Eric Barone’s Baa-rilliant Stardew Valley

Eric Barone is the Cinderella of indie game developers. He started out working in a basement with a cardboard box for a desk to selling 10 million copies of his game, Stardew Valley, worldwide. Oh, and he did it by himself. 10 million in sales is a number usually achieved by AAA studios with hundreds … Continue reading Eric Barone’s Baa-rilliant Stardew Valley

Toby Fox’s Undertale: The Birth of a Sensation

The featured image above is a screenshot from fan animation project Glitchtale: Season 1 Episode 1, animated by jakei and superyoumna and uploaded by Camila Cuevas. All artwork will be credited with links in the Further Reading / Sources section. Undertale is one of the most popular indie game of the 2010s -- after Minecraft, … Continue reading Toby Fox’s Undertale: The Birth of a Sensation

Keita Takahashi: The Goofy and Loveable Black Sheep of Game Designers

In 2004, years before the birth of the indie game scene, years before people began debating whether video games counted as art, Keita Takahashi gave the world Katamari Damacy. The video game industry hasn't been the same since. Keita Takahashi at PAX West in 2018 showing a demo of Wattam, his most recent game If … Continue reading Keita Takahashi: The Goofy and Loveable Black Sheep of Game Designers

Gone Home: A Featureless Game, or an Avant-Garde Story?

In 2012, three AAA video game developers left their jobs and started an indie studio in Portland, Oregon. They called themselves Fullbright. Their goal was to create a new way to experience video game stories. Their games Gone Home and Tacoma would help lay the ground work for a new controversial genre, the bane of … Continue reading Gone Home: A Featureless Game, or an Avant-Garde Story?

What Remains of Edith Finch – A House Haunted by Reality

Part of what makes Literature (the kind you read in English class) so enduring is how two readers can view a story from completely different perspectives, and the text could provide evidence to support both conclusions. For example, when Hamlet encounters his father's ghost demanding revenge on his murder, you could argue that Hamlet literally … Continue reading What Remains of Edith Finch – A House Haunted by Reality

Zen and the Art of Thatgamecompany

Welcome to one of my new experiments for the year! I'm trying to cross-breed my one-off reviews and my developer case studies, the ones that span multiple posts. So with these, I will 1) share what I learned about the developers of iconic games, and 2) give my interpretations of their works. It'll be a … Continue reading Zen and the Art of Thatgamecompany

Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary, Part 2: Carrying the Torch

After the collect-a-thon craze died down from N64/PS1 era and open-world games took a left turn in the GameCube/PS2 era, Nintendo decided to leave Sandbox Mario alone for a bit. They narrowed down the scope of the worlds and focused on the Platforming aspect of a 3D Platformer. As much as I missed Sandbox Mario … Continue reading Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary, Part 2: Carrying the Torch

Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary, Part 1: Building a Sandbox

As I write the next few posts, I imagine I'm crafting a luxurious anniversary cake for Mario with my words. I'm taking on the role of Princess Peach in thanking Mario (and by extension, Nintendo) for giving me and many others so much joy through Mario's games. Thank you, Nintendo, and thank you, Mario! You … Continue reading Super Mario’s 35th Anniversary, Part 1: Building a Sandbox

Summer with Shigeru, Part 3: A New Kind of Storyteller

Welcome to our last analysis on Shigeru Miyamoto's work! For this last post, I wanted to talk about how Miyamoto pioneered a new way people could both tell and experience a story. He certainly wasn't the first one or the only one to do this, but his early work is certainly a strong contribution to … Continue reading Summer with Shigeru, Part 3: A New Kind of Storyteller

Summer with Shigeru, Part 2: The Inspired Mad Scientist

It's no secret that Miyamoto has a reputation for coming up with unique and unexpected ideas for a game. He's not just an inventor, he's a reinventor. In a way, you can still see Miyamoto's attitude from Nintendo's early arcade days showing through, for better or worse. Miyamoto was famously inspired from Popeye to make … Continue reading Summer with Shigeru, Part 2: The Inspired Mad Scientist