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LONG BLOG

C-Blog of 01/28/13 + Wrenchisms

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It is almost irresistible to compare Samurai Gunn and Nidhogg. They are both (mostly) local multiplayer games (Nidhogg has a currently broken online mode and they both have lacklustre singleplayer options) focused on intense competition between living players. They both make use of a sparse control scheme and very simple set of rules to contain a deceptively deep fighting system. Instead of relying on complicated execution or memorization, both games boil combat down to a matter of strategy, mind games, and creativity. Both are rendered with stunning pixel art and presented with masterfully composed music.

This is something of a growing trend in recent indie titles. Divekick could be said to do much the same, boiling down the complicated fighting game genre to two simple button presses, dive and kick.



But it was loaded down in baggage. The longer Divekick spent in development, the more it seemed to stray away from it's originally streamlined design. Extra characters with highly specialized moves, super moves and meter building, stat changing gems and alternating stances. The sardonic criticism of modern fighting games, particularly Marvel vs Capcom and the first iteration of SSFIV's Arcade Edition, which saw both games dominated by a select few characters capable of landing the eponymous dive kick and going into a victory deciding combo, got lost. Instead of sticking to those fundamentals, the Divekick devs layered in more and more gags, an extensive collection of in-jokes and references to a genre and community a little too in love with itself.

The result was a confusing compromise a game designed to simplify the baffling fighting game genre ended up being just as weird and impenetrable to outsiders as any other title in the genre. Fighting game neophytes couldn't grok the Stream Monster's bizarre double jumping mechanic anymore than they could catch the reference to abysmal fans jeering at an online broadcast.



Nidhogg is pretty in love with itself too. This was a game that won the IGF awards, then spent two years quietly circulating trade shows, exposing a select group of individuals to it's peculiar style. The relatively few industry insiders and convention attendees who played it would go on to speak of it in hushed tones, like it was the VHS from The Ring. Before it was available to the public on Steam, it was hosted in a New York museum piece. Nidhogg is named after a Serpent-Dragon from Scandinavian myth. Victory in the game is rewarded by being devoured by said Serpent-Dragon to the uproarious applause of pixelated spectators.

Clearly, some art is going on here.

But none of that gets in the way of the game. There is something profound about the purity of play presented by the title. There is no fat to be found, just pure mechanics. Two buttons, four directional inputs, and a simple goal kill the other guy and run like hell to the endzone. With that simple pallet, and a few understated stage obstacles such as pits, doors, and tall dry grass, Nidhogg gracefully opens up a world of tactical choices and split-second decisions.

When you press start to begin a fight, Nidhogg just dumps the two combatants into the stage. It doesn't even bother with an extraneous "FIGHT!" declaration, or a three second countdown for players to find their feet. It drops two dudes onto the screen, swords in hand and ready to stab, almost nonchalantly, as if you say "figure it out for yourself".



Samurai Gunn cuts straight to the chase too, no baggage. The characters are all functionally identical, offering only an aesthetic preference (ninja, topknot dude, puppy Samurai). Everyone works with the same rules and mechanics. The stages play on Samurai movie and videogame cliches.

It's slick, it's well presented, but it's clean.

Do I think Divekick would have sold better without those extra characters and jokes? No. It is a fairly niche title to begin with and I doubt it would have performed better if they just stuck to Dive and Kick. Do I think it might have been a better game?

Maybe.

* - Corduroy Turtle's blogs always bring a smile to my face, but thanks to the inclusion of Krang, this one brought a smile to my heart.

* - An interesting blog about save scumming, perma-death, and the opinions in between.

* - Long John wants to see more long Johns. See what I did there?

* - You can't argue with the FACTS.

A - SpielerDad remembers when Bomberman with a multi-tap was a massive multiplayer experience.



T - Staying true to his "no new games" pledge, Better On Holliday scratches a few more names off the back log.

T - Yeesh, from what I understand, Tony Hawk was actually pretty salty that RIDE never took off. But with tales like this, what did he really expect?




