Game Design

How do video games benefit society? - by Lottie Wilson

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 31 October 2017 - 7:11am
Video games have received more than their fair share of criticism for almost as long as they've been played by adolescents and adults alike
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Perfect Organism: The AI of Alien: Isolation - by Tommy Thompson

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 31 October 2017 - 7:06am
The xenomorph AI in Alien: Isolation set the benchmark for antagonists in horror games. I take a look at the AI techniques used and the design choices made to maintain the terror throughout the campaign experience.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

My first game release has been a financial failure but is becoming a huge personal success! - by Stavros Pilatis

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 31 October 2017 - 7:05am
I released my first game on Steam this week. It’s not a financial success at all but it’s turning out to be a huge personal success!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Gap between top-performing mobile games and the rest may have reached an all-time high, according to report by GameAnalytics - by Chay Hunter

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 31 October 2017 - 7:03am
Report by player analytics firm finds the top 16% of mobile games earning $50 per paying user, versus an industry average of $7. Data drawn from 2 billion players and 40,000 games, from January 2016 to September 2017.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Ethical Compromises of Paid Reviews - by Michael Heron

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 31 October 2017 - 7:02am
There is always a danger that a reviewer succumbs to a conflict of interest. Even in a hobbyist review press, ethical dangerous abound. This article discusses some compromises that come from accepting payment from publishers for reviews.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Games Posts New Legacy of Dragonholt Preview

Tabletop Gaming News - 31 October 2017 - 7:00am
While much of the adventures in Legacy of Dragonholt take place out in the wilderness of Terrinoth, there’s also plenty to do in the city, itself. Urban adventures will be just as important to the ever-evolving story in the game. I mean, you gotta get supplies and sell your loot, after all. In this preview, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How the ESRB is Promoting Children's Gambling - by Ramin Shokrizade

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 31 October 2017 - 6:49am
The ESRB recently declared that "elements of chance" in today's games are not gambling. No regulation is required and parents don't need to know about it. Here Ramin Shokrizade explains what an "element of chance" really means.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Z-Man Games Posts Through the Desert Rules

Tabletop Gaming News - 31 October 2017 - 6:00am
Z-Man Games is updating the classic Dr. Reneir Knizia game, Through the Desert. The game’s getting a bit of a facelift, but also a bit of a rules combing. So, many of you have played the older version, and I’m sure you’re wondering what’s changing. Z-Man is helping out with that, as they’ve posted up […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Now I See, Cold, It Was Them He Loved: Ten Candles And Winter Terror

Gnome Stew - 31 October 2017 - 3:56am

“Now I see, cold, it was them he loved.
Where is he now? Tonight my heart froze.”
-excerpt from “Crust on Fresh Snow” by Rolf Jacobsen

“Winter is coming”
-virtually every character in Game of Thrones

In the winter of 2015 I experienced two life-changing texts that sucked me into enjoying horror as a genre. The first was when I purchased my PlayStation 4 and got Until Dawn on sale with it. The second was when my friends and I saw Krampus in theaters. Until Dawn lured me in with steamy young melodrama and the tease of alpine horror. Krampus felt like a campy “are they serious?” popcorn flick. Over the course of both stories, I saw that easy fun twist and create anxiety that was thrilling to jump at. Both titles are now winter traditions, and I revel in playing & watching them multiple times a year, but never during spring or summer. In fact, it’s only during the colder months that I feel a pull towards horror at all. These things are true: the world is dark and we are alive. 

These things are true: the world is dark and we are alive. These words start off every scene in Stephen Dewey’s horror game, Ten Candles. For those unfamiliar, Ten Candles is a game of tragic horror, with every character finding their end in the final scene, exploring a darkened world with no sun or stars, and facing off against a nebulous Them who are always coming. You play in a completely darkened room lit only by ten candles which you progressively extinguish through play, and with each light gone, They get stronger. As you play, you also burn aspects of your character, yes literally burn them to ash, lit by candle flame, while you sit at the table. It’s bleak, terrifying, and one of my favorite games ever written.

I’ve played Ten Candles in the spring and summer: once in Chicago visiting friends while our host serenaded us with cosmic metal and made spicy sausage stew, and once on the balcony of a sketchy high rise hotel in St. Louis, MO as a thunderstorm raged and the St. Louis Arch rose above us like a portal to hell. Both games were fun and heavy, but they pale in comparison to playing Ten Candles in winter.

Preparing to play Ten Candles on a frozen winter night, complete with grisly props

Riverhouse Games is named after a real house on the bank of the Mississippi river just outside of Minneapolis, MN, where I would visit to spend time with close friends and run games. Minnesota winters can be harsh, with windchill hitting 40 degrees below zero and blizzards that take fleets of plows hours or, in some extreme cases, days to fully clear.

