In case you are still on the fence about going to PAX East, we will have a booth there showing off Retro/Grade. We try to provide cool swag, so here’s a preview of some cool stickers we got. These kiss cut stickers were printed courtesy of Sticker Mule.
We printed up a bunch of shirts for PAX, and I wanted to share the cool design with you. We use ooShirts for our t-shirt printing! so you can use this to print your own, or wait a bit when we have another give away.
The fine folks at Fire Hose Games were kind enough to give me a preview build of their super cool new game, Slam Bolt Scappers, and I figured I’d just let you know how awesome it is! If you haven’t heard of it, it’s like Tetris combined with Super Smash Bros. Sounds fun? It is! Slam Bolt Scrappers’ fast paced and exciting gameplay makes it great for parties, but I’m really enjoying the single player campaign as well. When it comes out on March 15th, definitely check it out!
I’d like to thank everyone at IndieCade for putting on an amazing event! There were fantastic talks, great games playable for free, and an exciting awards show. It was a massive undertaking, but a very small team of dedicated individuals organized an amazing festival. In particular, I’d like to thank Stephanie Barish, Celia Pearce, Sam Roberts, and Ivona Edry, but every person involved did a terrific job making IndieCade such an informative and fun event.
It was an amazing honor to be a finalist alongside so many amazing games. We are thrilled that Retro/Grade won the Audience Award this year. On top of being an extremely prestigious accolade, the trophies are the best I’ve ever seen! All of the trophies were completely unique robots created out of found objects. Here is a picture of ours!
Anyway, I’d like to thank everyone who came out to IndieCade’s Game Walk and played Retro/Grade. Hopefully you enjoyed the game, but as the designer, it is extremely helpful to watch people play. I figured out ways to improve the game based on seeing what people had trouble with while playing.
In summary, thank you to everyone who was involved with IndieCade as well as who came to IndieCade. I can’t wait until next year!
Have you ever wondered what Matt and other respected indie developers would chat about around a virtual water cooler? Now you can find out here!
We will be showing Retro/Grade off at PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) in 2 weeks! If you are going, make sure you schedule some time to stop by booth 3008! You will get a chance to play Retro/Grade with both the gamepad and guitar. As well, we are going to have contests and giveaways. What will we be giving away you ask? Retrograde posters, info cards, and Custom T-Shirts. Stop by! It’ll be a good time. More information will follow. Hope to see you there!
When purchasing a DVD, do you choose one based on length? How about books? If length is a factor in choosing DVDs or books, you probably choose the shorter. I’ve never heard of anyone decide against seeing a movie or reading a book because it’s too short, but plenty of people pass on movies and books because they are too long.
However, it seems like the opposite holds true in games. A lot of reviewers mention that a game is “short” in their reviews as a negative thing. I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all. Similar to movies and books, long games often have a lot of “filler” content that isn’t as good as the rest of the game, and they are unable to keep the excitement throughout.
Here’s an example. Lost Odyssey was the last long game I played. It took me over 40 hours, which is about standard for a JRPG. There are some amazing things about Lost Odyssey. Lost Odyssey is the most emotionally engaging game I’ve ever played. The story took a common video game contrivance – the player never dies, and transformed it into a touching story about the fragility of human life and the pain of loss. The plot was a bit slow to pick up, but about 10 hours in, I was completely hooked.
So it sounds like Lost Odyssey was great, right? Well, not exactly… Towards the end, game ended up dragging on and on and on. Nothing in that last 3/4ths of the game came close to being as compelling as the beginning. It seemed like they said all they had to say storywise well before the end, and the end was filled with grinding against the same enemies, which wasn’t much fun. Although I was super enthusiastic about Lost Odyssey at the beginning, it transformed into something I just wanted to get over with.
Lost Odyssey would have been one of my favorite games had they trimmed it down and kept the good stuff and removed a lot of a filler. One might argue that JRPGs are supposed to be long, but my favorite JRPG (and favorite game ever actually) Panzer Dragoon Saga. You can beat the game in a bit more than 10 hours and do all the sidequests in more like 15 or 20 hours. Every second of that game is totally awesome though, so I’d rather play through it 2 or 3 times than a 40 hour RPG with a lot of filler.
Similar to a good book or movie, games can be replayed. Every time you watch a movie, it’s the same. With a games, you can take a different path or try something new like a higher difficulty. You can do speed runs, compete for a high score, or collect all the achievements. If a game is great, you’ll want to play again. If it’s too long, then you will really only want the experience of playing through it once.
The one negative thing people have to say about the recently released Limbo is that it’s too short. The developers admitted they threw away about 70% of what they created because it didn’t fit in with their vision. Would Limbo have been a better game if it were over 3 times as long? I say no. Limbo as a game has a very strong artistic vision, and to add content that isn’t as good as the rest of the game just to pad the game length would be doing the game a disservice.
It is the job of the editor in both literature and film to chop out the dull stuff to ensure tension is maintained throughout. Why don’t we trust game developers with the same responsibility?
PS. Many other game developers feel this way, and we decided to all blog on the subject at the same time. If you are interested in reading how more developers feel about this, check out all the links:
- Jonathan Blow of Number None
- Ron Carmel of 2DBoy
- Chris DeLeon
- Dave Gilbert of Wadjet Eye Games
- Eitan Glinert of Fire Hose Games
- Cliff Harris of Positech Games
- Chris Hecker of Spy Party
- Scott Macmillan of Macguffin Games
- Noel Llopis
- Peter Jones of Retro Affect
- Lau Korsgaard (Not safe for work! You have been warned!)
- Martin Pichlmair of Broken Rules
- Greg Wohlwend of Intution Games
- Jeffrey Rosen of Wolfire
- Michael Todd
- Alex Amsel of Tuna
- Steve Swink from Enemy Airship
An interview with yours truly (Matt) has been posted here: http://www.psnstores.com/2010/07/developer-interview-retrograde/
The highlights are some new screenshots we haven’t posted on our Retro/Grade website (which is due for an overhaul) and that we will be releasing Retro/Grade in 2011 instead of 2010. I’m sorry to keep you all waiting, but I think you will appreciate the extra time in the game development oven when you play the finished project.
Also, we will have a booth at PAX West 2010, so you can play Retro/Grade until your heart is content there.
We have been really busy working on Retro/Grade, so I haven’t had much time to update the blog or the Retro/Grade website. We’ve redone pretty much every asset since our last batch of screenshots and videos, so the game is looking really sharp. We are working on putting together cool new stuff for our websites, so stay tuned.
Additionally, in our ongoing effort to be “hip” and “with it” we have created a company twitter: http://twitter.com/24CaretGames
I will try really hard to update it more frequently than I do the blog.