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Video Game Deep Cuts: Type Dreams, Death Punch Nightmares 2

This week's roundup includes a look at the Cart Life creator's Victorian typing follow-up, the primal rage of One Finger Death Punch 2, developer pets in video games, & lots more.

[Video Game Deep Cuts is a weekly newsletter from video game industry 'watcher' Simon Carless (GDC, Gamasutra co-runner), rounding up the best longread & standout articles & videos about games, every weekend.

This week's roundup includes a look at the Cart Life creator's Victorian typing follow-up, the primal rage of One Finger Death Punch 2, developer pets in video games, recreating God Of War's axe throw, Borderlands 3, pinball great Pat Lawlor, and a bunch of other goodness. Hope you enjoy the eclecticism!

Until next time...
Simon, curator.]


Forager has some of the best grinding in a video game, and that’s the point (Jeff Ramos / Polygon - ARTICLE)
"Games like Stardew Valley or Dark Souls both require a good bit of repetitive action, whether that’s gathering resources for my farm or slaughtering weaker ghouls to boost my stats. The tedium of the grind arguably makes the game’s bright moments all the brighter. But make no mistake, that tedium is tedious... Yet in Forager, grinding is almost all I have to do, and I can hardly pull myself away."

A Personal Exploration of Star Citizen (Writing On Games / YouTube - VIDEO)
"In which I attempt to put my scepticism to one side as I take the plunge into the increasingly enigmatic Star Citizen—judging the game as fairly as I can on its own terms. Come with me as I document my exploration of Star Citizen's universe—one of trains, glitches, Barthian literary theory and finding potential in the strangest of places. [SIMON'S NOTE: this is a wildly entertaining video.]"

Oculus Quest review: 2019’s best new gaming system is wireless, affordable VR (Sam Machkovech / Ars Technica - ARTICLE)
"This is not Jetsons-style hovercars or a cure for cancer, but the Oculus Quest version of the VR future is still pretty sweet to me. And the proposition here could be a milestone for this current generation of VR offerings: a cool, affordable, and low-friction step into legitimate VR experiences."

The pets immortalised in videogames by their developer owners (Lauren Morton / RockPaperShotgun - ARTICLE)
"Matthew Holland never planned to add his dogs to Divinity: Original Sin 2. It happened on a lark, but turned into a wholesome story about his two canine companions. Holland worked as a scripter at Larian, the studio behind the fantasy RPG. While they were designing Fort Joy, an introductory island prison, the team came up with a quest about two separated dogs who wanted to find one another."

The origin of the term "gamer" (Kate Willaert / A Critical Hit - ARTICLE & VIDEO)
"The term “gamer” predates video games by over six centuries. The first known record of the word was found in the English town of Walsall and dates back to approximately 1422. The town’s Code of Laws, written in Middle English, condemned “any dice-player, carder, tennis player, or other unlawful gamer.”

Mass Effect-inspired porn game is now one of the biggest gaming Kickstarters of all time (Wes Fenlon / PC Gamer - ARTICLE)
"Subverse, a videogame created by a developer you've probably never heard of, passed $1,900,000 raised on Kickstarter on Tuesday, with 24 hours left to go. Unlike the names behind some of Kickstarter's biggest gaming successes—Double Fine, Obsidian, Yu Suzuki—Subverse creator FOW Interactive is only famous in the circle of people who watch CG porn of game characters on Newgrounds. [SIMON'S NOTE: this is a weird/creepy but sometimes well-funded subculture - some of the top Patreons are also similarly themed.]

[Recreating] God of War's Axe Throw (Mix and Jam / YouTube - VIDEO)
"The new God of War is one of the best games on the PS4, and I couldn't help but try my best to recreate something of it! [SIMON'S NOTE: this whole channel - which I just found out about - is super fun, since it's a dev recreating effects from famous games from scratch. The latest video is for Overwatch's Dragonstrike effect - so much effort going into these weekly.]"

2019 World Video Game Hall of Fame Inductees Announced (Strong Museum Of Play - PRESS RELEASE)
"The games in the 2019 class of The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame traversed dark tunnels, played their cards right, fended off mighty foes, and sped across the finish line to win their esteemed places in the hall. Colossal Cave Adventure, Microsoft Windows Solitaire, Mortal Kombat, and Super Mario Kart have been inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame."

‘One Finger Death Punch 2’ Is a Two-Button Power Fantasy (Matthew Gault / Motherboard - ARTICLE)
"My favorite fighting games are simple affairs. Super Smash Bros. doesn’t require that I learn any complicated combos, and even though I love Mortal Kombat’s violence and goofy story, I’m not going to memorize Scorpion’s move set. One Finger Death Punch 2, a new brawler on the PC from developer Silver Dollar Games, only has two buttons. That’s the kind of simplicity I can get behind."

