The Next Level

I have been quite busy this last year continuing to improve and expand my crafts. I have continued to write about video game mechanics and narrative analysis. I expanded this with more news-y types of articles while I wrote for Cliqist. I learned a lot there but I quickly found that editorial content wasn’t my calling. Feature pieces have always been, and probably always will be, where I am the most comfortable. So I decided to focus entirely on that. I tried the freelance thing for a while but rarely even had a reply email, much less did any of my stuff get picked up. That’s when it hit me! None of my favorite critics write for publications, they are all do video content. “I have none of the skills for video editing,” I thought to myself though. But I didn’t really have any background in any of the skills that I had acquired in the last two years. I mean, I learned how to make a video game, sound effects, and proper-ish music production within the span of 3 months when I released Tiny Knight. Then I went on to make Space Rage which was leaps and bounds better than Tiny Knight — I even had cutscenes and dialogue. If I could learn this then I could learn video editing. Somewhere in that time frame I also acquired a Steam Controller and realized there was a dreadful lack of information regarding it’s complex configurator. So I set out to combine all of my skills: music, essay writing, and my newly found ability to create videos. After getting a hang of all of that I decided I would try my hand at a video essay in the vain of my old written articles. My first shot at this was a look at Downwell’s mechanics with and emphasis at showing that complexity, or lack there of, does not influence a game’s depth. And that brings this to today. I know have a series on YouTube called Steam Controller Essentials that provides a 101 class style to the Steam Controller and it’s software and a second series called Critical Attention that looks at video game’s under a critical lens. As of writing this I have a modest 300 subscribers, though that number is always on the rise.

So what does that mean for this site that has quickly dwindled from a decent article site to a blog? I intend to convert this into a hub for everything revolving around my creative output. It won’t be place with a singular goal anymore. Whenever I create a game, music, video, article, essay, story, or anything I will create a post regarding it. This will be the best way to keep up with my creations regardless of medium. For my older fans who want to read more articles, I will be including scripts alongside any of my videos. Hopefully this strikes a happy medium between my old fans and new ones.

Most importantly, I want to thank everyone who I have had the pleasure of meeting, talking to, and working with over these last four years. When I started writing for GamerJockies it was amateur at best (which is pretty obvious since I had no training). I thought I was writing great pieces but I look back and I can see just how much I’ve grown as a writer. Between then and now I have acquired so much useful criticism from so many people and I want to thank you all. I still have a lot of growing to do, especially know that I’ve picked up so many new crafts along the way, but I wouldn’t be here without all of the support and tutelage.

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It’s Been Awhile…

Hello all. I have been quite busy recently with many projects. Some of you might be interested to hear that I am back to writing again, this time it looks to be a bit more of a permanent aspect of my life. I have since finished two more games, Space Rage and Twice Your Height, and was in the midst of working on my first large title when an opportunity arose. I am now writing for Cliqist and cover crowdfunded games, though I continue my editorial format rather than straight news. I will also be contributing to another website once it launches in the next week or so that will cover representation in gaming. Stay tuned for more information on that.

Aside from writing I have spent a great deal of time trying to inform the public about the Steam Controller. It has been given a pretty bad rep since it officially launched but I feel that was mostly due to ignorance. It is a very different controller than the traditional offerings and requires a new approach. I have been creating YouTube videos, both for owners and non-owners, to showcase what the controller is capable of in hopes of changing the public opinion. I don’t know if my single channel can do that but it is worth a shot.

So that is what I’ve been up to lately. I’ll be keeping the Creations and Selected Links updated but I don’t know how often I’ll be writing here. Feel free to bookmark Cliqist, follow me on Twitter (@ bryanrumsey), or follow my YouTube channel for more content from me.

An Alteration in Focus

For the past two years I have written for both myself and for Indie Haven. I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts about video games with “The Internet” as well as helping smaller and new developers by critiquing their games and trying to get more people to see their works. However it has slowly begun to feel like a job and it has brought me little joy as of late. Not only this, but it has distracted me from what I really want to do in life: make games. I have already spent the beginning of this year participating in the My First Game Jam and am close to releasing version 1.0 of my sophomore game. I plan on making a few more smaller games before taking on one of my large projects. I will continue to use this site to post my thoughts from time to time but I will no longer attempt to meet a schedule for articles as my free time will be spent programming games.

Twine Weeky: Bower of Blood and Thorns

Bower of Blood and Thorns is an interesting game that often feels like a love song written by the likes of Tolkien or Martin. The writing is whimsical with a flourish for the dramatic, most noticeable when making reference to the battles that have taken place. However, there is much more here than just a fantasy piece about a special relationship. This is a tale of everything and nothing, beginning and end, intimacy and betrayal. Continue reading

Inaccessible Gaming Part 2: Mechanics

Last time I talked about how video games have an accessibility issue on the hardware level, sometimes even before any purchases have been made. However, that is only one of the issues surrounding video games not being accessible. This time I will discuss how video games’ systems and mechanics are inaccessible, especially for people just entering into the hobby. Unlike other media, the skill required to consume video games has increased as the medium has aged. While some of this ties into last week’s article — controllers gaining more buttons, touch pads, gyrometers, multiple joysticks — I’m mostly going to be looking at the increasing difficulty of navigating and interpolating the information and mechanics and how developers can address these concerns. Continue reading

Windows 10 Gaming is a Joke

Three weeks ago, Microsoft hosted a sale on their Windows Store promoting Windows 10. They had a slew of apps and games priced down to $.10. I wasn’t interested in much but they had Hydro Thunder Hurricane and ilomilo+, both of which were games I had been interested in but never owned an Xbox 360. As hesitant as I was to make a Microsoft account, make a Live account, and buy into another ecosystem I eventually took the plunge. After all, even if the whole thing was a bust I would only be out two dimes. I have since completed both games and have come away with some very mixed feelings about my experience. Continue reading

Inaccessible Gaming Part 1: Hardware

It seems there has always been talk about finding ways for gaming to break out of its own little box. We used to discuss about how to get gaming into the mainstream but I think those days are over. Some of our largest games are costing more to make, and earning more in a launch weekend, than summer blockbuster films. Television advertisements for video games can be seen running between ads for Suave and McDonald’s during commercial breaks on network channels. It is becoming more and more difficult to find someone who doesn’t play video games, even if it is the widely popular Candy Crush on a mobile phone. Yet, despite all of this breakthrough into pop culture, there is still a huge schism between the idea of “Video Games” and culture. What is it that film, music, and prose have accomplished that video games have not achieved yet? Accessibility. Continue reading