Renan Fontes

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Everything posted by Renan Fontes

  1. Mighty No. 9 was nothing short of a miracle when it was announced back in August, 2013, nearly three years ago. Capcom was slowly canceling every Mega Man game in development. The Mega Man level creator, Mega Man Universe, was unceremoniously scrapped after months of hype. Mega Man Online, a series wide themed MMO was struck down before anything substantial could even come out of it. And Mega Man Legends 3, the highly anticipated finale to the Mega Man Legends Trilogy was killed immediately following longtime series developer, Keiji Inafune’s, departure from Capcom. 2010 marked a dark time for Mega Man, one that would last for three years until Inafune’s Kickstarter for Mighty No. 9 started making the rounds. The project promised to be a return to form, the spiritual successor to the Blue Bomber’s classic career. The concept art showed off a luscious 2D style that captured what Mega Man would look like in the current gen. The names attached to the project had experience in the industry and a clear love for the franchise. Inafune, the father of Mega Man himself, was leading the endeavor. Everything was perfect on paper. And then the first gameplay footage came out. Months of hype was suddenly silenced by a grotesque, muddy off-brand Mega Man who had suddenly usurped the title of protagonist over the stylish, crisp Beck. The 3D art style managed to capture not only a lack of polish, but also a rarely achieved lack of understanding as to what a consumer wants, because if fans respond well to a highly stylized 2D art style, it obviously means they’d prefer clunky, soulless, and by-the-books 3D graphics in their call back to 80s platformers. However bad the abrupt change from 2D to 3D was, a change in art style isn’t particularly uncommon when developing a game. Mighty No. 9 could still recover from this blunder, but it became apparent fast that Inafune and his team weren’t exactly cut out for reviving Mega Man in any capacity. Originally, Beck would have had the ability to copy enemies and boss’ bodies, granting the player access to abilities that would fundamentally change how each level played. If you’re making a platformer in the 8th Generation, it’s pretty damn important you distinguish it from other games and make it unique, and these “Mighty Skills” were definitely unique. The feature added a layer of replay value that’s unfortunately uncommon in the genre. But then they axed it. Blaming “budget issues,” the $4,046,579 project was “forced” to scrap the game defining mechanic whereas the the $300,000~ Shovel Knight was able to pack their game with hours of content and unique gameplay mechanics, while also having resources leftover for three full DLC expansions, free of charge. The problem here isn’t budget, it’s Infaune. In 2010, when Inafune quit Capcom, he made made a big deal about how Capcom was run, how it was a creativity drain that didn’t allow for fresh, original ideas. His comments on the industry were taken to heart by many fans, so when he decided to try his hand at the indie scene, it seemed like a victory. Here was a big name developer abandoning his company to go rogue and make the games he wanted to make with no restrictions. And then he said he would work with Capcom again to publish Mighty No. 9 even if it had to be reskinned as a Mega Man game. Changing the art style for Mighty No. 9 showed a lack of understanding, but that didn’t mean the game would be bad. Cutting content when the budget was over $4,000,000 and citing budget issues implied greed, but maybe it could still be salvaged. Actively fighting against a big name company and then trying to sell yourself out only to be denied by them is not only embarrassing, it proves you were never in this to make a game, you were in this for a quick buck. Mighty No. 9 was never meant to be a labor of love homage, it was emotional manipulation for the sake of extortion. Bogged down by THREE different delays, Mighty No. 9’’s release date was looking iffy, so Inafune did the reasonable thing and made a Kickstarter for a new project before Mighty No. 9 was finished. In the same way that Mighty No. 9 was meant to be a succesor to the classsic Mega Man series, Red Ash was going to be a successor to Mega Man Legends. The Red Ash demo even featured an homage to (read: shamelessly stole from) Mega Man Legends’ hub world. If Inafune’s Kickstarter didn’t already feel like money laundering enough, Chinese publisher, Fuze, stepped in last minute to fund the project after it was severely underfunded on its last day. Wasn’t the point of turning to Kickstarter to fund your projects to get away from big publishers, Inafune? Kickstarter is a great thing, it makes way for great ideas and projects that wouldn’t normally get funded, but it’s also incredibly explotable as Inafune has proven. Mighty No. 9 was supposed to be out last year at the latest, but now it’s looking at a June 21st release after months of last minute delays, and, somewhere out there, Inafune’s counting his money and laughing.