The Saga Of 'Star Citizen,' A Video Game That Raised $300 Million—But May Never Be Ready To Play (Matt Perez / Forbes - ARTICLE)
"An epic sci-fi fantasy, Star Citizen was supposed to be finished in 2014. But after seven years of work, no one—least of all Roberts—has a clue as to when it will be done. But despite the disappointments and delays, this crowd is cheering for Roberts. They roar as the 50-year-old Englishman jumps onto the stage and a big screen lights up with the latest test version of Star Citizen."

Pat Lawlor: Designing Modern Pinball (Straight Down The Middle / YouTube - VIDEO)
"Legendary pinball creator Pat Lawlor describes the process of designing modern pinball machines. [SIMON'S NOTE: Lawlor designed the Addams Family & Twillight Zone pins, which puts him at least in the top 3 pinball designers ever, IMHO, but you don't see many interviews with him. I tried to get him to speak at GDC this year but no dice. Still, here's a good snippet on how pinball design has changed over the ages.]"

Hypnospace Outlaw and the (inevitable?) death of online communities (Heidi Kemps / - ARTICLE)
"But one thing in particular about Hypnospace Outlaw really stirred a lot of emotions in me. I’ve been using various online services for a very long time, starting with the likes of Prodigy back in 1992 when I was but a preteen. I’ve seen many online communities spring up, thrive, and then fade away, a cycle that always seems eerily similar every time it happens."

How Slay the Spire’s Original Interface Almost Killed the Game (Ars Technica / YouTube - VIDEO)
"Mega Crit Games co-founders Casey Yano and Anthony Giovannetti set out to combine the roguelike and deck building genres into one game, but found themselves faced with an obstacle: how to reveal the enemies’ intent. With the help of an active playtesting base on Steam, they realized that to make the game succeed they would need to scrap the ‘next move’ system for something more Twitch Streaming friendly. And thus, the ‘intent’ system was born."

Type Dreams is a laudanum-fuelled Victorian typing game (Fraser Brown / PC Gamer - ARTICLE)
"A Victorian typing game was not what I would have predicted as the next game from Cart Life developer Richard Hofmeier. Cart Life, which Hofmeier removed from Steam and made open source, is a minimalist simulation that charts the bleak lives of three street vendors trapped in poverty... Type Dreams is very much not like this at all. [SIMON'S NOTE: this incredibly baroque typing game came out a few weeks ago, but I'm not seeing enough people pick up on it. Please check it out!]"

We showed Peter Molyneux every game he's ever made (People Make Games / YouTube - VIDEO)
"Peter Molyneux walks us through his entire career, from Populous, to Black & White, to Fable."

Why I love notebooks in video games (Paul Walker-Emig / The Guardian - ARTICLE)
"We use notebooks to give form to the intangible, jotting down half-formed ideas and strategies with the aim of corralling them into coherence. We record and reflect on events in our lives, a ritual that narrativises our experiences and makes them comprehensible... And all this makes them a fascinating motif in video games."

'Dreams' Is A Powerful Tool to Create Anything and Own Nothing (Cameron Kunzelman / Waypoint - ARTICLE)
"Dreams is wondrous. It’s a game and a tool that’s allowing its players to create great-looking broomstick riding demos and elaborate mockups of horror levels... But I also need to state something that is overwhelmingly apparent yet easy to forget: Everything you make in Dreams is inside of Dreams."

The streaming service that wants to save the retro gaming biz from piracy (Kyle Orland / Ars Technica - ARTICLE)
"Building a business around a collection of thousands of classic games is much more a legal problem than a technical problem these days. Cottam says it has taken three years of flying around the world to publishers in the UK, US, Japan, and Europe to gather the streaming rights for AntStream's library. "Sometimes we've identified rights companies had that they didn't even know they had," he said."

Creating Cuphead's Most Ambitious Boss Fight (GameSpot / YouTube - VIDEO)
"From "thicc Mugman" to Rampage Easter eggs, there's a lot more to All Bets Are Off! from Cuphead than you'd think. Jared Moldenhauer from Studio MDHR breaks down how it was designed."

Borderlands 3’: The Looter Shooter 2019 Needs (Sam White / Variety - ARTICLE)
"On its cel-shaded surface, you’d be forgiven for thinking that “Borderlands 3” may only be a half-step towards a fully fledged sequel. With unmistakable visual flair; an endless litany of procedurally generated weapons; loud, irreverent characters; and hectic four-player co-op centered around the compulsive collection of loot, this is a threequel that stays close to the core tenets of the series."

Can Grand Theft Auto V help your mental health? Yes, say role-players (Joe Donnelly / The Guardian - ARTICLE)
"Grand Theft Auto V launched on consoles in late 2013 and arrived on PC in April 2015. Role-play servers on the latter platform, where players act out characters of their own invention in-game, followed shortly after. Today, despite its age, the crime simulator’s role-play scene is thriving. My mountaintop encounter with Craig and his friends takes place in one of FiveM’s servers – a bustling 32-person open source modification that lets users work, live and socialise by virtue of jobs, amenities and voice chat."



[REMINDER: you can sign up to receive this newsletter every weekend 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 & an advisor to indie publisher No More Robots, so you may sometimes see links from those entities in his picks. Or not!]

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