If you haven't heard of it before, Desktop Dungeons is a forthcoming puzzle-cum-Rogue-like by QCF Design. It's excellent, and you can play its alpha version for free here. Since it's essentially a quick-play dungeon-crawler, it doesn't really have any end, other than the informal one that comes as players slowly tire of it. And yet QCF is trying to address the question, "How do players win the game?" so it can award players with a new set of challenges and a tweaked ruleset.
The criteria it came up with are revealing for what, in terms of player perception, a game ending is. For instance, it should be signposted from the start of the game. It shouldn't represent the hardest challenge in the game. And players should still want to play Desktop Dungeons afterwards.
QCF thinks it has come up with a solution, but the problem is an interesting one. Short, replayable, challenge-based games are rarely given endings – but should more of them try? Or should games simply never end, but rather peter out as your attention does?
"The primary language of Dark Souls is difficulty. The game paces and varies that difficulty with the same craft that goes into its character builds, sound effects, and environmental design, and with the same purpose: to explore distinct, exquisitely-realized variations on one unified experience. What starts as a dare is revealed to be the reward."
Millions of words have been written about Dark Souls, some of them ours, but consider sometime Edge columnist Chris Dahlen's 4649 (not including its epic title) sort-of final hurrah. Brew a coffee or pour out a dram of fine whisky and enjoy his meditation on the trials of Sen's Fortress. Spoiler warning, obviously.
"Valve Software – Take this stuff seriously. Building a more civil community is only in your best interest. Don’t excuse sexism, racism, or homophobia, and give players better mechanisms for reporting folks who give MOBA games their bad reputation."
Following on from our column recently about women gamers' experiences online, here's an account of playing DotA, which has a reputation for "toxicity", and a call for Valve to attempt to make Dota 2 a far more inviting. As Clementine says, "Plenty of my female friends have been turned off by the horrendous DotA 1.0 community, and I’d like to see them get a fair chance at Dota 2."
Mattias Adolfsson's The Arcade (click to see the full thing to enjoy the details).
And finally, you'll surely have already seen it, but it's not worth the risk that you haven't: Miyamoto's wonderous developer Tumblr, complete with games.