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Dev Game Club

Join hosts and game industry veterans Brett Douville and Tim Longo as they explore older titles to talk about the influences those games had and what we can learn from them even today.
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Now displaying: July, 2019
Jul 31, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are continuing our Castlevania discussion with the beloved PlayStation classic. We talk about "finishing the game," various bosses, and how the whole game provides exploration in all its systems, among other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
To the castle inversion

Issues covered: finishing the game without finding all of it, feeling like you had gotten enough, Richter living more than 100 years, being told you are passing the point of no return, finding what you'll find and playing how you'll play, being locked in a boss battle, an anticlimax that makes you think there's more to a game, it's always Dracula, knowing that there's more to the game, Olrox the reptiloid, level design flowing towards the boss rooms, fighting Scylla versions 1 and 2, elaborate boss designs, using buffs and potions in boss battles, reaching in desperation, lacking information about when you need to use a potion, the cumbersomeness of using a potion, familiars using your resources, familiars in other games, familiars finding stuff for you, having AIs that fail you, items that are only used by familiars, leveling familiars, the enormous play space of the game, combo vs sequences of keys, being able to replenish at the Librarian, the Librarian gaining more stuff, spells and rolling the buttons, the additional abilities to the forms, the game-changing nature of the bat, wolf underutilization, using the toggle for the familiar relics, nice custom moments and behaviors, where the Easter Eggs might be, reinforcing the sense of place, addressing feedback, thinking about games the other has worked on, the amount of effort that goes into the 'cast, lack of planning, discovering a game like the audience might have, the history of the singing review, overpowering the Elite Four, games that made good transitions from 2D to 3D, having max abilities and then losing them.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Steve Gaynor (obliquely), Tacoma, Metroid (series), Persona 3, Nintendo, Kingdom Hearts, Rise of the Kasai/Mark of Kri, PlayStation, PC-Engine/Turbo-Grafx 16, Alex Neuse, Netflix, Logisver├░, Pokemon, GameBoy, Ben Zaugg, Gothic Chocobo, Boris of Alzey, Star Wars: Starfighter, Indiana Jones, Chris Williams, Eric Koz, Nickname_Placeholder/Makendi, Stealer Wheels, Stuck in the Middle with You, Purple Rain, Reservoir Dogs, Tom Waits, Radiohead, Prince, Elvis, Jamie Zucek, Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon Go, Zelda, Mario, Super Mario Odyssey/Galaxy, Contra, Fallout (series), Chrono Trigger, Diablo (series).

Next time:
Finish the game...??

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Jul 24, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are continuing our Castlevania discussion with the beloved PlayStation classic. We talk about how the structure encourages a natural and player-led exploration as well as some deep diving into weapon mechanics, among other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to Olrox (in theory)

Issues covered: bosses that feel optional, getting health or heart-ups, the tightness of the Metroid structure vs the more explorative Castlevania, feeling like your order is the natural and correct one, picking your rabbit holes, looking at the map and combing over spaces you weren't able to get, being unable to figure out a room, warp points and mysteries of the game, fighting area fatigue by warping other places, avoiding wall levels/missions, hitting a rough area and returning to it, the shared lineage with the Dark Souls games, difficulty differences, the depth of gearing up your character, the depth of some weapons and surprises, analysis/paralysis, picking the obvious dumb thing, respec-ing, flexibility of approach, streamlining combat in Diablo vs this, getting so pulled in, seeing why the Metroidvania term exists, little enemy surprises, comparing play time and level, rock-paper-scissors combat in Metroid vs Castlevania, leveling/grinding for health and heart-ups, having specific constraints you know will be true of the player or not, comparing Metroid to a Rubik's Cube and Castlevania to a jigsaw puzzle, the Librarian and the training videos, grinding resources or not, not looking at the numbers, caring about your goals and not caring about XP, always hitting the candles, the inherent fun of the play, blowing your time constraints for this game, software emulation and memory mappers, cartridges and emulation, cut-away buildings, adding three-dimensional depth to a two-dimensional game, nuance in level design, an easier entry in the series due to character controllability, grounding a character's animation, reading the effing manual, callbacks in the TV show, Easter eggs, the confessional, the grave keeper, feeling a connection with a real place vs a fantasy place.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Metroid (series), Day of the Tentacle, Dark Souls (series), X-COM, Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Diablo III, PlayStation, Steam, Nintendo Switch, Rubik's Cube, The 2nd Quest, Pokemon, Castle (book by David Macaulay), Scott Schneider, Tomb Raider, Alex Neuse, Choice Provisions, Bit.Trip (series), Gaijin Games, Warren Ellis, Bloodstained, Dragon's Dogma.

