2012′s Dust: An Elysian Tail was a downloadable gem, and a labor of love for its creator, Dean Dodrill. We talked to him about his experiences making the game, thoughts on game design and what he’s working on now.
Snackbar Games: Everyone starts off somewhere. Which games influenced you the most when you first started playing? You have mentioned that Ys Book I & II for the TurboGrafx-CD in particular is your favorite game of all time. What drew you to it?
Dean Dodrill: I’ve been gaming for a long time, ever since we got our first standalone Pong machine. My earliest gaming experiences were on the TI-99 4a computer, but it wasn’t until the NES came along when a video game ignited my sense of wonder. I still remember watching a friend play Super Mario Bros. for the first time, and being blown away by the fact that you could climb into the clouds. READ MORE
When faced with following up Super Mario Galaxy as the flagship home 3D platformer, developer EAD Tokyo made a product out of cobbling together disparate smaller ideas. There’s the new (Cat Mario), the recent (local multiplayer), the classic (the overworld) and the callback (character abilities). This, meshed with the 3D Land aesthetic, sounds like it would be promising but uneven, a pile of good things that just can’t come together in a logical way.
But no, Super Mario 3D World is great both in parts and as a whole. READ MORE
Media Molecule, a developer known for putting its most creative tools into the hands of the players, is a factory of imaginative design. The LittleBigPlanet games have done well to demonstrate its talents, but are more a showcase for its fans and not of its own abilities as a studio. Tearaway is the first game from them that infuses their design philosophies and creative ambitions into a title that feels like a passion project. Most importantly of all, it’s probably the best demonstrations of the Vita as a system. READ MORE
Knack, from Sony’s Japan Studio, is the company’s attempt to bring a colorful, family-friendly action game to the PlayStation 4′s launch. Built around a character that can change size, its visual effects are made to show off the hardware’s ability to process lots of little parts at once. Whether it makes for a compelling game is, of course, another matter entirely. READ MORE
The next generation of video games is here! At least, that’s what I’ve been led to believe. Thanks to the increased relevance of PC gaming, we aren’t making a huge generational shift; this is more of a small leap with two more capable devices. With these new systems now out in the wild, I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect back on the past eight years of PS3 and Xbox 360, my experiences with some memorable titles and what I’ve learned most from the games that, in my mind, defined the generation.
A couple of years ago I discussed a pair of Discworld-themed games that attempted to adapt Terry Pratchett’s hilarious fantasy satire universe to cardboard and wood. Of the two, I definitely felt that Martin Wallace’s Ankh-Morpork was the superior design, so I was thrilled to learn that he would be designing more games using the characters and world that I love so dearly. The second such offering, The Witches, has finally arrived. How does it stand up to its predecessor? READ MORE
It’s been a hearty ten years since the original release of Soul Calibur II back on the PS2, Xbox and GameCube. Often regarded as one of the best entries in the series by the fans, it’s a welcome return to see this game get the HD makeover many games of its generation have been receiving. But how well does this game hold up against the test of time?
Local multiplayer games are inherently cooperative experiences. Even the competitive ones! I like saying that everything’s better with friends, but that just isn’t universally true. A lot of it depends on just who those friends are and how much they’re on board with having a good time over all else. I happen to have some particularly great ones, and I’m thankful. Now I’d like to tell you why.
Two new consoles are here. The crew talks about the hardware, UI, launch games and more. Also: Super Mario 3D World, Tearaway and Into the Nexus!
Check out the show here, check us out on iTunes or use the RSS feed in your favorite podcast aggregator. Let us know what you think! Email podcast[at]snackbar-games.com.
Hosts: Jeff deSolla, Andrew Passafiume, Graham Russell, Henry Skey.
Music: Podcast theme by Tom Casper.
Digital distribution has opened up a far wider spectrum of games to be commercially released. In generations past, we could only ever see big-budget retail releases and freeware PC games on the other end of the spectrum, with little to fill the gap (other than, arguably, portable games). Jett Rocket II is a game that simply would not survive in a modern market under the old business model. It is a game with a very specific set of goals, meant to appeal to its own niche and do so with a reasonable price tag. Was developer Shin’en able to create a quality budget platformer for the still-burgeoning eShop? READ MORE