, as the case may be."

'Multibowl' Is the First Real Video Game Mixtape (Zack Kotzer / Motherboard)
"Multibowl
isn’t just Mario Kart. It isn’t just Bubble Bobble. It isn’t just Wild Guns. It isn’t just Frogs and Flies or NARC or Super Dodge Ball. Multibowl is all of these games. 230 to be exact, in a rapid succession. A video game avalanche, your arcade rivalry’s final level, Multibowl may finally determine who is the king of all video games."

[Analyzing] Duelyst - 'The Best Game Ever' (Quintin Smith/Cool Ghosts/YouTube)
"Going in-depth on why the competitive head-to-head turn-based battle game is 'the best game ever' (this week)."

So You Want to Be a Hero?  (Jimmy Maher/The Digital Antiquarian)
"
If forced to choose one adjective to describe Hero’s Quest and the series it spawned as a whole, I would have to go with “generous” — not, as the regular readers among you can doubtless attest, an adjective I commonly apply to Sierra games in general. Hero’s Quest‘s generosity extends far beyond its lack of the sudden deaths, incomprehensible puzzles, hidden dead ends, and generalized player abuse that were so typical of Sierra designs. "

What It’s Like to Work On a Video Game Flop (Luke Winkie/Vice)
"It's difficult to understand how people can stay passionate about game development. The job is impossible... Sure, there's a chance you work at Blizzard or Infinity Ward and are playing with house money, but this is still an industry that lays off twice as many people as the US national rate. If you make video games for a living, you are going to be disappointed again, and again, and again, and again."

Myst connection: The rise, fall and resurrection of Cyan (Jeffrey Matulef/Eurogamer)
"As the Obduction Kickstarter campaign was fond of reminding people, Cyan's CEO, co-founder and Myst co-director Rand Miller is still in charge. What a lot of people don't realise is that Miller never left. Neither did Cyan, for that matter, despite serious financial woes nearly killing the company off 11 years ago. So where was he? Where did the money go? How did the developer of one of history's most popular computer games fade into relative obscurity?"

Distilling A Franchise: The Lara Croft GO Postmortem (Antoine Routon/GDC/YouTube)
"This multidisciplinary GDC 2016 talk from Square Enix Montreal's Antoine Routon is a postmortem of Lara Croft GO, discussing how the developer bridged the gap between two very different franchises, distilled the action-packed adventures of Lara into a puzzle format, and all the lessons that were learned along the way."

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[REMINDER: you can sign up to receive this newsletter every Saturday at tinyletter.com/vgdeepcuts, and we have a Twitter account at twitter.com/vgdeepcuts that gradually posts all the picks from the 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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