The Last of Winter

Spring begins March 22nd. Instead of breaking up time by years, I prefer to separate chunks of time into seasons because those carry moods. In celebration, I’ll be releasing an online zine about Winter and the transition into Spring, which I’ll post on my Twitter account (Daniel P. Lopez).

Additionally… I may or may not post on Medium anymore. I’m not sure. This tweet by the wonderful Emilie M. Reed is making me think of hosting these posts on a personal site. I haven’t thought of any downsides to this, but I’ll make up my mind soon!

I have so much work to do, teaching-wise, that I’m going to write this really quickly!

a montage of the images below, plus gaussian blur and liquify filters

Glorious Trainwrecks Sekret Santa Holidaze 2018 Edition

Annually, we at Glorious Trainwrecks make Secret Santa games for each other — we enter a pool, create a wishlist, and our video game gift-maker creates something according to said list.

I was planning to play all of the games from this event, but unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to get to them ):

https://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/node/11381

As a child I’d play for hours in Nana’s sewing room (for Clyde) by fizzhog

A generative roomscape, please play this multiple times, preferably in a cozy chair with tea and biscuits, feel the soft rooms, this is just so pleasing, please play this, please.

https://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/node/11377

Achromata, for Drambique by rei

A concise exploration of a mechanic. Despite its visual simplicity, I’m really attracted to it, which is why it’s one of the games from this event that I played. Even though I completed it, I went back a couple more times because it’s fun! It reminds of another game, Sym.

https://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/node/11386

Flowerhead (for quasiotter) by danni
This one was made for me. Features I requested: flowers, minimal interaction, wholesome, relaxing, whispering breeze.

Even if this wasn’t for me… I would still be so blown away. I can’t really describe it, but just know that it made me cry. I couldn’t be more honoured.

https://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/node/11389

Rats World (for fotocopiadora) by sylvie & hubol

short version: i loved this so much !!

long version:
i really dislike rpgs. like, a lot. i think so many games add rpg elements and they make me never wanna play them, which is why i stick to tinygames and old games. i’m also not a fan of dungeoncrawlers, anything not realtime, and pretty much everything what this game is lol.
i loved the aesthetics, so i decided to give it a chance, also because i want to play all sekret santa games.
so i started this when i was teaching. well, it was just worktime, i wasn’t playing this while lecturing lol. i can handle non-realtime games in situations where i might be interrupted at anytime, so i decided to just do this.
it was a lot harder than i thought it would be. i honestly felt like quitting a few times. 
not sure exactly when it was, but i found a secret and it just clicked for me. i finally found the magic in this game!
i ended up having to let it go for the night, on a thursday. i was looking forward to tuesday until i can play it again.
i didn’t finish on tuesday either, and i enjoyed it even more. same with thursday.
i just finished it today [a sunday] and it feels so good. i can’t believe you got me to like a game in a genre that i really really dislike. now if only you could make strategy games tolerable lol jk
it’s like playing puzzlescript games, they look so cool but i don’t have patience for them, so i need an opportunity to slow down and focus on them.
also because i finished it at home, i was finally able to listen to the music and sounds lol they’re so good
now i’m sad because it’s done):
thank you so much!!❤❤❤

p.s. this is going to be a very fond memory for 2019 for me

https://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/node/11388

[fr0g] clan official server 24/7 zk map (for stranger) by mkapolk

I didn’t know how to strafejump even though I’ve been obsessed with Quake since Autumn, and this game taught me how to do it! I still can’t figure it out, despite almost completing the game on Nightmare difficulty.

With this game, all you do is go down! It’s so simple! It can’t be that difficult, right?

Shoutout to snacks.

https://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/node/11404

filequest for mno by… me. lol

When I started teaching in September, I had no time for my own art. Writing two classes and dealing with everything associated with it left me with no energy to do my own stuff, so I ended up being depressed. I had no plans to engage with Sekret Santa this year, but Drambique (whom I made a game for last year) asked if I would, so… I did. And I’m happy to have done it, because it helped get me out of a funk, even though I did struggle quite a bit.

The games I played for this event were so cool that I became a little bummed. I just don’t have the patience to really learn how to program anything, so whenever I make games, they’re either walking sims that lack interaction, or I use extremely easy engines (such as Vertex Meadow or PuzzleScript). So the thought of having to learn how to make things interact really turned me off.

