Yume Nikki is a game you’ve probably at least heard of, and quite possibly even played a game at least in part inspired by it. In fact I debated on whether this was “too mainstream” to kick off my series of free game recommendations, but it’s hard to talk free games without acknowledging Yume Nikki, so let’s start with one of the best.
Free Points is a series of weekly free game recommendations. The games may range from the most surreal of Alt Games to the most traditional of platformers; the only requirements for a Free Points game is that they’re free (real free, not free to play!) and very much worth your time.
What Is Yume Nikki?
Title: Yume Nikki Release Date: June 26, 2004 Price: Free! Developer: Kikiyama Languages: Japanese, English Length: ~6 Hours Platform: PC (Steam, DRM free via Uboachan (sorry, it’s a .RAR)) Genre: Exploration Themes: Horror, Pixel Art, Walking Sim, RPG Maker, Surreal Content Warnings: Horror, pixel depictions of death & suicide Supplemental: A YouTube Playlist of my explorations in Yume Nikki
Yume Nikki is an RPG Maker game, but it’s certainly not an RPG. Rather, the engine was used (quite effectively) to make a series of dream worlds that the protagonist, Madotsuki (窓付き), will explore. Worlds vary from the macabre to the beautiful, from the dingy to the stunningly surreal.
Free Points is a new weekly (ish) series of articles showcasing free games that are worth a play. They can be from any genre from surreal Alt Games to traditional Platformers, and distributed in any format from HTML5 to Flash, and from Homebrew to downloadable games to Steam. The only requirement is that they’re free and worth your time.
Free Points is intended to raise awareness of the treasure trove of gaming that can be experienced by anyone (platform permitting) with absolutely no budget restrictions. From Newgrounds to Itch.io, these games are extremely accessible and open in a way that just warms your heart.
Free Points games are really free: no F2P/Freemium. In rare cases, games with ads but no In App Purchases may be showcased if their ads are not obtrusive to gameplay; such games will be clearly labeled. In other cases a game will not have ads but the host’s site may (such as Newgrounds and other Flash game sites).
You can subscribe to keep up to date on Free Points, or leaf through the covered games below.
Free Points is a condensed micro-review that’s mostly informational in nature. Posts are focused on why you should play it and how to do so rather than going into intricate detail to critique. (For critique, we’ve got Finer Points and Reviews).
Feel free to share your thoughts on the game in the Comments section after every post! Recommendations for future games to cover are also always welcome.
Free Points is a sort of offshoot of my YouTube channel, on which I frequently showcase free games. I’ve created a playlist of all the free games I’ve covered there. I cover a crazy amount of games on YouTube, so it’s got quite a few more games than the website does for now.
Has Youtube marked your seemingly squeaky-clean video as “Not suitable for most advertisers“? What’s that even mean? Well, here’s how to appeal your Demonetized YouTube videos and how to best avoid getting them flagged in the first place.
If you’re here, you’re probably already aware, but YouTube recently started flagging certain videos as “Not Suitable For Most Advertisers”. This process is entirely automatic and is a process run on all YouTube videos automatically akin to Content ID. Here I’ll share the best information I’ve found on how this process works and how to work with it.
Note that YouTube’s process for this is highly variable and opaque; I meant to publish this weeks ago but only recently am I confident that the methods outlined here actually seem to work. Expect variation in your specific circumstances.
Tap Into YouTube is a series of articles from the perspective of a gaming YouTuber, covering both the use of YouTube and how to effectively work with YouTubers to promote your game.
What Does “Not Suitable For Most Advertisers” Mean?
When you get the yellow dollar sign symbol a video is “demonetized” or in youtube’s vernacular “Not Suitable For Most Advertisers”. Despite some conspiracy theories this does not mean YouTube is “skimming” your ad money; when demonetizing videos no ads are shown, meaning YouTube gets no ad money either. YouTube gets no inherent benefit from a demonetized video.