Next time:
Up until the flip

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Jul 17, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we continue our Castlevania discussion with the game that renamed a genre. We talk about the year it came out, the structure of the game, and then delve into its many surprising RPG elements. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
A few hours in

Issues covered: games of 1997, the PlayStation cycle, where this game fits on the Castlevania history, sticking with 2D, pushing the transition to polygons, similarities with Super Metroid, the large number of relics, lacking map markers of any kind, needing to have made a map, spending a lot of time covering the map again, reasons why QoL doesn't get in, being primarily melee, adding action feel through melee, using the ranged subweapons, new subweapon mechanics for switching, changing into a wolf or bat (vespertilionize: a real word), being able to turn off relics, giving the player more options to customize the experience, offering too many options for player attention, the opening battle against Dracula, switching up characters, connecting the games, having slots for armor, leaning into the gothic with character design, being able to cast spells with combos, customization options that feel like classes, effects of leveling up, the history of adding RPG elements to games, RPG elements vs progression mechanics, making interesting choices about character, why the structure of Metroidvanias works for Tim, unification and motivation of mechanics and exploration, contrasting with open world games with lots of exploring, acquiring more verbs and designing to the addition of verbs, the resilience of the genre, mixing in these mechanics can work, the game you imagine vs the game you get, the reality of budgets, finding new features that weren't in the first game of a series, business forces, not living up to expectations, the expenses of development, wanting the developers to be excited about what they're doing, FPGAs vs software emulators and clone consoles, ultra-hobby options, having a wealth of options to play, preserving history, companies being poor at preservation.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Fallout, Goldeneye, Gran Turismo, Ultima Online, Jedi Knight, Mario Kart 64, Tekken 3, Harvest Moon, Myth: The Forgotten Lords, Final Fantasy VII, Riven: The Sequel to MYST, Dungeon Keeper, Final Fantasy Tactics, Curse of Monkey Island, Total Annihilation, Colony Wars, Age of Empires, Blade Runner, Westwood Studios, X-Wing vs TIE Fighter, PlayStation, Tomb Raider, Soul Reaver, PSP, SNES, TurboGrafx-16, Virtual Console, Wii, Koji Igarashi, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Super Metroid, Metroid Prime (series), The Return of Samus, Nintendo 3DS, Metal Gear Solid 2, Arkham Asylum (series), Assassin's Creed, Dead Cells, Guacamelee, Axiom Verge (obliquely), Darksiders, Gothic Chocobo, Yooka-Laylee, Banjo-Kazooie, Mighty Number 9, Mega Man, Pokemon, Game Freak, Capcom, Jeff Gerstmann, Giant Bomb, Pink Gorilla, Starfighter, Star Wars: Racer, Eric Johnston, Jedi Starfighter, Republic Commando, Steve Dykes, Game Makers Toolkit, Mark Brown.

Links:
Super Mario 3D World's 4 Step Level Design
Analysing Mario to Master Super Mario Maker
The World Design in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Next time:
Through Olrox

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Jul 10, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are in our second discussion of Super Castlevania IV. We discuss the ways the game mixes up its mechanics in the late game as well as its music and a few other topics before we turn to your feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished....? the game?