However, I realized that I don’t have to make something like I thought I “should”. Instead, I thought it would be better for me to create a much different approach to a game using skills I already have. I decided on making a sort of treasure hunt puzzle-ish game, mostly using folders and images and engines I’m okay working with, and I’m pretty happy with it.

Other free games

https://flan.itch.io/pedestrians

Pedestrians by flan

Built for CosmoD’s City Jam, this is… well, I really can’t describe it without ruining it.

https://grey2scale.itch.io/pet-the-pup

Pet the Pup at the Party by Will Herring

It’s been on my list for awhile, being that this game is about the best people on earth, introverts. I decided to go for it once I saw that it was being run at AGDQ. It does what it says on the tin, which means it’s a perfect game.

https://gamejolt.com/games/v/27251

V by Jay X Townsend

A quite brilliant demake of VVVVVV. I absolutely adore games with minimal resolution, so this was a no-brainer.

I found out about Jay’s work because they made The Becoming, one of the strongest Doom WADs I’ve ever played.

Commercial games

http://playellipsis.com/ (9.99USD)

Ellipsis by Salmi Games

This is definitely a winter game because it takes place in space, and the neon glow reminds me of looking out of a cold frosted car window at colourful lights.

I’m not nearly done with it, but I wanted to squeeze it here to include it in this Winter post. It’s excellent so far, and I definitely recommend it. Check out coverage of this game at Electron Dance.

https://godzekesatan.itch.io/soft-body (9.99USD)

Soft Body by Zeke Virant

Soft Body, is one of those games that I consider to be absolutely perfect: everything that it’s composed of is ideal, and I couldn’t see any way to improve it at all. Everything from the visuals, controls, music, and sound design are bang on, a result of a singular vision.

This game is wonderful and difficult. There are only a few levels on Hard Game I have yet to complete, but the rest of the package has an excellent difficulty curve.

I feel really stupid writing about this. It’s something to be felt, rather than explained.

Music from Bandcamp

https://jackandjim.bandcamp.com/album/circa-infinity-ost

Circa Infinity OST by Jack + Jim

Just like Soft Body above, I consider Circa Infinity to be a perfect game. Even though the soundtrack isn’t created by the developer, Jack + Jim provide an aural experience that is bang on to the feel of the game. Not only that, but it’s brilliant work that stands on its own.

I used to launch Circa Infinity just to hear the music. I once was of the mind that the audio should never be divorced from interactive experience, so I would never want to listen to it on its own. However, now that I’m playing more game soundtracks in class, I decided to finally purchase it, and I have zero regrets about it.

https://seaoleena.bandcamp.com/album/sleeplessness

sleeplessness by sea oleena 
Wow. I’m not sure how I came across this, but it’s such a gorgeous album that’s worth your time. Promise.

Books

http://2dcloud.com/architecture-of-an-atom

Architecture of an Atom by Juliacks

Holy cow, this is one of the best books I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. It’s a formally intense manifestation of a byzantine story. I cannot begin to explain how overwhelmed I was with this work. It’s one of those pieces that is simultaneously inspiring and intimidating. It’s a true work of beauty, and I cannot thank Juliacks enough for gifting this masterpiece to the world.

http://www.robkirbycomics.com/books (the colours on these are not how they should be)

The Book of Boy Trouble, Volumes 1 & 2 Edited by Robert Kirby and Devid Kelly

A wonderful collection of gay/queer comics, offering myriad perspectives of what it’s like to be a gay man. These are incredible collections that touch on topics such as fucking, love, and queernness. As a sex-positive gray-asexual, this was utterly fascinating to me, observing stories that I’ll not likely find myself ever relating to, which makes this even more powerful. A+.

Ghost World by Daniel Clowes

A well-loved comic book due to strong character writing and a vibrant story. I agree with those assessments, and it’s especially beautiful, but the negativity in this story just bothered me. Even worse, watching the movie made me even more bummed, making me not want to do anything after viewing it. That definitely speaks to their power, though!

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/560934/unlikely-by-jeffrey-brown/9781891830419/

Unlikely by Jeffrey Brown

Another autobiographic dive into a past relationship. It’s a really lovely work, because the little things that happen between people are so fascinating.

Previous recommendations from this season: Pico-8 Advent Calendar / Games for Winter / Dinosaur games / FLATJAM 2018 / a tiny printable zine / Potpourri / It’s a good day to be a gay wizard