Featured Blog

Video Game Deep Cuts: Secret Of Savage Donkey

The latest Video Game Deep Cuts, picking the smartest longform video game articles and videos of the week, looks at 'vanishing secrets' in games, Skyrim wrestling dragons & the making of Donkey Kong.

[Happy weekend! I'm fresh off attending/helping with two of my company's events in one week on different continents. Firstly, it was the Virtual Reality Developers Conference in San Francisco, about which you can read a bunch of write-ups on Gamasutra (talk videos coming soon, here's a mainstream news write-up & me talking about VR in a hopefully non-sensational manner.) And secondly, flew straight over to Black Hat Europe here in London.

Other subjects of video game-related interest this week NOT in the list o' links: happy to see 650 super-high quality entries for the IGF (the judges are already hard at work!), bummed to have missed Day Of The Devs in San Francisco (we'll have a GDC 2017 version of their showcase), thought it fascinating that Take-Two's financials show GTA Online making more money than last year (talk about a slow burner/game as a service), love this 35mm Parker Bros Atari commercial from 1982 (via Frank Cifaldi!), please buy this Strauss Zelnick hangout session for somebody I can't name, & Might & Delight's ambient pastoral animal jam Meadow looks lovely... 

Simon Carless, curator.]


The Story of Rocket League (Part 1) - How To Build a Rocket (Danny O'Dwyer / NoClip / YouTube)
"In part one of Noclip's look into the development of Rocket League, Danny learns how a mode in Unreal Tournament 2004 evolved into one of the most bizarre & compelling sports game of all time." (Also see: Part 2.)

Three Psychedelic Visions Of The Future Of VR Gaming (Simon Parkin / New Yorker)
"Thumper invites you, the player, to wear a mask of your own, in the form of the PlayStation VR headset, which also débuted earlier this month... Thumper is a kind of weaponized Guitar Hero, a game of musical Simon Says in which each level ends with a face-off against an alien boss, which must be defeated not with arms but with rhythm."

Want to see gaming’s past and future? Dive into the “educational” world of PLATO (Richard Moss / Ars Technica)
"In the days of mainframe computing, one system stood miles ahead of the rest. PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations) wasn't special for its power or speed or graphical prowess, though. It was remarkable for the ideas that drove its development and for the breadth of its impact—starting in the 1960s and accelerating through the '70s and '80s, PLATO terminals became omnipresent throughout schools, universities, and offices around the world."

The Armello Postmortem: A Journey of Spirit & Peril (Trent Kusters / GDC / YouTube)
"In this 2016 GDC session, League of Geeks cofounder Trent Kusters explores the development of the studio's debut game Armello, and explores how their alternative method for building a game company was necessary for the game's success."

The making of Fort Frolic, Bioshock's most twisted and memorable level (Andy Kelly / PC Gamer)
"Fort Frolic was built as a place for the residents of Rapture to relax, featuring cocktail bars, department stores, casinos, art galleries, strip clubs, and a theatre, the Fleet Hall. Cohen, Rapture’s most celebrated polymath, made it his home in the city, and as he slipped deeper into madness, the district became a sinister monument to his cruelty and egomania."

The Vanishing Secrets of Video Games (Laura Hudson / Campo Santo Quarterly Review)
"There was an almost cabalistic sense of mystery permeating games in the pre-internet era, when the closest thing you had to a walkthrough was a ragged issue of Nintendo Power and some apocryphal rumor about how to make the hero naked. “That’s one of the reasons that games were so resonant back in the ’80s and ‘90s,” game developer Jim Crawford tells me when I call him on Skype. “Every game was mysterious, even games you never played and just saw as a screenshot in a magazine. Especially those games.”"

The staggering successes and abysmal failures of VR's long, weird history (Brian Crecente / Polygon)
"Today, just about anyone can, as Timothy Leary once urged, "turn on, boot up, jack in." Virtual reality machines start at less than $100 and are powered by phones, computers and game consoles. But that wasn’t always the case."

Game Design Deep Dive: Bringing the FPS to VR in Space Pirate Trainer (Dirk Van Welden / Gamasutra)
"As we started to implement FPS mechanics into the VR environment, we came across unique issues that were not present in traditional FPS. Best practices and established mechanics were useless or sometimes actively misleading, so we had to search for an optimal way to transfer the FPS arcade experience into virtual reality."

‘Mafia III’ took a risk by choosing a black protagonist, and it has really paid off (Hayley Tsukayama / Washington Post)
"When the developers of the latest version of the “Mafia” franchise revealed their protagonist last summer, they surprised a lot of people with a very risky decision. Not only was Hangar 13, the new studio at mega-publisher 2K Games, going to change the franchise by making a “Mafia” game that was not centered around Italian Americans — it decided to make the game's protagonist a half-black man living in the American South in the 1960s."

The life and times of Skyrim's best dragon: Macho Man Randy Savage (Mat Paget / PC Gamer)
"I'm just about to place my head on the chopping block when, all of a sudden, I hear a noise. "You say you don't know where the Macho Man is coming from," it sounds like. My captors ignore it, ordering me to place myself mere inches from the severed heads of those who went before me. That's when I see it."

