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Escalator Pitch: Nina Freeman argues for perpetual Sailor Moon cosplay photo
Escalator Pitch: Nina Freeman argues for perpetual Sailor Moon cosplay
by Steven Hansen

Indie developers make some cool as heck games, but they're not always so great at selling them. We want to them work on their pitch game until they're at Bumgarner levels and we want to take advantage of the the horrible, horrible GDC elevators that get gummed up with folks who don't know you're supposed to walk on the left, stand on the right.

Welcome to another Escalator Pitch. We've gone from pitching classics to meta escalator pitches to John Romero pitching his son's game idea about being the last Mexican and saving the world.

Here we have how do you Do It? developer Nina Freeman making the case that everyone should be doing Sailor Moon cosplay at all time. It's an easy case to make. I call Sailor Mars.

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3:00 PM on 03.24.2015

Gorgeous 2.5D shoot-'em-up Pythetron now on Kickstarter

Talented game designer and artist TJ Townsend has taken his visually stunning 2.5D shoot-'em-up Pythetron to Kickstarter, looking to secure -- in today's crowdfunding terms -- a very reasonable $5,00...

Rob Morrow

11:20 AM on 03.24.2015

The Devolver Digital and Destructoid live-stream series starts today

Howdy, partners! In a special collaboration with the city slickers over at Devolver Digital, we're gunning for a five-day-long series of live game streams on our Destructoid Twitch account featuring some of the rootinest toot...

Rob Morrow

7:00 AM on 03.23.2015

Dave Oshry, one of gaming's biggest charmers, wants to be less like Saul Goodman

[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] Last  Sunday on Sup H...

Jonathan Holmes

2:45 PM on 03.22.2015

Sup Holmes explodes into Aether with Tyler Glaiel

[Update: Show's over folks! Thanks again to Tyler for hanging out with this. The rerun should be up this week. In the meantime, here is a cute Bombernauts trailer.] Today on Sup Holmes we welcome Tyler Glaiel to the program....

Jonathan Holmes

4:00 PM on 03.20.2015

Upsilon Circuit could redefine multiplayer in online gaming

Robot Loves Kitty's ambitious Upsilon Circuit is what I would consider the quintessential slow-burn, developing story in independent games today. In keeping with the premise of the TV game show-inspired title, the New England...

Rob Morrow

9:30 AM on 03.20.2015

Microsoft-canceled Xbox One Phantom Dust reboot leaked, looks alright

Microsoft announced a reboot of a 10-year-old Xbox cult-classic, Phantom Dust, at its E3 conference last year. This raised a lot of "huh?" and a lot of "uh, ok" (from me included) but people who played the original were excit...

Steven Hansen



John Romero's about to make you his pitch for Gunman Taco Truck  photo
John Romero's about to make you his pitch for Gunman Taco Truck
by Steven Hansen

Indie developers make some cool as heck games, but they're not always so great at selling them. We want to them work on their pitch game until they're at Bumgarner levels and we want to take advantage of the the horrible, horrible GDC elevators that get gummed up with folks who don't know you're supposed to walk on the left, stand on the right.

Welcome to another Escalator Pitch. We've gone from pitching classics to meta escalator pitches to, hey, an actual game in development. One from storied id co-founder John Romero (Doom, Quake, Daikatana), who is working on Gunman Taco Truck with Brenda Romero and their sons Michael Romero and Donovan Romero-Brathwaite. The latter thought up the idea.

Headline courtesy of Jonathan Holmes, that lovely man.

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Atari bullying indie developer behind Tempest 2000 photo
Atari bullying indie developer behind Tempest 2000
by Kyle MacGregor

Atari thought it was "absolutely rubbish," the Jaguar designer told developer Jeff Minter in 1993. The man felt compelled to pull Minter aside at the console's launch party and let him know how little Atari thought of Minter's latest creation, Tempest 2000, a remake of the 1981 arcade classic.

