Week 704

What’s this? I’m blogging about my work on a weekly basis – a simple way to track and archive whatever it is I spend my time on.

Last week was relatively quiet.

On Monday I had another meeting for the tablet magazine I’m dreaming up. Work on Bashers.nl continued behind the scenes. Among other things, we’re setting up an article pipeline at the moment.

I prepared for a big piece on Minecraft that I’ll do for the next issue of Bright. Minecraft has really hit the big time now, so I want to document what’s happening and analyze what it all means.

I chatted with Kars Alfrink of Hubbub about various things, including Raleigh screw threads with a pitch of 24 threads per inch. We also ate soup and drank coffee.

On Wednesday I checked in with Remembering, the audio art game that’s being made by SonicPicnic and Monobanda.

I finished Spec Ops: The Line, and played more Spelunky, which I’ve been playing for a while but so far didn’t mention in these weeknotes. While The Line is interesting because it finally brings a mature take on war to the shooter genre, I’m absolutely in love with Spelunky.

I adore the gentle balance it strikes between a swift and supple platforming game and an unforgiving permadeath type dungeoncrawler, also known as a ‘roguelike’. I also adore how it hands over the tools to blast and climb through its levels freely, like John McClane in Die Hard, then restrains your bomb and rope inventory so much that you think twice about using them.

These are two examples of a recurring motif: Spelunky is a fast-paced, reflex-based arcade game on the one hand, while on the other hand it’s a proper thinking man’s game, in which you have to plan ahead or else. Two sides in a ongoing battle with one another, constantly luring the player to lean over too much. When playing with others, this friction is magnified, and I’ve found it’s at least as much fun to curse others for their careless behaviour as it is to curse yourself.

I wrote short reviews of both The Line and Spelunky, which appeared on Friday on the weekly Tech spread in nrc.next, along with the DragonBox review I did earlier, and a column about the Creative Game Challenge, the high school game creation contest I judged a while ago. I just published this on Bashers.nl, for your enjoyment.

On Friday I also met up with Stijn Bronzwaer, one of my Tech editors at the paper. We discussed some article ideas, as well as the general direction of the spread.

On Sunday, I finished my interview with Q-Games and sent it off to the Dutch Official PlayStation Magazine.

Finally, I worked on my upcoming novel.