  2. It’s always admirable seeing the underdog stick it to the man, especially in a generation that’s so homogenized with the same games being remade and remastered every year. The video game industry needs more creativity and the indie scene is really the only consistent source of that creativity. But what happens when the underdog gets so sucked into their own narrative that they can’t distinguish between making a point and making a scene? You get Bob’s Game. Bob’s Game is Robert Pelloni’s self titled “forerunner and founder” of the indie games movement. Originally brought to light in 2008, Bob’s Game was quickly forgotten after constant delays and a viral campaign that went nowhere. What started as an empathetic plight about one developer trying to get a software development kit from Nintendo ended up being said developer’s public meltdown due to constant rejection. It’s not as if Pelloni is trying to create the most compelling video game, either. Bob’s Game is a “hybrid between Zelda, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, and Earthbound, with massively multiplayer elements” according to its Kickstarter, but every single trailer and demo simply focuses on a Dr. Mario style puzzle game with little to no depth. It’s one thing to be inspired by the greats, it’s another to openly say you’re making a hybrid and then blatantly steal from an incredibly recognizable game without adding anything substantial to it. Circumstances surrounding Bob’s Game wouldn’t be nearly as frustrating if it weren’t for Pelloni’s attitude, however. Pelloni describes the light puzzle knockoff as “far more than just a game. It is a living work of art, a decade-long art project that spans websites, consoles, videos, music, books, alternate realities, and real-life events. It is a product of the heart. It is a lifelong aspiration and a true tour de force masterpiece. (The work an apprentice makes to become a master.)” There's definitely a sense of humor here, but the egotism is far too prominent. Taking into account Pelloni’s releasing of several Nintendo of America’s executive’s addresses on New Year's Eve, 2008 and a January 6 statement where he claimed he was “better” than Shigeru Miyamoto and Hideo Kojima, the flavor text suddenly loses what little charm it had. The most offensive aspect of Bob’s Game, though, is Pelloni’s borderline laundering from his Kickstarter. On January 20, 2016, Pelloni released a progress update for Bob’s Game where he claimed he had “[hoped] it would make enough for at least a year or two of development. Unfortunately it barely made the minimum amount.” Pelloni followed up by stating he “chose to get an apartment instead of trying to live in a van” and “Once I ran out, I ended up living in my car again for another 6 months until I could find another way to support myself.” Pellonig later stated he enrolled in online classes to take out student loans. With a Kickstarter that garnered $10,409 and an estimated release of 2015, Pelloni’s transparency stands as a reminder that there really is no guarantee of completion when it comes to crowdfunding. The ethical thing to do would have been refunding everyone’s money, but it’s clear that Pelloni has no money to refund and that Bob’s Game is no closer to being released in 2016 than 2008. This isn’t to say that Kickstarted projects shouldn’t be trusted, there are so many great indie games that were made possible solely because of Kickstarter, but doing some background research on the developer’s history seems like a necessity thanks to projects like Bob’s Game.