Minter still finished the game, which went on to enjoy a good bit of success, so much so that the developer has continued to tinker with the formula for over two decades. Just last year, Minter's studio Llamasoft released a spiritual successor called TxK on PlayStation Vita. It garnered a fair amount of critical acclaim, but sales were modest -- something Minter hoped to improve upon by casting a wider net on PlayStation 4, PC, Android, and various VR platforms.

It's unlikely to ever happen, though. Minter says the other versions of TxK will "never see the light of day," thanks to Atari (or at least the wolf in sheep's clothing now parading around as the once-beloved company). Threats of legal action have the multiplatform release dead in the water.

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Review: Frozen Cortex photo
Review: Frozen Cortex
by Patrick Hancock

Though it may be easy to see Frozen Cortex and immediately dismiss it because it seems to be rooted in American football (the best football), I want to make it clear that no American football or sportz knowledge is needed to enjoy Frozen Cortex.

Frozen Cortex is, first and foremost, a strategy game. It shares a lot with the developers' previous title, Frozen Synapse, but is different enough to feel like a completely new game.

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Beyond Eyes abstracts the world as perceived by a blind girl photo
Beyond Eyes abstracts the world as perceived by a blind girl
by Darren Nakamura

I have been following Beyond Eyes since I first heard about it a year and a half ago. Videogames can be powerful tools for relating experiences that may otherwise be difficult to comprehend. Blindness both fascinates and terrifies me; I know I would be utterly useless without my sense of sight, but others manage impressive feats despite the disability.

So when I heard that Team17 was bringing Beyond Eyes to PAX East, I had to go and check it out. Despite starring a blind girl, it makes excellent use of color in telling her story. Not only that, but it uses other visual tricks to represent her perception of the world through hearing, smell, and touch.

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Talk turns technical with Masquerada: Songs and Shadows' Ian Gregory  photo
Talk turns technical with Masquerada: Songs and Shadows' Ian Gregory
by Rob Morrow

While at PAX East, I was fortunate enough to schedule a chat with the co-founder and creative director of Singapore-based Witching Hour Studios, Ian Gregory, to talk about the studio's beautiful upcoming "pause-for-tactics" 2.5D isometric RPG Masquerada: Songs and Shadows, planned for release on PC, Mac, and consoles (TBD) sometime in early 2016.

The game takes place in a Venetian-inspired fantasy city called Ombre, and as it happens, is the only place in the game's world where magic exists. However, discovering and donning rare masks are the key to learning and harnessing that magical power. Gregory describes the mask's function in the game as that of "batteries," storing built-up magical energy to be released in the form of the different classes' skills and abilities.

Players follow the story of Inspettore Cicero Gavar as he returns from exile to solve a kidnapping that, as the game's description states, will  "shake up the foundations of the city." Cicero, your starting character in the game, is a Maestro, a hybrid class that draws from the skills of all three main character classes.

The three main classes available in the game are the Sicario, who fills the role of an assassin; the Pavisierre, the tank in the group; and lastly, the Dirge, a bard-like character who can cast both summons and buffs. Each class will have access to eight to ten different abilities, all of which possess their own skill trees.

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3:30 PM on 03.17.2015

Spacepunk dungeon crawler StarCrawlers enters Early Access

Just over one year ago today, Juggernaut Games took its promising cyberpunk-in-space, first-person dungeon crawler StarCrawler to Kickstarter. Easily surpassing the $65,000 minimum goal necessary to fund the game, it ev...

Rob Morrow



RIVE was my favorite twin-stick shooter at PAX East photo
RIVE was my favorite twin-stick shooter at PAX East
by Rob Morrow

When I learned that Netherlands-based Two Tribes Studios (Toki ToriToki Tori 2) was bringing its snazzy metal-wrecking, robot-hacking, twin-stick shooter RIVE to PAX East this year, I jumped at the chance to set up an appointment to see the current state of the game.

I finally caught up Two Tribes co-founder Collin van Ginkel at the RIVE booth where he sat me down for a little hands-on with the game. I'd had some time playing an earlier version that was released last fall before leaving for the show, but what was on display at PAX East this year had obviously seen some major improvements.