Why I Play (Keza MacDonald / Kotaku UK)
"In the first years of my career as a games writer, I got used to a certain reaction from my parents’ friends when they were told about what I was doing for a living. It was usually along the lines of “what a waste”. I imagined them shaking their heads as if they’d just been quietly informed that I was shooting heroin. I was a smart kid, gregarious, academically inclined. Why would I devote myself to these violent, mindless things?"

A Tale of Two Jousts: Multimedia, Game Feel, and Imagination (Doug Wilson / MediaXStanford / YouTube)
"From the Interactive Media & Games Seminar Series; Douglas Wilson is an Assistant Professor of Game Design at RMIT University and Co-Owner of Die Gute Fabrik. He argues that the term "game feel" is so useful precisely because it speaks to the messy amalgamation of computation, multimedia, and cultural context."

Games In Brazil (Sebastian Weber / Making Games)
"Talita Rhein and Philipp Keydel do know Brazil very well and provide a deep look into the country’s society and how it affects gamers and the ever growing games industry – creating both difficulties as well as a lot of opportunities at the same time."

Design In Detail: Controlling Land Sliders (Luke Muscat / GDC / YouTube)
"In this GDC 2016 talk, Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride creator Luke Muscat takes a deep, DEEP look at designing the controls of his latest game Land Sliders. Muscat examines the multitude of control schemes that were crafted over a 4 month period trying to make a control system that truly works for everyone."

And breathe: the computer games helping kids relax (Rachel Williams / The Guardian)
"Clipped to my earlobe is a tiny heart-rate monitor, linked to a Bluetooth device that is attached to my T-shirt. I’m here to try out what Fox and his colleagues have dubbed emotionally responsive gaming (ERG): computer games designed to increase players’ resilience to mental health problems by using biofeedback to monitor and reward their ability to remain calm under pressure."

DF Retro: Metroid Prime - First Person Action Redefined GC/Wii (DigitalFoundry / YouTube)
"On this episode of DF Retro, John revisits Retro Studios' classic installment in the Metroid series. Now in first person, Retro and Nintendo manage to perfectly translate the essence of the Super NES classic into full 3D. Metroid Prime delivers some of the richest visuals on the GameCube all at a rock solid 60 frames per second. We follow up with a quick look at the Wii version of the game and check out Metroid Prime running on the PC using Dolphin Ishiiruka."

Gaming’s rarest systems, carts, and collectibles can be found at this huge museum (Sam Machkovech / Ars Technica)
"The National Videogame Museum (yes, they spell it as one word) has been open since April of this year in the Dallas-area suburb of Frisco, and it houses an incredible collection of gaming memorabilia. The rarest cartridges, systems, and prototypes are all here, protected as if they were the Mona Lisa (and for some game collectors, they may as well be). [NOTE FROM SIMON: check out all the image galleries!]"

The Weird Things Sims Players Do To Get The Perfect Baby (Gita Jackson / Kotaku)
"In real life, if you crave sweets during pregnancy, you’re supposedly due for a girl, but if you crave savory things it’ll be a boy. Another belief: carrying high leads to a girl, while carrying low is a boy. Surprisingly, superstitions like these can be found within games like The Sims, too."

NES Classic Edition: Donkey Kong - Interview With Miyamoto (Akinori Sao / Nintendo)
"The head office back then was in Toba-kaido, and there was also a factory for making Japanese playing cards. You need a boiler to make playing cards, so we used water boiled there for the adjoining bath facility as well. The people who worked at the card factory would clean themselves up in the bath after work. No one was there at night, so I could use it at my leisure."

Finishing Final Fantasy (Simon Parkin / Eurogamer)
"Hajime Tabata was forced to own mistakes early into his career. A few weeks after the game designer joined Tecmo in the late 1980s, Yoshihito Kakihara, the company's eccentric founder, called his employees into his office. Kakihara was furious. The reviews of the studio's most recent Famicom game, Rygar, were in and they weren't good. The developers had neglected to include a save system, so reviewers had complained they'd had to leave their consoles on overnight in order to preserve their progress."


[REMINDER: you can sign up to receive this newsletter every Saturday at - 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!]

Latest Jobs

Sucker Punch Productions

Hybrid (Bellevue, WA, USA)
Senior Programmer

The Pyramid Watch

Game Designer (RTS/MOBA)

Sucker Punch Productions

Hybrid (Bellevue, WA, USA)
Senior Technical Combat Designer

Digital Extremes

Lead AI Programmer
More Jobs   


Explore the
Advertise with
Follow us

Game Developer Job Board

Game Developer


Explore the

Game Developer Job Board

Browse open positions across the game industry or recruit new talent for your studio

Advertise with

Game Developer

Engage game professionals and drive sales using an array of Game Developer media solutions to meet your objectives.

Learn More
Follow us


Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more