  3. Let's imagine you don't understand English. It's September 2015, and this quirky RPG Undertale just came out. You've always been a fan of the genre, and, even though you usually have to wait a while for them to come out in your country you more times than not have had a chance to play them in your native language. Not this time though. At least not yet, because translating indie games is bigger ordeal than you'd imagine. It's not fun longing something you can't have, especially when you technically can have it. It's hard enough to translate a game made by a big studio, let alone an indie game whose developer most likely has a very limited budget to work with. Translating a game takes money, time, and resources that an indie developer can't reasonably have. Most indie games take years to complete, a full grammatically correct translation would only serve to push the release date and kill momentum. A Lenda do Herói came out on Steam a few weeks ago, and it wasn't until I looked at the store page that it clicked with me: there are indie developers everywhere. On the store page, the developers wrote, "You might have noticed that the store page says that the only language in which this game is available is Brazilian Portuguese. Unfortunately, you read it right. No, this is not a database error, it is the naked truth. There is no English version currently available." The developers followed up by stating that they wanted to release an English version eventually, but the localization would take a great amount of money and resources, which they don't currently have. What makes A Lenda do Herói particularly more difficult to translate than the average RPG is that it is, for all intents and purposes, a musical. Sporting a fully voiced story mode with lyrics that match up with what the protagonist is doing on screen A Lenda do Herói poses a very complicated problem for future translators. It's innovative and unique, mashing up genres that normally wouldn't go together to create a memorable end result full of charm. A Lenda do Herói probably won't get too much traction unless, hopefully until, it gets an English release. The indie scene is most alive in English speaking countries right now, but that doesn't mean non-English games should be ignored. Even though Undertale is only available in English at the moment it still managed to garner a large fanbase from all around the world. Trying to play a game that isn't in your native tongue is challenging, but not impossible. A Lenda do Herói might not be for you, but if you find something that piques your curiosity why stop yourself because of a language barrier? The indie game scene is still pretty young but if the English speaking developers are struggling, the non-English speaking devs must be struggling even more. It's certainly a risk taking the plunge and buying a game in another language, but it's a risk that might just add some needed cultural diversity to the gaming industry.
  4. Next month will mark the 19th anniversary of AOL Instant Messenger, more commonly known as AIM, and for many people growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s AIM was THE place to chat with all your friends. It's become a relic of the past rather quickly, made obsolete by texting, Facebook, and countless other social media platforms. But, developer Kyle Seeley has made reliving the past easier than ever in his free-to-play indie game titled Emily is Away. The game is a 45-minute visual novel that chronicles a five year friendship with the titular Emily. Every few messages results in a choice that can change the overall course of the story, though it's the dynamic with Emily that gives it replay value. The ending is static, but getting there is the fun part. Every decision made in the game wildly changes how Emily interacts with you, and Emily is Away doesn't hold back when it comes to player freedom. Most developers would restrict your answers to keep you as friendly as possible with Emily, but Emily is Away allows you to be downright cruel if you so choose. Chances are you probably wouldn't want to, but the option being there in the first place is a welcome breath of fresh air for the genre. Things become a bit melodramatic around the third chapter, but it's a nice nostalgic romp that can bring back those embarrassing memories of high school relationships. What makes Emily is Away truly interesting, however, is that it proves video games can be anything. Who says video games need to be journeys about saving a princess in over one hundred-hour epics, first-person shooters, or contain multiplayer components? Something like Emily is Away wouldn't fly with a big name publisher. It's little more than an AIM simulator, but doesn't try to be anything more. There's something admirable about that. Seeley realizes what Emily is Away is and doesn't try to pad out its length, cash grab, or make it anything more than it needs to be. It's not The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., or Final Fantasy and that's OK. Emily is Away is a nice time waster that manages to capture the feeling of young love and the stressful instant messaging that may come with it, but also represents how creative the indie scene has gotten and the kinds of ideas that developers can bring to fruition. Emily is Away probably won't go down among the greatest gaming titles in history, but it will always represent what video games are capable of.
