Etch Play Roundup (14/02/2020)

Ben Joy
Ben Joy
Client Services Lead (Play) 14 Feb 20208 minutes read

Happy Valentines day from the Play Team!

It's a day of love today, and this week we are lovingly giving you our weekly update, where we are looking at games company mashup consoles, a new game release that is close to our hearts, intricate in-game communities and some VR fun times.  


I started this week continuing my adventures in The Outer Wilds which is a truly astounding game. The blend of mechanics with emergent game play and storyline is a true work of art (and importantly, enabled some hilarious spaceship crashing moments). As we close off the week with valentines day, I'll be doing what I'm sure most other nearly-forty year olds are doing, spending the evening with my wife doing something super-romantic like building an army of the undead in Necronator: Dead Wrong the new release from our clients Modern Wolf. Happy valentines! ❤❤


Ben G

"Sony Nintendo PlayStation Super NES CD-ROM".

That's not me just mashing console titles together. Back in 1992, Sony and Nintendo had a failed joint-venture in which they allegedly created 200 dual-branded prototypes.

Why am I telling you this? Well, of the 200 originally made, there's reportedly only one left - and it's being auctioned off by Heritage Auctions as we speak.

But before you get your hopes up on placing a bid, you'll need to sell your house, car and everything you own in order to do so, as the current bid stands at an eye-watering $350,000!

The owner of this infamous piece of gaming history claims to have turned down a $1.2 million offer before. And, with the auction running for a further 21 days, it'll be interesting to see how high the bids go!


This week, Giant Bomb introduced me to Split or Steal, a videogame all about the prisoner's dilemma, which may be familiar to anyone of you who's studied game theory. It's free to play on Steam! As well as being the basis for popular ITV gameshow Golden Balls, the prisoner's dilemma also formed a large part of my creative dissertation when I was at University - I made a game about it too!

In this latest incarnation of the puzzle, you advance through tiers of increasing prize money by cooperating (or screwing over) your fellow players. But as well as a private chat on a per match basis, there's a global chat function that allows everyone to talk about other players, and even clans you can join. This means there's a meta game emerging in the community, and it adds more psychological levels to every round. For example, it's common knowledge now that people dressed as hot dogs are more trustworthy. I don't know why, but the entire game community has decided this is true. Didn't stop one from stealing my money though...

I could quite literally write a thesis about the prisoner's dilemma, but instead, I'll leave you with a video of the greatest Golden Balls player of all time.

Split or Steal


Remember how I promised Temtem in last week's update? My co-op partner has been hunting monsters in a different game, so that's on hold 😞 Instead I read an interesting post mortem this week on how somebody made a game using notepad (well,, notepad2 but who's counting) as their interface of choice! Its super interesting and I suggest giving it a read. I'll probably give the game a try this weekend too, as the author kept a few things secret in the post!

yet it hurts


This week I've cleared the living room floor of toys and other detritus, dusted off my Vive and picked up Pistol Whip based on a glowing recommendation from a friend. That friend was 100% right, Pistol Whip is a fantastic experience which I would describe as 'Time Crisis crossed with Beat Saber', as a big fan of both of those games it's not really surprising I hit it off with this one too.

Pistol Whip by Cloudhead Games has you sliding through a brightly coloured world full of convenient little holes and bits of cover as dark silhouettes of cliche action movie minions obediently run out to try their chance at shooting you while a song plays over the top of the action. Usually these songs have a pulsing beat (and often 'big drops' too) and this is where the key hook for Pistol Whip comes in, you get the most points by dispatching these enemies in time with the beat. This has me totally hooked, there's something indescribably cool about expertly gunning down a series of enemies in time with the main riff of the song and being rewarded with lots of perfect scores.

Another design choice which really caught my eye in this game as being very clever is the way they highlight to the player that different enemy types are tougher and require more hits. As mentioned before the enemies are mainly dark holes in this vibrant world, except for the feature that differentiates their toughness is in a bright glowing white. Single hit enemies have just a tie, double hits have a small bulletproof vest and quad hits look like they're wearing full american football armour and motorbike helmets! In a frantic VR game like this it's a very clever way to surface this important info to the player.

Pistol Whip

Ben J

I have finally given "I love you Colonel Sanders" a play, alongside Adam this week. I was intending to try this a while back when it first came out, but never got around to it. With it being Valentines Day we decided to jump in and see what it was about. It was lots of fun, and you can check out how bad at the game we were right here on our YouTube channel!

I also read a really interesting article about some political unrest amongst players in our wonderful client Hello Games incredible No Man's Sky. The whole thing can be read about here, as I will not do the spat justice in a paragraph - but I find it incredibly interesting how the format of the game has enabled and empowered the community to spawn up their own ecosystems with agreed rules and regulations, players taking on "jobs" within the game. When there is so much political division out in the real world, I find it fascinating to see how this can manifest in a game as well. I feel like this is also testament to the game and the commitment to continuously add to the game that a community can create these kinds of worlds and set ups.  Please do give the article a read, it is well worth 5 minutes of your time, and do let me know what you think about it!

galactic hub


The last game I really sunk some time in to on the Xbox One was The Division. I've not got in to the Division 2, however this week they announced a new update, Warlords of New York, which reminded me how enjoyable playing the original game was. Watching the update trailer, the game still has a great feel to it and I remember having great pleasure exploring the world, levelling up gear and getting dominated in the dark zone. Great to see the game is still going strong 💪

 And that's it for another week. Happy Valentines Day, from everyone on the Etch Play team 😻

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