For starters, the demo on hand had my previously ground-based, spider-like vehicle transformed into a nimble spacecraft, dodging and blasting its way through an asteroid belt on route to the facility to where the rest of the demo takes place. The addition of side-scrolling flying sections was a pleasant surprise and I hope that in the final version, there's even more of them.

The touchy but precise movement controls while flying were a little tricky to get used to, but by the time I had passed (collided with) a few asteroids I had full control of my ship, chewing through all that was in my path and easily outmaneuvering the spinning, laser-firing turrets that appear towards the end of the section.

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2:00 PM on 03.17.2015

Happy St. Paddy's Day

Today is the only day of the year when everyone wants to be me. In honor of that honor (no please you're too kind but stop with the bad Irish accents), I thought it would be nice to show off some games created by Irish develo...

Claire Sharkey

6:00 AM on 03.17.2015

Five Nights at Freddy's fan charity stream receives huge donation from developer

Over this past weekend a Twitch streamer named Dawko, a huge fan of Five Nights at Freddy's, set up a twitch stream to raise money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. His lofty aim was to try and raise $15,000 in do...

Laura Kate Dale



It's easy to zone out in the open ocean of Windward photo
It's easy to zone out in the open ocean of Windward
by Darren Nakamura

The PAX East expo floor is one of the least peaceful places to play a game. There are sweaty crowds, children who haven't learned to use their inside voices, and booths blasting dance music and/or eSports commentary. And yet, at the back of the floor sat Tasharen Entertainment's booth, where I was able to don some headphones, relax, and lose myself in the high seas of Windward.

Before I knew it, half an hour had passed, a line was forming behind me, and I felt like I had hardly scratched the surface of the genre-blending ship game. I needed more time with it to get a really good feel for it. I started up the Early Access build the other day and the time melted away. I managed to get six hours of play in that same day.

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3:00 PM on 03.16.2015

Anti-dads, claymores, and hotdogs in Dad by the Sword

While at PAX East, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kepa just before the show floor closed on the first day. He and I were both frazzled, but that didn't stop him from smiling and refusing to take my bait to say that his g...

Jed Whitaker

2:00 PM on 03.16.2015

Wander by Wander lets you wander in Wander while wondering why you're a tree

At PAX East, I spent a majority of my time playing indie games but the one that really stood out is Wander, a non-combat exploration MMO about discovering the story of the world around you. The booth was an outlier...

Jed Whitaker

12:30 PM on 03.16.2015

Colonial shmup Jamestown+ launches on PS4 tomorrow

The definitive version of Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony, a bullet hell shooter set on 17th-century British colonial Mars, was planned to release last summer on the PS4. But as luck would have it, there were some delay...

Ben Davis

12:00 PM on 03.16.2015

Put your one true love back together in A.N.N.E

As someone who never got into non-linear Castlevania games and had never finished a Metroid, I've recently been really turned on by metroidvania games. Aroused, even. A.N.N.E takes the genre a step further and mixe...

Jed Whitaker





5:00 AM on 03.16.2015

LED dungeon crawler Line Wobbler sold me on 1D games

Of all the games I saw at this year's EGX Rezzed convention, Line Wobbler is the one I kept finding myself recommending that people go and check out. It wasn't the most in depth or complex, but a 1D dungeon crawler played wi...

Laura Kate Dale

10:00 PM on 03.15.2015

Isbarah is an unforgiving bullet hell platformer

I often browse the Steam store for new releases that could be interesting, and was excited when I read Isbarah's description as a bullet hell platformer. I love bullet hell games and have played basically everything that...

Jed Whitaker

1:00 PM on 03.15.2015

Did a clown who farts in a Porta Potty win PAX East?

Last week on Sup Holmes, I ranted to David Fox about how his game Zak McKracken is the greatest point and click adventure about subversion of corporate power structures, empathy,  and opening your eyes to the world...

Jonathan Holmes

10:00 AM on 03.15.2015

David Fox on forming LucasArts with George, writing with Douglas Adams and more

[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] Last Sunday's Sup Holmes i...