  5. Controllers have come a long way since the days of the joystick. The standard today features buttons on the right, d-pad on the left, analogs in the center left and center right, two sets of shoulder buttons at the top left and top right, and start and select somewhere in the middle. Things weren't always this simple, however. Back in the fifth gen, Nintendo came out with the Nintendo 64 and, alongside it, a controller so baffling it almost looked like it was meant to be held with three hands. The Nintendo 64's controller could have very easily been a nuisance, but this was circumvented due to Nintendo's foresight with it. The controller's design was convoluted, yes, but it was necessary for all the games they were making. There's no doubt that Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time feel better on a standard eight gen controller today, but it doesn't feel nearly as bad as it should to go bust out a Nintendo 64 and hold that controller to play games that were made with the controller in mind. It was a different era back then, games were designed with the hardware in mind more often than not and while this resulted in developers not being able to fully realize their games, it also forced them to do things they normally would not have done. It was a challenge that no doubt pushed developers to try harder and think outside the box for creative results. Nowadays, that's not the case. Thanks to the standard controller format that every major console abides to, there's really no pressure to adapt a game to the controller that the players will be using. Even Nintendo's Wii U controller, the most diverse of the current controllers on the markets, follows the format very closely only taking loose liberties. For consoles, this allows for easy and simple development. Multi platform games can just assume that each system has the right controller, because they do. For PC games, that's a different story altogether. It took a while to get there, but most indie games coming out on Steam have full controller support. It used to be that the keyboard was the only way to play most indie game, even games that needed a controller. When Super Meat Boy made its way to the PC, it was a complicated mess to get a controller working on it due to how shoddily controller support was integrated. Keyboard play was out of the question as the game was too reflex based to justify using WASD or the arrow keys for fast, high level play. Even with controller support from indie games, it doesn't feel quite the same as it did back in previous generations. Instead of games being made with a controller in mind, they're made with binding instead. Most PC games nowadays can be easily rebinded for a more personal level of play. Admittedly, this is something everyone should take advantage of. While developers did used to design their games with the controller in mind, giving the player a modicum of control is a great way of creating a more comfortable experience. Another big reason for key binding options in indie games is simply that an indie developer can't know what kind of controller their user base will be using, if they'll even use one. In a way, they're also keeping the controller in mind, albeit in a much different way. Design choices have to be made carefully since alienating someone who exclusively uses controllers or exclusively uses a keyboard would ultimately result in lost sales and poor notoriety. Whether they know it or not, the indie industry still abides to the rules of old paving the way for the next batch of indie developers to design their games with a controller, or lack of one, in mind.
  6. http://indiegamesource.com/igs/reviews/indie-game-starbound-bound-for-nothing-r299
  7. http://indiegamesource.com/igs/articles/zero-ethics-from-zero-reflex-or-bribing-the-co-r301
  8. Back in the days of yore in November, 2015, a small indie developer, Exordium Games, came up with a brilliant idea to advertise their newest game: a cash prize. With a reward of $10,000 who could beat the game first, naturally many people would flock to it. From a business point of view, it's not such a bad move to make. What better way to get word out on your new game? You're a small developer and you need all the help you can get. Unfortunately, there are some serious ethics at play here; is it really alright to basically bribe someone to play your game? To discuss the ethics of Zero Reflex requires talking about the game itself. The Steam store page describes it as, "a little game project with minimalistic and clear design but with very addictive and frustrating gameplay." Zero Reflex requires the player to dodge obstacles at a fast pace while also being mindful of their surroundings. It's truly challenging, but rewarding. Later stages get incredibly frustrating so there's some logic in offering a monetary reward. After all, the average player will stop playing early on due to the difficulty, but some incentive will keep them playing and thinking about the game. Offering a reward toes a grey line. It's not wholly unethical, but it's not very ethical either. It certainly doesn't paint Exordium Games in the best light and it demonstrates a severe lack of confidence in their own product, but It's not criminal. What IS criminal, however, is the way they chose not to honor their deal, at least initially. When the first batch of winners came in, Exordium Games released this statement, "We are doing our best to stay transparent with the Contest. That is why we have decided to show our effort to resolve all situations which might be unclear or vague. A couple of the community members displayed their concern with the legitimate usage of the Pause button. To try to bring more clarity to the issue and prevent possible Pause button usage controversy in regards to a possible Contest winner we have made some changes." The statement continues to a list of the changes being made (the Pause button being usable only once per level now,) but the problem here is that players who beat the game did beat it legitimately. Exploiting a mechanic that the developers didn't have the foresight to predict being used against them doesn't make their wins any less legitimate. Pausing the game to slow things down and plan out a next course is a legitimate strategy. What Exordium Games should have done was honor their deal. They made the mistake, not anybody else. It was embarrassing enough that Exordium Games offered a prize for anyone to beat their game, then it was even more embarrassing when they backpedalled and changed the rules, but the most embarrassing thing is how quickly the game died. Just as soon as the winner was announced, all talk and hype for Zero Reflex disappeared. It faded away just as swiftly as it faded in, and exists now only as a bad precedent of grey ethics in the indie scene.
