A Case for Luigi

Hear the writers discuss this subject on the Secret Cave Podcast!

Mario is the proud progenitor of the world’s very best selling video game franchise.  His titles have influenced almost every generation of home console and he’s entertained countless individuals internationally – from the young to the old.  With that in mind, what of his younger brother – Luigi?  Since Mario has clearly taken the fore, Luigi’s been conversely left in a large and imposing shadow.  This has had the effect of rendering him vastly more interesting over the years, despite his sidekick trappings.  While he’s only held three true starring roles in his “career” (in Mario is Missing! …   [continue reading]

The Unsettling Evolution of Video Game Storylines

Hear the Secret Cave writers discuss this topic on episode 1 and episode 2 of our podcast.

Last week on the first episode of the Secret Cave podcast, I decided to start a bit of an argument. The statement was as follows:

“If a game doesn’t have a storyline, it’s shit.”

It’s not my opinion, or even something I’d thought deeply about, but I did have a bit of an idea what I meant by it.

For a start, I want to differentiate between the types of story games can have:

  1. Implied story: A story that can be gleaned from sparse dialog, box art, visual clues, and wider context
  2. Forced story: A story that is inextricably part of the game, like many RPGs

An example of type 1 would be Minecraft, where paintings and hidden content tells the story.…   [continue reading]

Secret Cave Podcast #2: Video Game Difficulty, The Undertaker, Mario’s Death, Movie Trailers

In last week’s episode, only two of Secret Cave’s writers could make it on air. This week, we’re firing on all cylinders and have an active, roundtable discussion about adaptive difficulty in video games, why The Undertaker became so popular, the death of Mario (and side-scrolling platforms), and how movie trailers are bullshit.

We’ll be announcing episodes on Twitter, and streaming them on Twitch.

? in this episode, we discuss:

  • Adaptive vs. set difficulty in video games
  • What’s the most difficult game you’ve ever played?
  • The unique difficulty of multiplayer games
  • Matchmaking algorithms in multiplayer games
  • Losing gaming tournaments
  • How to access ‘hard mode’ in Super Mario
  • The difference in difficulty in racing games
  • Is Mario Kart secretly a platformer?
…   [continue reading]

Death of a Legend

Hear the writers discuss this subject on the Secret Cave Podcast!

It seems, as gamers, that Mario and his Mushroom Kingdom associates have been with us from the beginning.  Of course, they haven’t.  What’s important about Shigeru Miyamoto’s work on the Mario series is that it almost invalidated everything that came before.  With some, indeed many, exceptions, most that preceded it suddenly seemed like mere experimental prodding towards something of greater importance.  Perhaps i’m overstating Mario’s power but that’s, at least, how it seems on the wide open surface.  Having already set the watermark high with his first outings, he would only continue that trend for the decades ahead – reinventing the platforming genre at every turn and outclassing his peers with ease.…   [continue reading]

Secret Cave Podcast #1: Star Trek, Donnie Darko & Stories in Video Games

The debut episode of the Secret Cave podcast marks the first of many discussions between our writers that will be edited into neat little audio files for your enjoyment.

We give you an introduction to the kinds of content you can expect to find on Secret Cave, then dive into discussion about Star Trek, Donnie Darko, and stories in video games.

To make sure you get future episodes, subscribe to our email newsletter using the box on the right, and subscribe to Lee on YouTube.

We’ll also be announcing episodes on Twitter, and streaming them on Twitch.

…   [continue reading]