Jonathan Holmes



Just Shapes & Beats is bullet hell without the shooter photo
Just Shapes & Beats is bullet hell without the shooter
by Kyle MacGregor

"Congratulations, you just survived the tutorial," Just Shapes & Beats coder Mike Ducarme teased the small crowd clustered around Berzerk Studio's PAX East booth. A quartet of us had just run the gauntlet, bobbing and weaving our way through an imposing cannonade of pink missile fire.

We barely managed to scratch out a victory -- and that was only the tutorial? Glancing around the throng, there was a clear sense bewilderment and excitement among us. We wanted to see more.

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Magnetic: Cage Closed let me fling myself around with physics photo
Magnetic: Cage Closed let me fling myself around with physics
by Darren Nakamura

"It's not a gravity gun; it's a magnet." Guru Games, developer of Magnetic: Cage Closed, stressed this to me at PAX East. It works like a real magnet, with fields radiating out in all directions, rather than affecting only a forward-facing space.

In practice, it functions similarly in a lot of cases. Attract to pull objects closer, repel to push them further. It's a bit of an oversimplification, but the magnet gun is central to solving the puzzles found in Cage Closed. However, puzzles aren't all the title has going for it; Magnetic also features more action-oriented sections, branching pathways, and a focus on player choice.

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7:00 PM on 03.13.2015

Make eye contact with this super cute Octodad vinyl

To distract myself from the incessant sports talk happening in Destructoid chat this laid-back afternoon, I've been staring at the wonderful 7" Octodad: Dadliest Catch record. What a cutie. Nice to see Young Horses stick with...

Jordan Devore

4:30 PM on 03.13.2015

Escalator Pitch: Funktronic Labs sells me on some all-time classics

It may not be as enthralling (or wacky) as a cat cafe timeshare, but Funktronic Labs has something it wants to sell me.  You see, these two guys heard I was wandering around GDC last week with a satchel full of money, j...

Brett Makedonski



Dropsy challenges perceptions of beauty, proves that love really can conquer all photo
Dropsy challenges perceptions of beauty, proves that love really can conquer all
by Rob Morrow

One of the highlights of my time at PAX East was sitting down and chatting with Dropsy’s creator, Jay Tholen. Jay’s a quiet, thoughtful man with what seems to be unlimited creative energy at his disposal. His sometimes offbeat, but unquestionably engaging creative force shines through in his surreal point-and-click “hugventure” Dropsy. At first glance, the Devolver-published game may seem as though it could be reduced to a psychedelic walking simulator built to shock or surprise the player, offering no real substance beyond that.

For some players that will surely suffice, and they’ll be very happy playing that game. That’s part of the sly brilliance Tholen’s weaving into Dropsy, in that it can be enjoyed, or perhaps more accurately said, interpreted, on many different levels.

In some ways it functions like a mirror – the observer, or in this case, the player, unconsciously injects something of themselves into the experience, ultimately shaping their perception of what the game is really about. Which is quite refreshing in that the game doesn't lead you by the nose, telling you what to think; it offers plenty of room for your own interpretations.

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CrossCode is a beautiful 16-bit ball-filled adventure photo
CrossCode is a beautiful 16-bit ball-filled adventure
by Jed Whitaker

CrossCode is one of those games where I've heard mention of it by word of mouth, saw videos of it, but never though much of it. Then, I got bored and decided to try out the demo and boy, am I glad I did, because the game is wonderful.

The world of CrossCode reminds me of A Link to the Past in the sense that it has dungeons filled with puzzles, and an overworld replete with items waiting to be found which upgrade the protagonist's weapons and stats. The demo, which can be downloaded or played in-browser, is fairly lengthy for an early product that is looking to get crowdfunded. It includes a story mission, a dungeon and an overworld area to explore. Each portion feels really polished with gorgeous 16-bit graphics, a nostalgia-inspiring chiptune soundtrack, and an interesting story complemented by engaging gameplay. 