Great blogs today!

-Wrenchfarm

FPotD
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About CblogRecapsone of us since 11:27 PM on 07.02.2008

About Cblog Recaps

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Current "Bloggers Wanted" assignment
Fake it until you make it

This month's bloggers wanted prompt is something we stole. You see, by stealing this idea, you have no idea how truly inept I actually am. By pretending to know what I'm doing, I have clearly used my ill-gotten status to meet such big-time celebrities as Darlington Woolie "Pie Stealer" Madden or Sara from [insert pixel indie game studio here].

This month's bloggers wanted was inspired by the internal enjoyment we had at reading TheBlondeBass' promoted blog on faking conversational anime knowledge. And now it seems as good a time as ever to pretend to know what's going on since the new Fate/Grand Order game launched and qtoid is talking about it. I am a big fan of the character design of Artoria in the blue dress, or Artoria in the suit, or Artoria in the red dress. But seriously, we enjoyed the format so much that we want to ask the community for their own ideas at faking it at all sorts of things.

But this prompt is not just for anime, of course. The video game industry is fractured with all sorts of niche interests that only an insane rich person with no job could realistically know everything about. This month's bloggers wanted is about taking a subject you want to offer advice on faking knowledge about in order to help the greater community, for better or for worse. If this doesn't sound serious, don't worry, you're not supposed to take it seriously. You don't have to be an expert in whatever you talk about any more than Bass is an expert in anime.

I seriously don't know if that was a compliment or an insult.

Offer advice on anything you can expand your mind on. Want to help people get into character action games? The more Ss you put into its grading system, the cooler it is! Want to convince people to get into the Neptunia series? Just say "Nep-Nep!" and you're all set to convince people of your technical knowledge! Can you get someone into RTS game by just talking about your APM? Someone's bound to believe some random technical jargon you made up!

To get started, start a blog and title it "Faking it: [your blog title here]." Then you can be as serious or facetious as you want as you provide advice on any number of things: learning how to play fighting games, trying a long-running franchise you've probably neglected, or even explaining a game's timeline. Heck, you can probably seriously try on that last one and we still wouldn't believe you.

Good luck this month. Only true cowards rely on facts. Real heroes pretend to know what they're doing!



Current Community Contests
PREPARE TO CONTEST - The Master Gaming List Birthday Giveaway!

Good Morning/Evening/Yesterday, my Friends/Robots/INSERT WAIFU HERE,

More or less a week ago, the Master Gaming List turned one year old. I had a speech prepared, but the blog editor ate it four or five times over the last few days, so I'm kind of winging it now.

Despite all of the threatening and cajoling I initially made to get you all on the list, I never imagined I'd still be adding names a year later (and by "you all", I mostly mean GajKnight). It was kind of a ridiculous undertaking at first, trying to make a semi-permanent, easily-updatable list of everyone's contact info. I'm not even sure what everyone was being hyped over last year that got me to do this.

That said, I'm glad it came together, and this list has lead to many other things for me on Destructoid; whether it was me becoming our laziest, cuddliest Community Manager, or our laziest, cuddliest Reviews-type-person, I have always enjoyed the full love and support of this community.

In thanks, and with the assistance of quite a few others, I've gathered up a number of game keys to give away to you all.

The Contest

I've never run a contest before, so let's keep things simple. Write me a haiku about your favorite game.

Rules

1. The haiku must not include the title of the game.

2. I will accept any other form of structured poetry if you are unable to haiku but can iambic pantameter (you monster).

3. Please state what key you are going for, and a backup if that one is taken (admittedly, it's quantity over variety here)

4. The tentative end date of the contest will be August 13th, and will be bumped at least once during that time.

Available Keys

-Stellaris
-Aporia: Beyond The Valley (Multiple Keys)
-The Witness
-Citadel: Forged With Fire (Multiple Keys)
-Armello
-Undertale
-ABZU

Thank you to all 282 of you who have made the Master List a successful project over the past year! I will continue updating it into the forseeable future.


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