[Greetings again, and welcome to a near-holiday version of Video Game Deep Cuts. Among other things, you'll see a bunch of 'end of 2016' charts from my colleagues at Gamasutra dotted in here - whom I think have some of the most considered thoughts about the game biz around this time of year.
There's more coming next week, but I didn't end up contributing a Top 5 Games for the site like I have in previous years - just ran out of time.
Still, since you asked - I think my top 5 games of 2016 would be, in no particular order, Thumper, Reigns, Job Simulator (Vive version), Assault Android Cactus PS4, & the non-platforming levels of Trials Of The Blood Dragon, hurray. Feel free to send me any top lists you think I've missed from THE INTERNET - I'll feature a bunch next week!
- Simon Carless, curator.]
The top 10 game developers of the year (Gamasutra staff / Gamasutra)
"This was a year that saw three eagerly anticipated games finally launch after a decade of development. We saw new talents emerging out of nowhere, established studios completely remaking themselves, and venerable veteran developers reminding us why they're still on top. "
Q&A: Shigeru Miyamoto on 'Mario', 'Minecraft' and Working With Apple (John Davison / Glixel)
"We caught up with Miyamoto at the end of his big publicity tour and spoke to him about his creative process, his feelings about getting older, whether he's thinking of retiring any time soon, and how he sees himself as a creator."
Skill Points Episode 2: Pacing & Spacing with Nels Anderson (Steve Swink / YouTube)
"Steve [current designer of Scale] talks with Nels Anderson, Lead Designer of Mark of the Ninja and Firewatch."
Indie Video Games Saved My 2016 (Kate Gray / The Guardian)
"Over the summer, I spent a month at Stugan, a Swedish “game development acceleration camp”. That may sound like a faintly sinister concept, but it was in fact stupidly idyllic."
5 Things I Learned Testing Video Games For A Living (Mark Hill / Cracked)
"The term "video game tester" brings one of two things to mind, either "My dream job!" or "The lazy bastards who somehow failed to notice the flying horses in Red Dead Redemption." The truth is somewhere in between. We talked to Alex, Corey, and Adrian, who have been testers for years and have pushed more than their share of broken games out the door. Why? Well ..."
The 11 Best Video Games Of 2016 (Staff / The Verge)
"We struggle to recall 12 months so crowded with great video games. Indie developers, blockbuster studios, virtual reality tinkerers, and creators who defy labels: all corners of the industry contributed to one of the strangest, most varied, and best years in the medium’s short history."
How We Design Games Now and Why (Katharine Neil / Medium)
"We no longer have wheelwrights and we are no longer making wheels in shapes we don’t understand. This is because design practice (the way designers design) in any discipline ... develops over time... Until around a decade ago videogame design looked as if it was about to begin the evolutionary shift that other design disciplines had made before it. But this did not happen."
Because Games Matter - Light in the Dark (Souls) (Daniel Starkey / Extra Credits / YouTube)
"Daniel Starkey had been through a difficult break-up that left him feeling alone in the world. He started playing Dark Souls, a difficult game that stranded him in another lonely world - but it helped him discover the patience and focus he needed to get himself back on track."
InterActivity: Inside Trilobyte (Dominic Milano / InterActivity Magazine / MarkTrade / Internet Archive)
"SIMON'S NOTE: this fascinating profile of The 7th Guest creator from 1996 - from a defunct sister 'multimedia'-centric magazine to Game Developer, which I used to publish, has been newly scanned by MarkTrade - support him on Patreon to get more! Here's the other InterActivity issues so far & all his often rare scans."
Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story (JDZappa / Gamers With Jobs)
"I honestly wasn’t expecting the Battlefield campaign to be so thought-provoking. After all, the new Call of Duty has abandoned any pretense of realism, setting its campaign in a dystopian far future. [SIMON'S NOTE: Battlefield One commentary from a military veteran.]"
Top Ten Games Of 2016 (Tom Chick / Quarter To Three)
"I can think of at least nine reasons this list might be lacking: Gears of War 4, Uncharted 4, Titanfall 2, Salt and Sanctuary, Kathy Rain, Virginia, Forza Down Under, Dead Rising 2, and The Last Guardian. All games I didn’t get to play this year. I’ll throw in Just Dance 2017 to make it an even ten. But from among the games I did play this year, let me tell you about my ten favorites."