  9. The moment I first saw the Starbound trailer, I could tell I was watching what could possibly be one of the most enjoyable multiplayer games I've ever seen. The trailer was exciting, showing off all these ambitious ideas. Filled to the brim with content and the tools necessary to fully immerse a player, I immediately pre-ordered it, happily awaiting the full release that would soon come in the winter. That was three years ago and, by the looks of it, Starbound is no closer to being released today as it was on December 4, 2013 when it was put up for sale on Steam as an Early Access title. Three years is a pretty long time for a game to be in Early Access, there's no getting around that, but maybe the game is still fun. After all, Chucklefish, the publisher, was more than happy to assure customers that Starbound "was already pretty fun" and "already extremely playable," and, for what it's worth, those first few trial weeks weren't so bad. The game really was "pretty fun," but there simply wasn't enough content to sustain itself. Six hours was more than enough to tackle the majority of content in the early days of the Early Access. Starbound on Early Access was never meant to be anything more than a small treat for those who pre-ordered the game, but as more time passes, the more time Starbound will have been a beta than a full game when the full game releases. "This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development." - Steam's Early Access Game "Warning" It's the "if" in Steam's Early Access prompt that worries me the most. What if Starbound never progresses any further? Chucklefish pretty regularly updates their website and keeps fans in the loop with what they're doing, but in these past three years it's never really felt like Starbound has gotten any closer to a full release, if anything, it's started to feel like a more complete Beta over time. Another worrisome issue with Starbound is its pricing. Right now, for the Beta, it's $14.99 and Chucklefish states on the store page that "the price will likely change after Early Access." Typically, after Early Access, the price increases. Given how slowly the development team has been progressing, it feels very unlikely that Starbound will reach a point anytime soon where its content will justify its $15 price tag. It's very true that you can sink a large amount of time in the game, but that's only if you can find pleasure in the same menial tasks and basic exploring for dozens of hours. The biggest problem with Starbound is the precedent it sets on Steam for indie developers; You can sell a blatantly incomplete game with almost none of the content shown in trailers so long as you promise that someday it'll be added in. The worst part of all that being there's no guarantee the developer will actually finish. There's nothing to force them to finish the game once sales start coming in. The only thing at risk is their public image, and what's that for a quick buck? I would not go as far as saying I feel scammed by Starbound, I played it and I had a decent amount of fun with it, but I will say I absolutely do feel cheated. I was promised a full game and three years later it doesn't look like it'll be releasing any time soon, and at this point I'm not entirely sure I WANT the full game anymore. Time makes the heart grow fonder, but it also makes it grow yonder, and I definitely care less about Starbound now than I ever have.
