When Derek Yu released Spelunky for free in 2008, his roguelike-inspired platformer took the indie game community by storm with its combination of classic platform mechanics, extreme difficulty, and random level generation. Four years later, Spelunky's HD remake went on to become PC Gamer's Game of the Year and earn perfect scores from Polygon and Eurogamer. But how is a "perfect" game made? S... read more
In 2014, Yacht Club Games released its very first game, Shovel Knight, a joyful 2D platformer that wears its NES influences on its sleeve. This unlikely pastiche of 8-bit inspirations manages to emulate the look, feel, and even the technical limitations of nostalgic titles like Mega Man, Zelda II, and Castlevania III-imbued with a contemporary sense of humor and self-awareness. But how is a fu... read more
Set an even longer time ago in a galaxy far, far away, BioWare's 2003 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic wowed players with its compelling characters, lightsaber customization, complex morality choices, and one of the greatest plot twists in both video game and Star Wars history. But even for veteran studios like LucasArts and BioWare, the responsibility of making both a great game and a l... read more
When NBA Jam dunked its way into arcades in 1993, players discovered just how fun basketball can be when freed from rules, refs, and gravity itself. But just a few years after the billion-dollar hit conquered the world, developer Midway, publisher Acclaim, and video arcades themselves fell off the map. How did a simple two-on-two basketball game become MVP of the arcade, and how did this champ... read more
Just as the video game console market was about to crash into the New Mexico desert in 1983, professor and sociologist David Sudnow was unearthing the secrets of “eye, mind, and the essence of video skill” through an exploration of Atari’s Breakout, one of the earliest hits of the arcade world.Originally released under the title Pilgrim in the Microworld, Sudnow’s groundbreaking longform criti... read more
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