I do think FPS and horror can work if done properly, like taking the atmosphere of Stalker or Metro and really going in on making combat tense instead of fast-paced


What are the characteristics of this type of game design?

The digital ink hasn’t settled yet on my fourth book, let alone my third, and I’m already planning book five to be on free-to-play / monetization. With it, the discussion returns to the topics of ethical free-to-play(F2P) and everyone’s “favorite” phrase: pay to win(P2W). There have been many arguments from developers and consumers over what is and what isn’t. I want to take on the difficult task of laying down the core arguments for when something is unethical and P2W.


Examining the off-brand Doom

It’s funny how both Resident Evil and Doom had major resurgences over the last decade after some misfires. I’ve already spoken a lot about RE, but today, I want to talk about how id Software had their heart (and shotgun) in the right place with Doom 3 despite making some rookie mistakes in its design and implementation.


Preserving the games industry

This past week was marked with yet another case of a digital store, and all its respective games, going away. Sony is pulling the plug on the PS3, PSP, and Vita stores, and once again a segment of the game industry has now become inaccessible to many people. Fans of mine know that I’m a huge supporter of game preservation, and for today’s piece, I want to talk about what I want to see and why emulation is such a big deal.


The reason why amazing indie companies still go under

As I’ve analyzed video game successes and failures as of late, and I’ve been trying to figure out a way to understand what leads to game companies succeeding and why others fail regardless of past success. What I’ve come to realize is that “success” as a developer has no set standard: every studio is different. One company would kill for 100 sales on Steam, where someone else may need at least 20K for their game to be called a success. As I thought about it more, success as a game developer can be boiled down to two points. …


Exploring where Loop Hero succeeded and fell short

Of the recent Steam festival offerings, Loop Hero was one that showed the most potential with its amazing concept and gothic pixel art style. With the game finally out, I had to get my hands on it. While the design has some brilliant elements to it, I couldn’t help but feel this game just misses being amazing.

This piece digs deep into Loop Hero and explores where it succeeded and where it fell short.

Loop Hero was played with a press key provided by the publisher.


A comprehensive guide to the iconic survival horror series

For my upcoming fourth book on horror design, I went and revisited some of the most well-known (and not so known) examples of horror on the market. I had the chance to go through and not only replay all the Resident Evil games in my collection but visit the ones I haven’t played before. With RE5 in the books, I can now say that I’ve played every main game entry and almost every spin-off. With that time spent, I wanted to share my thoughts on how I would rank them and why.


Some games have seen great success through deliberately obtuse or cumbersome controls

I recently had a great conversation with Tomo Moriwaki as I do every month on my YouTube channel. On this particular occasion, I spoke about Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy and the novelty of “jank” video games. While these games have a far smaller market compared to mainstream titles, there is something to be said, and studied, about games that go all-in on a singular concept or game design.

What is jank?

Jank is a term that can mean different things depending on what the conversation is about. For many kaizo games that are about perfected precision, jank is often referred to…


A design breakdown of one of the most polarizing games ever made

Death Stranding is a game whose mystique and development may be just as crazy as its story. This is the game that famed developer Hideo Kojima set out to make following his rough departure from Konami and the Metal Gear Solid series. Looking at the discourse surrounding it, there are people who consider this a work of art, just as there are those who hate it. There is something interesting and good about the gameplay, but the game seems to do everything it can to stop you from experiencing it.

Cutting the Cord

The core gameplay loop of Death Stranding is a “one…


How a spinoff showed up its predecessors

There’s going to be a lot of Resident Evil and survival horror talk from me for the next two months as I continue to write my next book on horror design and the genre. In a previous post, I spoke about how the downfall of Resident Evil occurred around the time of Resident Evil 6. Following RE6, a spin-off named Revelations was released which performed well enough to garner a sequel.

The first game was just so-so and emphasized the worst aspects of the action-horror design that led to the purported downfall of the series. …

Josh Bycer

Josh Bycer is the owner of Game-Wisdom and specializes in examining the art and science of games. He has over seven years of experience discussing game design.

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