  10. Exhausted from lengthy RPGs and heavily story driven games, I took off to Steam to find something cheap that I could play in small bursts to keep me entertained. Massive, immersive games are fun, but you can only take so much of them for so long before you start to severely burn yourself out. I needed something unfamiliar and simple, but engaging enough where it was able to keep my attention. And that's when I found it; My Name is Mayo, the story of a finger clicking on a jar of mayonnaise. There is one objective throughout the entirety of the condiment journey: click the mayonnaise. The jar can be clicked by either right clicking the jar itself, pressing space, or cleverly doing both to tap faster. There are four stories that can be chosen from in the achievements section that progress as the jar is clicked more and more. To be honest, it's a rather boring experience. On a technical level, My Name is Mayo is a horrible joke, and I'm not really laughing anymore after the first few clicks, but for some bizarre reason, it kept me enthralled enough to get every single achievement, view every story, and click the jar 10,000 times. I wouldn't call it a fun experience, it's menial, but the concept itself lends to some introspective thought. It's fairly priced at .99, so financial resentment never really builds, allowing for the game to really stand on its own. My Name is Mayo is an anti-game. It's not fun, it poses no challenge, and it makes a mockery of achievement hunters, but if it isn't engrossing as hell. I felt a true sense of accomplishment when I first hit 1,000 taps. I felt proud that I was able to sit down and click on a jar of mayonnaise that much. I had stopped paying attention to the story at this point, but that hadn't mattered anymore, the real story was happening within me; would I be able to conquer this behemoth? I felt something I hadn't felt from a game in a long time; I felt personally invested. There were no stakes but my own personal feelings, I couldn't let the game beat me, I couldn't leave this journey unfinished, and so I kept tapping. Getting to 5,000 was simple enough. I muted the game, put on my own music, and relaxed as I tapped away, but once I hit 5,000 I felt a wave overwhelm me. Getting to 5,000 was easy because in reality I was humoring myself, who would really tap a jar 10,000 times? But upon getting to the halfway point I realized just how reachable my goal was and how far away I was from it. This wasn't a joke anymore, I was dead-set on making it to the end. As I reached 6,000 I began to feel physically tired. My aggressive tapping had slowed down, my wrist hurt, and my index finger was stiffening, this was the moment where it would all be decided; was I a man, or was I mayonnaise? I continued to click for 10 more minutes until finally reaching 8,000. It was there where something awakened in me, a burning passion for video games I hadn't felt since I was a child. It was as if I had made it to a final boss of a game I had spent years playing, it was not just a culmination of my skill, but also my sheer determination. As if everything were on the line, I pounded on the mouse and keyboard, shooting myself up to 9,000. I felt my goal in reach, and before I knew it, I had reached 10,000. Throughout this whole journey, I had questioned why I had been doing this, but never quite came to an answer. Hitting 10,000 though, I realized none of that mattered, because I had done it and that was enough for me. I gave meaning to My Name is Mayo and, in a way, that’s the best kind of meaning you can get out of a game. My Name is Mayo seems like a pretty pointless game, and for the most part it is, but it's the kind of game that lets the player make up the challenge. Other developers probably won't learn from it and it most definitely will not be remembered in years to come, but it's a strong example of how a low stress game can be just the right medicine to keep you from burning out.
