What It’s Like to Play Planescape: Torment

Video­games can some­times be a very arcane medium, and it can often be dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend what they’re all about for people who never or sel­dom play them. Of course enter­tain­ment is often the main ‘use’ of a video game, but many of them have elab­or­ate themes and stor­ies, and the way in which video games deliver those nar­rat­ives and themes is often unique to the medium. Today my own piece on Plan­es­cape: Tor­ment was pub­lished, and I try to explain how the game uses explor­a­tion and con­ver­sa­tion to allow you to recon­struct the protagonist’s tor­tured past. […Read more…]

Walking The Path

Through the years I’ve had so many reas­ons to ignore her, always telling me where I could and couldn’t go… – I was follow­ing a pretty bird, and I got lost. I wanted to go for a walk by the lake. I wanted to pick some flowers that only grow in the forest. I was secretly meet­ing a boy. I wanted to check out the creepy grave­yard. I needed to get away for a while. Be­sides, the real reason she doesn’t want me to stray is be­cause she doesn’t want me to grow up and make my own de­cisions and not listen to her all the time. That’s why I went off the path and into the for­est. It’s made me who I am. […Read more…]

Cryptological Escapades in Frisia

This week, a call went out from the pro­vin­cial lib­rary of Fryslân, Tresoar, announ­cing the start of a ‘cold case’ pro­gram. Selec­ted pieces from the archives are to be shared with the pub­lic, to see if they can shed more light on some unsolved mys­ter­ies. The first one is a manu­script from the 17th cen­tury, and it’s a corker! The manu­script is thought to be a let­ter, as it is only a single page and appears to be signed in some way, so I will refer to it as the Sminia Let­ter, for that’s the Frisian fam­ily out of whose archives the piece comes. The let­ter is writ­ten in a hitherto unknown script, and as such the lan­guage of the let­ter is unknown as well. […Read more…]