“These things are true: the world is dark, and we are alive.” I intoned last year, running Ten Candles for the first time as we sat inside a toasty room in the Riverhouse, with glass windows iced around the edges. The sun had gone down hours ago and the light of the full moon bounced off of the snow which blanketed everything in sight. More than eight inches had dropped over the evening and it was still coming down in muffling clumps. Other than the flow of the river outside, with the occasional creak as chunks of ice cracked into the stone banking, or off of each other, the world lay blanketed in a white silence. A friend’s family owns a small taxidermy business up north, so the room was adorned with odd skulls and bones, centered on a nexus where ten lit candles flickered in the stale warm air of the room. We made our own winter terror, surrounded by set decorations, and staged on the same snow in which our characters would soon die.

Boneshaker Books in Minneapolis, MN is a great (and appropriately spooky) place to run games

 

I don’t know what it is, but as soon as that first frost hits, I feel a need in my bones to run Ten Candles. Like all roleplaying games, it can have silly moments, the best horror always has a joke here or there to cut the anxiety like a knife and refresh the scene. And, like the other semi-silly titles I enjoy every year, it’s becoming another winter horror tradition and takes its place next to Until Dawn and Krampus. I’ve already played my first game of the season, a one-on-one game after hours at a volunteer bookstore, with the echoes of a reading room holding two people skittered over the flames as the chilled wind blew through the city around us and we made our winter terror tale. I can’t wait until the snow falls (which may be a while still as we hit an uncharacteristically balmy 75 degrees up here while I write this) and I can bust out my tea lights and cackle out “the world is dark, and we are alive.”

What do you think? I’m definitely interested in padding out my roster of frozen fear if you have further recommendations. Do you have any winter terror traditions?

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Hi, I'm your friendly North American Unreal Engine Evangelist! - by Christian Allen

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 31 October 2017 - 3:30am
Christian Allen joins Epic Games as the Unreal Engine Evangelist for North America.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Devs can now peruse the talks and data from Twitch's inaugural Dev Day

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 30 October 2017 - 3:58pm

This month Twitch took a swing at hosting a Developer Day ahead of its annual TwitchCon event, and now the fruits of that labor are available online for curious devs to peruse at their leisure. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Dog Might Games Announces Countdown: Action Edition

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 3:00pm
I love a good ’80s action flick. They’re just so over-the-top crazy, you simply have to smile, even if the plots are strange, the clothing odd, and the one-liners could often use some work. Countdown: Action Edition looks to bring everything you love about 80s action movies and put it on your tabletop. There’s a […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Museum Rush Board Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 2:00pm
I always get a rush when I got to a museum. I mean, there’s just so many cool things to see! Granted, some people want to see that stuff, but don’t want to go to the museum. So they decide to take it for themselves. Thankfully, security’s there to keep the priceless objects where they […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Wyrd Monday Preview

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 1:00pm
Mondays are generally considered pretty rough. You’re ripped from the weekend and tossed back into the work week as far from another weekend as possible. But Wyrd does their best to soften the blow with their regular previews. They’ve decided to give us another look at the upcoming Above the Law book. This time around, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Dead Sprint Zombie Board Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 12:00pm
While just about any time is a good time for zombies, this week is a particularly good one for them. Now, besides a bullet to the brain, the best way to get away from a zombie is to just run. Rule #1: cardio, and all that. Well, in Dead Sprint, you’re looking to get away […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Monday Terrain Corner

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 11:00am
It’s a frosty, frigid morning here in Atlanta. I know most Southerners think that anything below 60F is “freezing” but it literally was freezing this morning (as evidenced by having to scrape frost off my windshield before driving into the office). So while there might be frost on the pumpkins, it’s still Halloween Eve. And […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Steamforged Previews New Harry the Hat Minis For Guild Ball

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 10:00am
The Union in Chains event continues along. It sees the Union guild captured, tortured, interrogated, and then make a break for freedom. Who will make it out? Who will end up with other guilds? Well, we know some things if you’ve been reading along with the fluff and following the results (all my teams are […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Looney Labs Taking Pre-Orders for Zendo

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 9:00am
I love logic puzzles. You’re given an image or set of images and you have to figure out what’s alike between them or what rules were used in creating them. Doing just that is what you’ll do in Zendo. One player will create an arrangement of pieces, then the other players have to guess at […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Games Previews New Star Wars: Destiny Starters

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 8:00am
Well, you gotta start somewhere. Might as well start at the beginning. This is where we got the job, so this is the beginning. That job? Well, either bounty hunting or saving the galaxy from a tyrannical regime. Take your pick, depending on which of the new Star Wars: Destiny starter sets you want to […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Shadespire Releases Available To Order From Games Workshop

Tabletop Gaming News - 30 October 2017 - 7:00am
Games Workshop has started taking orders for a batch of new Shadespire releases. They include a pair of new warbands. Seeing as it’s Halloween, they’ve got an undead band. They’ve also got an Ork band, because it’s never a bad time for a WAAAGH!! There’s also dice. Because dice. You can never have too many […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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