quarta-feira, 1 de dezembro de 2021

My list with the 10 best games I played in 2021!

This year I played around 42 new digital games (most part of them were indie games). It's difficult to select only 10, but I tried. Below, a list with my favorites from 2021:

• Mundaun

The best game I played this year. Mundaun is an immersive deep into a lovingly hand-pencilled horror tale set in a dark, secluded valley of the Swiss Alps. I walked the scenario two times in a row. Everything is perfect in this game: ambience, soundtrack, enemies. If you are a fan of horror games, this one is for you.

• Little Nightmares 2

The first part is awesome and the second is much more incredible. Little Nightmares 2 is an oniric travel inside a disturbed mind with a glorious plot twist in the end. Graphics are insane!

• Curse of the dead gods

Walk, kill enemies, return, do it all over again. A good title for roguelike fans with an Incan theme in the background. The game is a little unbalanced, but fun is guaranteed.

• Linelight

Well, I'm a big fan of abstract games. Linelight is a game created only with lines, points, and dots of light. Puzzles have an interest progression with the gameplay and the soundtrack is very relaxing. Beautiful with simplicity.

• Heal

A game about an old man with dementia. You must solve enigmas from the past of his memories to discover a love narrative fulfilled with pain and sadness. I loved the dark art and the somber atmosphere in the 2D scenario.

• Dead Cells

Little bit old, but excellent. I played this year for the first time. Classic roguelike game with an interesting medieval/high-tech ambience.

• Death Crown

Strange visual. Bizarre ambience. Death Crown, in a first view, looks like an old PC game from the 80s, but there's great mechanics inside the gameplay. A true indie game.

• Kholat

Based in The Dyatlov Pass incident. The incident was an event in which nine Russian hikers died in the northern Ural Mountains between 1 and 2 February 1959, in uncertain circumstances. The experienced trekking group from the Ural Polytechnical Institute, led by Igor Dyatlov, had established a camp on the eastern slopes of Kholat Syakhl. During the night, something caused them to cut their way out of their tent and flee the campsite while inadequately dressed for the heavy snowfall and subzero temperatures. The game explores supernatural forces and puts you as an investigator on the scenario.

• Children of Morta

RPG, roguelike, awesome pixel art, and a very unique narrative. Go get your copy now!

• Hook

One of the most interesting minimal puzzles games I played in my life. The studio created a great gameplay using lines and dots with very clever solutions. Very relaxing game, by the way.

Wow! What a list! I want to play all of them again.


sábado, 6 de novembro de 2021

Indie game of the month: STILSTAND

I’m always searching for strange indie games and, yesterday, I found this small treasure: STILSTAND. Well, in fact it’s not a game per se; it’s a kind of a dark, whimsical, and absurd interactive comic created by artist Ida Hartmann, exploring the despair and loneliness of a young woman living alone through a long summer in Copenhagen. You can check the trailer below:

The plot is simple, but the narrative is immersive and full of current issues from contemporary society. Amid the desire for isolation, there’s still a hope that one day, things will change for the main character. To reach this, she will receive some help from a bizarre shadow monster that lives in her apartment.

STILSTAND is a personal and hand-drawn tale about the high expectations and the fragile limbo of feeling stuck in life. It is a whimsical and absurd portrayal of anxiety, loneliness, and despair, and brings the player along on an adventure into the emotional landscape of a lost soul.


As I mentioned, it’s more a visual novel with a comic book layout structure. Most of the time you only click on the screen to move forward the dialogues/situations. Sometimes, there are few small puzzles very easy to decipher – but this is not the core of the game. STILSTAND is one experience to enjoy slowly and think about the crazy times we are living in.

Thirty-seven years ago, when I got my first video game (Atari), games were only about monsters, shootings, car racings, puzzles etc. Little Vince, at that time, never thought that, one day, he would play games with themes like depression, suicide, dementia etc. As I always say: games are media and part of contemporary culture. Games are mediums of expression and powerful platforms to send serious messages, too.

Thanks to the indie gaming industry for bringing us an exotic experience like this one. Not only an experience of entertainment, but a product that brings us to reflect about some common problems around us.

Platforms: iOS, PlayStation 4, Android, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Nintendo Switch, Macintosh operating systems 


segunda-feira, 4 de outubro de 2021

Game design process by Riot Games

An awesome (and didactic) content about how to strategically think game designing process. One crew from Riot Games explains in details how to start with a simple idea and how to reach an interesting ludic project. Check the video below:


terça-feira, 7 de setembro de 2021

STENA - mobile game (teaser trailer)

In November I will launch my new mobile game: STENA! Final tests are on the run! STENA is a reimagined version of the classic PONG arcade; but, instead of horizontal paddles settled for a two-player match, STENA has a circular scenario where, in solo mode, the player must defend the core of each stage with multiple paddles rotating 360º.