  11. It's human nature to feel nostalgic for the past, and the current state of the indie game industry illustrates this. While big AAA companies are funneling monster budgets into projects that look nicer than they play, indie developers are harkening back to the games of yore in an attempt to capture that childlike wonder of adventure that games were so commonly defined by. This isn't to say modern gaming can't offer that kind of feeling, far from it; plenty of games have come out in the past few years that have defined genres and moved the industry forward. The problem is, the gaming market is overly saturated with games that just don't have that same passion put into it. It's uncomforting when a big, anticipated game comes out and it's released with a truckload of free DLC alongside it. As the industry moves forward, creativity moves backwards, and while it doesn't bode well for future generations, indie developers are more than picking up the slack. Take Yacht Club Games for example. Their 2014 platformer, Shovel Knight, was able to not only capture the feeling of an NES platforming to a T, it also added its own contributions to the genre. Shovel Knight wasn't made for a quick buck and it shows. It's a passion project reminiscent to those of the past. In a year that was absolutely dominated by sequels and spin-offs to existing franchises, a new IP was able to come out and leave a mark, proving that new ideas are still being craved; now more than ever, arguably. More recently, Toby Fox's Undertale made a big splash in the gaming community, garnering an enormous fanbase and even winning GameFAQs' Best.Game.Ever. contest. It's a love letter to RPGs developed entirely by one person, but it doesn't falter for that. Like Shovel Knight, Undertale doesn't just tread the same tracks as its forefathers to cater to the nostalgic of the world, it adds its own spin on things, creating a fresh experience, something sorely lacking among big name developers at the moment. In a lot of ways, the indie scene isn't too different from the AAA big boys. Both rely on using ideas from the past, but only the former bothers on refining those ideas. The big name games that change the industry certainly leave an impact, but they're too far and few between. Games get massive amounts of advertisement, get hyped to no end, and ultimately get forgotten in a month. Ubisoft is a grand offender of this with each Assassin's Creed and Far Cry spilling into each other to create a visually stunning, but forgettable experience. It seems that when studios realize how easy it is to make money with a name, all passion gets thrown out the window for safety and for some bizarre reason, they get away with it. Sequels sell great and it takes a real disaster to create a financial hit. Indie developers don't have this luxury, they have to struggle to advertise and get their games released, and they need to be original, or else they take a hit. While big developers get rewarded for unoriginality, the indie devs get punished for it. To some extent, perhaps this reversal is for the best. Indie developers have proven time and time again that they can hold their own against behemoths, and the expectations and weight they carry of creating a new, original product does a lot for that. There's stress in not knowing how well your game will sell, if the IP will take off, if it'll even be well received. Indie developers can't afford a bad review, and because of that it feels, more times than not, they've put their all into creating something they really want to create, and so long as this is the case, the indie scene will keep creativity alive in the gaming world.
  12. Ten years ago, if someone were to tell me I could buy an incomplete game and continually get updates for it I'd call them crazy. Now, for better or worse, it's the norm. I recently played Dinocide, a dinosaur-themed NES inspired platformer on Steam that's still in beta and it really got me thinking; is it really acceptable to charge somebody for an incomplete game even if they know it? I knew going into it that the game wasn't done, but it must have been close, right? Why else would a developer put their game up on Steam? As I played through Dinocide, I was greeted to constant screen tearing, bizarre and completely out of place lag, and clunky controls that made me question a mass extinction couldn't happen sooner. The more time I spent in this universe that looked like it was made in MS Paint, the more upset I became with the thought that the developer was making money off of this. I have no doubt that Dinocide would become a good game eventually, but the state it was being sold in was FAR from acceptable. It was shoddy, filled with bugs, and serious need of playtesting. In a way, I was the playtester; the playtester who paid $10 to find bugs and be miserable for 3 hours. Thankfully, Dinocide isn't the gold standard of beta games. Last month, I reveled in Darkest Dungeon¸ going on expeditions for hours and enjoying myself, fully knowing the game was still early access. It was a blissful experience that only got me excited for the full game. And when I think about games like Darkest Dungeon, I so desperately want to say, "yes, this completely justifies unfinished games being released to the public," but I simply can't abide to that. A game NEEDS to be finished before it's released. If the developer wants to give players a taste of the game, they should release a demo. Demos have done plenty of good for the gaming community and have been a staple for decades. There is no reason that an early access release should take precedent over a beta release. The indie scene is constantly pumping out great concepts that the AAA studios wouldn't even dare risk touch, but the trend of selling unfinished games is far too prevalent. It's understandable that a developer would want to get their product out on the market as soon as possible given the excitement that goes into making a game, but rushing a game to launch never helped anybody. Many people argue that early access isn't a bad thing since the game will come out in full eventually and nobody is forcing you to buy it in a beta, but the fact of the matter is if something is available for sale, it should be up to standards. No amount of updates can fix a bad first impression. Maybe two years from now Dinocide will be the defining platformer of this generation, but I'll never be able to forget about the time it was sold for $10 and I played a blatantly unfinished game.