Despite the “limited or no” advertising, as far as I can tell no or effectively no advertisers actually put videos on “unsuitable” videos. You should consider a flagged video effectively demonetized entirely. It’s possible this will change in the future if advertisers choose to opt in to this class of video.
Find Demonetized Videos
If you had a backlog of videos before the “Not suitable for most advertisers” stuff started, you might have videos demonetized without knowing. There is a search filter you can use to find them immediately; this is where you’ll want to start your quest to re-monetize as many as you can.
However, I’ve noticed that in some rare cases videos (unlisted ones in my case) did not show in that search filter, and recently re-monetized videos may still show in that view until monetization is turned off then back on for that video.
Loot Boxes and Gachapon are all the rage these days; both the literal and figurative meanings of ‘rage’ in fact. While I frankly despise the practice and think they should absolutely never be in any game in almost any form, there’s a hell of a lot of ways they could be better and as a designer, it bugs me that even free Gachapons are usually done terribly.
How can we make such an inherently abusive and exploitative mechanic better? Here’s all the considerations.
Update 2018-02-19: Added “Speed It Up”, a section on how even a “good” gacha can waste your time.
Finer Points is a series of Game Design/Game UX articles by Sir TapTap focusing on very specific gameplay elements and the major impact on a player’s experience they can have.
It’s Gotta Be Free
Here’s the thing. Monetization influences game design. This is why Mobile games have a bad rap; most of them are F2P, and that heavily influences game design.
You simply cannot objectively and ethically design a gambling system when exploiting the player will earn you more money. Even if you did, you would be designing a game you couldn’t profit from. The only way to ethically include a luck-based system for earning items is if it has absolutely no tie-in to your monetization model. This is simply non-negotiable.
“But wait, I’m not one of those bad designers—” you sputter before I gently place my index finger on your lips with a gently “shush”. Granblue Fantasy’s designers no doubt thought they were “one of the good ones” as well.
The issue with bias is you’re not always aware you’re doing it.
Once again I’m a bit later than I planned, but that’s just how things go! Here’s how things have been doing on SirTapTap.com, my Youtube, and all the other stuff I do. I did one of these last year and after reading both posts over myself, I’m quite happy in the change in tone, it really was a great year.
Patreon & Donations
Despite some initially troubling changes that Patreon swiftly reversed, it’s been a good year on Patreon for me. We’ve exceeded $100 a month and, while the fee change halted my momentum, things seem to be back on track there. At $200 monthly I’ll have a special Paker Cam stream!
Several very generous people have also donated via PayPal, which is another valid way to support me.
Thanks so much to everyone who’s supported me no matter how, how much, or on what platform! You all made it a great 2017 and will help make an even better 2018!
As I mentioned in an earlier post I’ve recently moved to Linode after initially using Namecheap hosting. There were various factors involved in the move but there’s a time when shared hosting simply isn’t enough for a site and I was pretty much there, with fairly regular downtime on Namecheap’s SSD tier.
Patreon announced a new fee structure last week. It was intended to prevent the problem of “double charges” and allow them to roll out Charge Up Front to all users. People hated it. A lot. Today they canceled it, as I suspected/hoped they would.
How bad was it all? My campaign lost 10% of Patrons in under 24 hours, and I strongly suspect I won’t get all of them back. And from posts on Twitter, I was hardly the only one who lost a substantial amount of Patrons. That’s really not fun to experience, especially as someone who had nothing to do with the actual change at hand.
Patreon Screwed Up
I could actually write several articles on all the little problems with their proposed changes and their reasoning. But the biggest problems were such:
Patreon moved the fees from Creators to Patrons, and added a 35 cent flat fee that drastically affected $1 pledges. This strongly discouraged Patrons from pledging the most common pledge amount of $1.
Patreon did this because they came up with a brilliant new system that multiplied the amount of fees Patrons would have to pledge. This destroys the incentive to pledge to lots of creators.
That’s basically the coolest thing about Patreon gone: the ability to support lots of creators with small donations.
I’ll let Patreon’s own charts speak for how terrible the basic concept of their change was: