IndieCade is empowering me to become a game designer

I’m ready to transition from writing about video games to designing them. I wouldn’t have thought this move was possible if not for attending the international festival of independent games, IndieCade, for the last four years. I won’t continue as a weekly contributor to GamesBeat after Bitmob finishes merging with it at the end of this month. Fittingly, I want to look at my history with IndieCade as it sandwiches my journalism career and helps guide me to the next level.  

How I sold my soul for sex in the Mass Effect series

My Commander Shepard is a good man. I made him that way; my unseen hand guiding him through his spacefaring adventures and shaping his personality. He is by no means a perfect person, but I've ensured that he tries to help out those in need at every opportunity — just so long as they don't rub him the wrong way. For the most part, I kept my Shepard on the straight and narrow.

Silent Hill: Book of Memories is a dungeon crawler, because why the hell not?

The latest installment in publisher Konami's Silent Hill series, Silent Hill: Book of Memories, comes out for Sony's PlayStation Vita portable console next week. Developer WayForward (maker of Contra 4 for the Nintendo DS, A Boy and His Blob for the Wii) is trying something different with its contribution to the well-worn horror franchise, trading in the traditional formula of "let me wander around this foggy town and holy shit, genital monsters" for something more like "let me, the player, control a guy wandering around a series of rusty dungeons in an isometric viewpoint, leveling up my character, collecting loot, and holy shit, genital monsters."

Video game music just isn’t the same anymore

I’m kinda fickle when it comes to most game elements. Eye candy is alright, and gameplay is important. But if a developer wants to instill a lasting, meaningful connection between myself and its game, the music needs to be amazing. I don’t like Halo: Combat Evolved, but its theme is fantastic. Mass Effect and Mass Effect 3? Amazing soundtracks. Bastion? Fez? VVVVVV? Win. Win. Win.