Check the teaser traier below:


sexta-feira, 3 de setembro de 2021

Alveole: an experimental puzzle game to relax and meditate

Created by Emil Ismaylov and Denis Petrov, ALVEOLE is a very unique gaming experience. With only a jump action - always in the same place - you must unravel the different ways to unlock the character's memories.

Alveole is a short experimental project that explores the possibilities of the player in a restricted environment, where there is only one game mechanic, elevated to the absolute.

For me, it's been an intriguing experience.

You can check the trailer below:

Highly recommended for experimental game fans!


sexta-feira, 13 de agosto de 2021

A basic exercise to take the first steps in the level design field

If you are studying the gaming area, you've probably heard about “level design”. In a synthetic way, as Adams and Rollings (2009, pp.399-400) point out, level design is the process of building the experience that will be offered directly to the player, using components provided by the game designer. Level designers create the space in which the game takes place, the initial conditions of the level, the set of challenges the player will face within the level, the termination conditions of it, the interplay between the gameplay and the game’s story and the aesthetics of the level.

We can also say that level design is how we can make the game cohesive and establish a sense of progression to the audience, stage by stage.

Therefore, in this post, I’ll present a basic exercise to practice the idea of level design. It’s a very simple formula that I have used in the last five years, in my game designing classes. Let’s imagine a game where the player must conduct the character through each level to escape by a door. Let’s also imagine that the space where the action takes place is a 10x10 imaginary grid. In the image below, there’s a sketch of the game with the main idea for the initial level and conditions to the play.

The character is on the left side; it has a magic wand pointing to the right and is looking in the direction of the door (on the right side). This hint is the basic structure of the game: you must walk to reach the exit to the next level.

On the second level, we have the same situation, but now, the door is located on a platform. On this second stage, we’ll teach the player that it is possible to jump one square up to reach the exit.

On the third stage, the door is located on an unreachable platform (because the character's jump can reach only one square up). But we have a new element: a block. So, the player can try to push the block near the platform and jump two times to reach the exit.

These are very initial ideas to discuss in this case. What I propose to my students is to create ten more levels for this game. Try to think about this challenge: find a new way to reach the door in every level. Think of adding trampolines, teleport cabins, traps, enemies, whatever you can imagine.



ADAMS, Ernest; ROLLINGS, Andrew. Fundamentals of Game Design. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009.

segunda-feira, 28 de junho de 2021

Newzoo's gamer segmentation: an overview of the nine unique personas

fast post just to share this inspirational study about the gaming market and the potential personas we can find inside it.

Click here to download the content.

Now more multi-dimensional and fragmented than ever, gamers aren’t just playing games; watching esports and game video content is an equally important part of the puzzle. Hardware and peripheral ownership is, in many cases, another vital component of the fun. These new dimensions of gaming demand a new segmentation that captures all its unique, passionate fans.


terça-feira, 1 de junho de 2021

"Horror Ludens: Using Fear to Construct Meaning in Video Games" - my article for HCI International 2021

The HCI International 2021 (USA) conference will take place in July (online). I will present the article "Horror Ludens: Using Fear to Construct Meaning in Video Games". You can read the article by clicking here and you can play the game by clicking here!

Below, the article's summary:

Abstract. In this article, we discuss how fear can be a powerful element to construct meaning in some specific video games. Titles like Phantaruk, Alan Wake, Here they lie, and many others help us to find some answers in this scenario, but herein we intend to focus our attention on the game Rapid Eye Movement (PC, 2020-2021). Created by an independent Brazilian studio named Abysstrakt Games, and scheduled to be launched in late 2021, the game sets its action in a dreamlike ambient where the player has the role of a person inside a nightmare, looking for clues to set the time on different clocks, trying to wake up. As a methodological process to understand how it is possible to create meaning using fear in video games, we have employed a formal analysis of gameplay that “is based on studying a game independently of context, that is, without regarding which specific people are playing a specific instance of the game”. We have observed a group of players of Rapid Eye Movement in order to study how moments of horror and terror create an atmosphere of fear and, consequently, the meaning of the gaming experience. In this work, we present these impressions as a qualitative research, with the objective of identifying the main points inside the fearful experience of playing Rapid Eye Movement, in order to comprehend how terror, horror, anxiety and despair could be used to support the game design process.

Keywords: Horror, Video Game, Indie Game.


segunda-feira, 3 de maio de 2021

Independent games with a hint of seriousness

Last month, I experienced a happy coincidence. I occasionally downloaded two indie games without knowing much about them, and, suddenly, I found out both were developed based on the same theme: aging, memory loss and dementia.

I’m talking about HEAL and BEFORE I FORGET. The first one is an intricate puzzle game with a beautiful narrative about an old man searching for some distant memories of a love he had, that has already died; the second one is a game about a woman suffering from dementia visiting some echoes from her past with her husband. Check both trailers below:

Both games are excellent examples of how we can bring a discussion about serious subjects to the gaming universe and how we can make the audience think beyond mainstream themes.