Did crowdfunding survive 2016? (Thomas Bidaux / Gamesindustry.biz)
"A year has passed since the last time I did a review of crowdfunding and video games, and it is time another a look at this space. With data for most of the year (all the projects that got funded prior to the 1st of December are included) the picture that we can draw is pretty representative of the past year, with no real surprise expected before the change of the year as this is a traditionally slow period for crowdfunding."
Gamasutra's Best of 2016: Katherine Cross' top 10 games (Katherine Cross / Gamasutra)
"[SIMON'S NOTE: one of a number of varied individual Top 10s from the Gamasutra editors, with more to come, and Kris Graft's top list and Bryant Francis' top picks also posted so far.]
DOOM Resurrected [Part 2] - Designing a First Impression (Danny O'Dwyer / Noclip / YouTube)
"In part two of Noclip's look into the development of DOOM (2016) Danny analyzes the design of the game's opening level, and talks to Hugo Martin & Marty Stratton about the origin of the game's self-aware tone. [NOTE: all 3 parts of the excellent DOOM (2016) documentary were released this week.]"
7 Things We Learned About Primary Gaming Motivations From Over 250,000 Gamers (Nick Yee / Quantic Foundry)
"In the Gamer Motivation Profile, we measure 12 distinct motivations for each gamer. One way to get a concise picture of all the data we’ve collected is to focus on primary motivations—the motivation that each gamer scores highest on and is most important to them. In this post, we’ll step through what we learned when we compared the primary motivations of different demographic segments."
How Enter the Gungeon brought bullet hell to the dungeon-crawler (Alex Wiltshire / RockPaperShotgun)
"The inspiration came from a source the many shmup fans will bristle at: Ikaruga. Ikaruga isn’t a purebred bullet hell game, but lead developer Dave Crooks loved its core mechanic of switching colours, which gives your ship immunity to bullets of the same colour."
The Volatile History Of 'Star Wars' Games (Chris Baker / Glixel)
"As Disney's 'Rogue One' hits theatres, we look back at three decades of sometimes wonderful (and sometimes not) adventures in a galaxy far, far away."
Fumito Ueda: Colossus in the Shadow (Simon Parkin / Medium)
"When I spoke to Ueda a few weeks ago for a New Yorker story about his latest, extraordinary project, The Last Guardian, I was eager to find out more about his background and journey. The story, ‘Fumito Ueda’s Slow Route to Perfection’ was published on the site last week. As relatively little is known about the director, here is the full transcript of our conversation..."
How Crowdfunding Is Allowing More Developers to Make Erotic Games (Anthony McGlynn / Waypoint)
"As of this writing, six of the top 50 most funded accounts on crowdfunding subscription service Patreon are NSFW game and game porn creators. To put that in context, these developers and artists share that list with writer/musician Amanda Palmer and several well-known YouTubers such as CGPGrey and KindaFunnyGames."
The Best Box Art Of 2016 (Bryan Ochalla / The Gay Gamer)
"This past year was a great one for games. It also was great for game cover art--as the following examples hopefully prove."
The 5 trends that defined the game industry in 2016 (Kris Graft / Gamasutra)
"2016 was a year marked with fear, disappointment, uncertainty, and dreams of what survival might be like in a post-apocalyptic world…and that’s just talking about the video game industry. Here are the top 5 trends that defined the year."
The life and times of John Romero, gaming's original rockstar - part 1: "That's classified" (Jeremy Peel / PCGamesN)
"Editor’s note: this is part one of a three-part series [writing up a recent talk of his] documenting Romero’s career, spanning his early days as a teenage coder for the RAF, through the id era and up to present day."
5 Game Design Innovations from 2016 (Mark Brown / Game Maker's Toolkit / YouTube)
"In order to recognise the most creative games of 2016, this video highlights five innovative ideas - from full game concepts to clever features that other developers will be pinching in a few years time. "
[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!]