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5:30 PM on 03.12.2015

Terraria: Otherworld's GDC trailer drops more hints about its alternate universe

When Terraria: Otherworld was announced, it was difficult to tell from the trailer what makes it stand apart from its big brother Terraria or futuristic half-cousin Starbound. Developer Re-Logic's description gave some insig...

Darren Nakamura





5:00 PM on 03.12.2015

The Swindle perfectly balances roguelike mechanics with approachable gameplay

On my last day covering PAX East, I had the chance to sit down with the inimitable Dan Marshall from Size Five Games to have a look at his gorgeous, stealthy, steampunk-centric burglary simulator The Swindle. We’ve...

Rob Morrow



Ex-Nintendo exec tells Samus to 'consider going indie' photo
Ex-Nintendo exec tells Samus to 'consider going indie'
by Jonathan Holmes

Dan Adelman worked for Nintendo for many years, and was one of their unsung heroes for much of that time. While he has consistently voiced affection and respect for the company, he did end up resigning last year, in part because he felt like his role at Nintendo wasn't what it used to be. Now he's working on marketing and PR for a game called Axiom Verge, a game that Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime once said looked like Metroid

Samus Aran has worked for Nintendo for many years, and has been considered one of their most iconic characters for much of that time. While she has consistently garnered affection and respect from fans of the company, she hasn't had a game of her own since the year 2010. Many feel that her role at Nintendo isn't what it used to be. Now she's appearing in regular installments of the Smash Bros. series, but she'd much rather be in Axiom Verge, a game that Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime once said looked like Metroid.

If I didn't know better, I'd think that Dan Adelman was Samus Aran's secret identity. If putting on glasses and civilian clothes is all Superman needed to do to trick us into thinking he's Clark Kent, then why couldn't Samus do the same thing? If it weren't for this video, I may still believe that was the case. The similarities between these two "Nintendo characters" are hard to shake, though when it comes to the discussion of "going indie," their differences definitely start to show. 

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We Happy Few's bright exterior hides a dark secret photo
We Happy Few's bright exterior hides a dark secret
by Darren Nakamura

For a while, the general aesthetic in games was dark and grimy, with muted colors to convey dismal feelings. The more recent counterculture of color was welcomed, bringing happiness back to the medium. But a funny thing happens when colorful palettes are taken a step too far. Add too many big smiles, bright eyes, and soothing pastels, and the mood turns from joyful to creepy.

We Happy Few cashes in on this uncanny area past whimsy. Its world is so bright that it feels alien. Indeed, behind the vivid color of Compulsion's newest creation is a dark place. It may be pretty, but it is eerier than any run-down mansion on a stormy night.

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9:00 AM on 03.12.2015

Mega Man Unlimited gets super tough Omega bosses and more

Your eyes do not deceive! Tony Ponce is writing about Mega Man on the front page! I want to talk today about Mega Man Unlimited, the fan game I reviewed nearly two years ago that made me cry manly tears. You remember that tas...

Tony Ponce

11:00 PM on 03.11.2015

Did Social Justice Warriors Win PAX East?

Mere seconds ago, I discovered that I am on the original list that inspired the development of a game called Social Justice Warriors. There is even an attack in the game based on some of the specific wording found ...

Jonathan Holmes

7:30 PM on 03.11.2015

Adventure RPG Unraveled journeys through a child's imagination

Indie developer RosePortal Games has been working on an adorable adventure RPG called Unraveled, about a young girl with a wild imagination searching for her lost parents. The story is based on real events, inspired by a docu...

Ben Davis

6:00 PM on 03.11.2015

Dad by the Sword features limp, floppy swords

Dad by the Sword is iOS developer Rocketcat Games' first entry into the PC market and boy howdy, is it a doozy. Part sword-fighting simulator, part long-running dad joke, all demented loveliness. Rocketcat's design expe...

Rob Morrow

5:30 PM on 03.11.2015

Did you know the ESRB can reclassify games after they're released?

The rating that the ESRB gives a game prior to release isn't the one that it'll necessarily have forever. No Goblin found this out recently when Roundabout was reclassified from Teen to Mature. As No Goblin detailed on t...

Brett Makedonski