Issues covered: monsters and bosses, Universal monsters movies, the difficulty of these final levels, imagining someone playing at the time, linearity and difficulty spikes, arcade legacy, the modernization of playtesting, clunkiness of the platforming, level design in comparison with Nintendo, learning through failure, positive vs negative reinforcement in design, having fun even when it's hard, inconsistency of frame rate, emulation and slowdown, the hilarity of the enemy health bar, the terror of the bone bird, consistency of tone, the feeling of immersion in a location, reading the boss, the stages of Dracula, giving you help after you complete the challenge, do you need to complete the challenge, retracing your steps vs seeing everything "once," gaining capabilities over a game vs not, was the game made for fans of the series, mixing mode 7 throughout vs set pieces, bumping your head/feeling less heroic, Brett digresses into French history, having to practice, platforming on the stairs, jumping to blocks that would appear in time, learning what the design rules lead to, a screen scrolling down, the leading camera, interactions with the stair rules, questions of taste, steering the course of the industry, modifying rules when conflicts happen, iterating with the next game, shorter development times, Nintendo shipping its prototypes, investing so heavily in stairs, music in the names of the games, Gothic music, melodrama and space, SNES audio hardware, memorable and iconic music from the era, Tim can't find the melody, emulation and effects on play, display sizes, CRTs, controllers, some technical concerns in emulation, vinyl vs digital, emulating more modern series, remastering from film vs video.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Universal, Pokemon, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, Super Mario World, Maximo: Ghosts to Glory (obliquely), Nintendo, Metroid (series), Dungeons & Dragons, Legend of Zelda (series), GameBoy Advance, Konami (obligatory: FK), Contra (series), Dark Souls, Metal Gear (series), Charles I/VIII, Academie fran├žaise, SWAT IV, Guacamelee, LoZ: Link Between Worlds, Breath of the Wild, LoZ: Skyward Sword, Masanori Adachi, Taro Kudo, Star Wars, X-COM, Ha-Drew-ken!, DLC podcast, Ken Levine, Jeff Cannata, Christian Spicer, Drew from Scotland, Purple Rain, Prince, Logan Brown, Star Trek, Mario 64, Andrew Kirmse, Chris Kirmse, MAME, Batman '66, The Wire, Dragon's Dogma, MYST IV.

Next time:
Some of Castlevania: SotN

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Jul 3, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are in our second discussion of Super Castlevania IV. We talk about the difficulty of the game and "fairness," Mode 7 shenanigans, and how the game quickly teaches things and moves on. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
To/through Stage VIII

Issues covered: the Myst-like rabbit-hole, leaning into the affordances of the SNES Classic, difficulty of Stage IV, the question of fairness and difficulty, throwing a lot at you, ramping up difficulty quickly, not a lot of soft landings or player help, play style, how to double jump across two spinning platforms, hard failures vs safe failures, having to put a game in its time, hard games in their time, challenge as fun, having release valves for difficulty, lacking time to explore with a timer game, getting into the designer's head, the world disappearing when you can't see it, finding every bit of memory or performance, having the hardware for less time, boldly leaning into Mode 7, the swinging chandeliers, slowly moving the character while the level rotates, letting the player deal with small issues and compromises, the Golem boss and shrinking the character, a great moment with the enemy design, learning how much time various actions take, being punished for slow reactions, multiple enemy states, wanting more helpful pickups, secondary/sub-weapons, moving up in levels, the navigation challenge of the stairs, analog stick vs d-pad, sticky surfaces in cover games, ladders in late 90s/early 00s games, bad publishing deals, physical game production, walking backwards up stairs, being able to think about the game when you're not playing it, genre death and rebirth, tension and boss placement.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Myst III: Exile, Obduction, Riven: The Sequel to Myst, The Book of Atrus, Warcraft, SNES Classic, Braid, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Mortal Kombat II, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Dark Souls, The Six Million Dollar Man, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Legend of Zelda, Nintendo Switch, Kingdom Hearts, Nicholas McCormick, Robyn Miller, Cyan Worlds, David Brevik, Diablo, Blizzard, LucasArts, Daron Stinnett, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sega, Zimmy Finger, Mike Vogt, Radiohead, Bohemian Rhapsody, Return of the Obra Dinn, Lucas Pope, Papers Please, Unreal Engine, Presto Studios, The Journeyman Project, Disney's Haunted Mansion, Ready Player One, The Shining.

Next time:
Finish the game!

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

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