Another great example is THAT DRAGON, CANCER, a moving story about the loss of a baby by a tragic disease.

All these titles are clear examples of how we can touch the audience with delicate themes and put people to think in a serious way using ludic language. One more subject to highlight in the discussion of how games become an important media in contemporary times.


domingo, 4 de abril de 2021

SPACE TRAIN: a geme about blockchain

Is blockchain a level hard subject? Yeah. Can we facilitate the understanding of this subject in a playful way? Of course we can!

Meet SPACE TRAIN: a full online browser based game that explains some basic ideas of this complex theme.

To understand the complex idea behind the blockchain concept, the game uses a metaphor with aliens being allocated to a spaceship in limited turns. The game was developed by students and teachers at the college where I work (I created the game design). In the future there will be a website with supporting material, but - for now - you can play the game by clicking here.

Enjoy the game and wait for more content.


sexta-feira, 12 de março de 2021

Pure abstract games

In this post I’ll discuss the idea behind one of my favorite types of games: abstract games. Well, first of all let’s understand what makes a game an abstract game. The definitions are many and I chose one from Board Game Geek’s site. In a section dedicated to defining this kind of game, we can find some interesting concepts about abstract games, but I'll pick one that fits perfectly in this present discussion: “abstract games” is a term often used to refer to games without a theme (regardless of the game mechanics) like Go, Backgammon, and Checkers – as analogic game examples. But we can find digital examples also, like 2048, Tetris, and 140.

Basically, we can say that this category of games is made purely of a mechanic. The components will be geometric shapes, colors, numbers etc. Occasionally, we can put a theme inside an abstract game, but – in essence – the focus is on the mechanism. In this context it’s important to remember that mankind creates games from its earliest historical records. One of the oldest games we have knowledge of is Senet – an abstract board game - found in archaeological relics dating from 3500 years before Christ (THOMPSON, BERBANK-GREEN, CUSWORTH, 2007, p12).

Let’s check some examples of analogical abstract games:

And also let’s check some abstract video games:



Boardgame Geek official site: https://boardgamegeek.com/

THOMPSON, Jim; BERBANK-GREEN, Barnaby; CUSWORTH, Nic. Game Design: principles, practice, and techniques – the ultimate guide for the aspiring game designer. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2007.

domingo, 7 de fevereiro de 2021

terça-feira, 2 de fevereiro de 2021

Screenshots of my new game

Rapid Eye Movement (R.E.M.) is coming soon! Check some images to understand the gaming atmosphere!


segunda-feira, 1 de fevereiro de 2021

Eight solo game developer mistakes to avoid

Another excellent video with brilliant ideas from Ask Gamedev YouTube channel.

Eight Solo Game Developer Mistakes to Avoid:

1.Lack of feedback
2.Lack of demo build
3.No source control
4.Coding standards
5.Custom engine
6.Bad art
7.No test plan
8.Not finishing


domingo, 3 de janeiro de 2021

My new videogame is coming soon! "Rapid Eye Movement" is under construction!

Weel, it's a fact: my new horror game is under production and it will be launched in 2021!

Rapid Eye Movement (a partnership between my indie studio Abysstrakt Games and T4 games) — or R.E.M. — is an independent game created for PC and consoles. At the time this post was being written, the game was in the middle of its development process, so it is important to say that some images used here came from the prototype version (the release of the final version is scheduled for the end of 2021).

R.E.M. is a game about dreaming; specifically, about an agonizing nightmare. In a first-person view, the player has exactly three minutes to complete a series of puzzles structured with some clocks scattered in the scenario. Each clock has a unique color and a unique solution; the player must be fast and ingenious to decipher some hints provided by objects displayed in the rooms and then set the right time on the clocks. If the player fails to set the clocks in three minutes, they return to the initial gaming scenario and must start all over again

All the action in R.E.M. takes place inside a strange and distorted house; each room has walls filled with images of old distressing memories. The game design goal that best defines R.E.M. is to cause a feeling of estrangement in the player.

The narrative is mysterious and subject to various interpretations. In the beginning of the game, a monotonic and depressive voice gives some hints about the gaming atmosphere and objective:

Below we reproduce the full text that is the starting point for the dreamlike mood of Rapid Eye Movement:

I have a recurring dream.
In fact, it’s not a dream. It’s a nightmare.
I can say it’s a nightmare because I want to wake up and I can’t.
Everything always starts like this:
I’m in my childhood home.
I know I’m not alone.
However, it is not a human thing that keeps me company.
It’s some kind of shadow.
In dreams (or in nightmares) we don’t question the facts, we just accept them.
I know there are clocks around the house.
I know I have to adjust the clocks correctly.
I know that time is short.
I know that if I don’t succeed, everything will repeat itself. I know. I just know.

Below you can check a little bit from the pre-prototype version (created with Unity):

Wait for news, trailer, demo and more information soon! The game will be presented in HCI conference in July. This year will be full of new games for my portfolio!