The reviews are in and the do not fucking glow. Well alright, review. The lone review of DarkSpace’s first release, Hollow Dissent can be found at In it, The Crotchety Old Gamer (that’s his handle, not me being a dick) points out the game’s graphical simplicity, cryptic story, and horrid voice acting by yours truly. And on most counts he’s absolutely right.


First let me say that I laughed my ass off through the parts that didn’t rip my soul out. The part about moving through enemies with a crunch really cracked me up. There are a couple of points I could dispute but honestly why would I? I’m grateful for the coverage and I don’t mind honest reviews. They tell you where people feel you need to improve. To that end I’d like to take a moment to discuss what Hollow Dissent is, why it was made, and where it goes from here.


Hollow Dissent, at it’s core is an arcade game with enough meat on it’s bones to entertain players at home. My goal was to make a dark and ambient game that you might expect to find in the dark and ambient arcades I grew up with. Modern arcades tend to be bright and designed with children in mind but the one’s I grew up on were lit almost entirely by the glow of the games. The walls were close to black. The industry was less leader led at the time so every cabinet you walked up to housed it’s own unique and fantastic world to dive into. Sure most of those worlds involved a burly guy holding a rifle, but that was just your avatar. The world with which you interacted could be anything from alien landscapes to military conflicts. They ran the gamut from abstract shapes and anthropomorphic animals on out to dance fighting kidnappers (looking at you Moon Walker). It’s in those hallowed ( no pun intended) halls of days gone past that I wanted Hollow Dissent to rest. In that regard I think I succeeded. But a game can’t rest on ambiance alone.


The plot: Hollow Dissent is actually part of a much larger universe and ultimately multiverse. The plot of the game in my head is huge and sweeping. I give the player what I had hoped were enough hints that it doesn’t feel spoon fed. Scratch that. In the original build, I gave the player enough plot points to piece things together. Somewhere between playtesters who didn’t seem to care about the plot and the limitations of the arcade format the plot got cut down to the essentials. The basics are still there but a lot of the nuance found it’s way to the cutting room floor. I hope that there’s enough there to make you want more, but as every person I’ve talked to started skipping the terminals when they figured out that you don’t absolutely have to read them to complete a level, who knows. It’s an arcade game after all. “There’s a plot there if you want it” became my design philosophy on this one. I’d actually love to know what some of you who’ve played it believe took place in the game.


So now the question becomes, where do we go from here? I have other projects and part of me says to chalk up H.D as a wash but I really put a lot of care and craft into this one and I feel like it still has legs. There are places where it falls down but the core of the game is strong. So I suppose the question becomes “Do you, the gaming public, want more Hollow Dissent?” There is a sequel or two planned out on paper. Right now I’m not sure if it should be one massive game or a game and an interactive fiction experience. I’ve worked out how to weave the two together it’s just a bit jarring. It’s really two different games which appeal to two different kinds of gamer and require separate mindsets. But now I’m asking your opinion on something you’ve never played or even seen. This brings me back around to what I hope is the point of this wall of text. You the gamer.


I didn’t bring you all in on this one until the game had shipped. I’m not the sort of developer that makes games based on popular opinion and I never plan to be but that doesn’t mean I should be creating in a vacuum either. So for the next run at Hollow Dissent I’d like to bring you all in. There’s a post up on reddit: which will be used as a gathering ground for input. Hope to see some of you there.

Categories: Development, News

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