Who...?

I started as a kid playing old LucasArts adventure games, and have worked my way through a variety of games since. I was introduced to the first wave of freeware indie games sometime during middle school after discovering Cave Story and Within a Deep Forest. I'm constantly amazed by the amount of innovation and support in the community, and continue to follow along with utmost excitement.

Why...?

This project originated from an attempt to revisit my favorite games to figure out what made them so compelling. Throughout the process, I learned a lot about why games were important to me, and realized a ton of intentionally designed subtleties I had never noticed or had taken for granted. I'm writing these articles to create a repository of long-form essays on game design and other game-related topics to similarly inspire others, regardless of whether or not they play games.

For readers already familiar with the games I'm writing about, I hope to inspire you through these same revelatory discoveries. For the unfamiliar, I'm unabashedly displaying my enthusiasm in hopes of garnering enough interest for you to experience these games yourself. Most importantly, for people who don't even play games, or are completely unfamiliar with the industry, this is my attempt to provide high quality content that exhibits the purity of what I personally see in video games, cutting through the noise of mainstream gamer culture and going beyond the perceived pretension of the indie game industry.

At its core, this is my love letter to video games, and I'm hoping to highlight the passion and care its developers put into their work. This site and its content is a continual work in progress, I'm excited to see where this goes. I hope you'll join along!

Cave Story - The Careful Design of Cave Story

Widely considered a timeless classic in the indie game industry, Doukutsu Monogatari, translated as Cave Story, cemented itself in indie game history as one of the few critically acclaimed games to have been created entirely from scratch by a single person, Daisuke Amaya, over the course of 5 years. It was released in 2004 as freeware, and its widespread success catalyzed the meteoric rise of the independent games industry. This article studies various aspects of the game and takes a closer look at the detail and intent put into its masterful design.

Super Meat Boy - The Meat of the Story

Created by Edmund Mcmillen and Tommy Refenes, with music by Danny Baranowsky and sounds by Jordan Fehr, Super Meat Boy is without a doubt one of the most well known modern indie games. The game was prominently featured in the documentary Indie Game: The Movie, and - despite its extraordinary difficulty - sold over a million copies within little over a year of its release. What started out as a small flash game, quickly grew into a highly addictive and complex game with a massive community, boasting hundreds of levels and layers of secrets. This article takes a look at what made a game, where players could easily die hundreds of times on a single level, so universally fun.

Welcome to Soldier from The Surface, a collection of long-form game design analysis by @nodxu.

Latest Article

  • The Careful Design of Cave Story

    Widely considered a timeless classic in the indie game industry, Cave Story cemented itself in video game history as one of the few critically acclaimed games to have been created entirely from scratch by a single person, Daisuke Amaya, over the course of 5 years. It was released in 2004 as freeware, and its widespread success catalyzed the meteoric rise of the independent games industry. This article studies the various aspects of the game, and takes a closer look at the detail and intent put into its masterful design.

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