Guns & Gowns

Hedda and Dusk, fashion twins.

Some­thing of a ram­ble about what made me stop play­ing Knights of the Old Re­pu­blic II for a while, about play­ing dress-up with guns and gowns and what that has to do with role­play­ing, and about what Ian Bo­gost wrote in The At­lan­tic today on games and the re­pre­sen­ta­tion of in­di­vi­duals. […Read more…]

Type Travels: Leigh Alexander’s Mona

Credits

Mona is a short story by Leigh Alex­ander with gor­geous illu­stra­tions by Emily Car­roll. The story is part sen­sual urban horror, part hom­age to the game Silent Hill 2. The story recent­ly went on sale, and I pro­vi­ded the design for the e-book ver­sions. Have a look at the design below, and don’t forget to buy a copy of the story! […Read more…]

Walking the Planes 3: Pluralities

bytopia

The third article in my series Wal­king the Planes has just been published over at The Onto­logical Geek. It’s about the Plane­scape setting and how its em­pha­sis on diver­sity and plu­ra­lity has affec­ted me, both in dis­cover­ing the setting as a teen, and now­adays. I’m not really sure yet what the next epi­sode is going to be about, as I have mul­tiple half-finished ideas boun­cing around in my head. You’ll have to wait and see! […Read more…]

Memory Insufficient: Language and Games

memins_language_games

Recently, I had the honour of being guest editor on Memory Insufficient, the games history ezine. I edited the special issue on Language and Games. You can read the editorial from the issue below, but really you should just go and download the whole issue here [pdf], because it’s free. […Read more…]

On Cheezer

logo

Let me take you to the magi­cal realm that is the 1990s of my youth. It’s OK. Peo­ple were cool back then, you’ll see. Some­where in that myth­i­cal land of bound­less peak-capi­tal­ist op­ti­mism, not to men­tion ac­tual­ly the best music ever — feel free to try to de­bate me on this and run away screa­ming — we had some­thing called a Chee­zer. […Read more…]

Cake Salad (a reply to Cameron Kunzelman)

Jan Toorop - Design for Delft Salad Oil (1893)

This open letter is a reply to Ca­­me­­ron Kun­­zel­­man’s piece “On Video Games, Con­tent, and Ex­­pres­­sion”. It is about cake (layer­ed and un­layer­ed), salad, music, opera, ana­lo­gies, and about games. Anyone is free to reply here or on their own blog. […Read more…]

Type Travels: The Sword of Welleran

Frontispiece

Recently, I’ve become more and more inte­res­ted in book design and type­setting, and I deci­ded that I wanted to become better at it, and offer it as a service to other people. In the growing world of e-books and digi­tal reading, there is some­thing of a dearth of good design, and the aes­the­tics that I admire in prin­ted books have for the most part not found their way into the digi­tal realm. As an exer­cise, I’ve star­ted play­ing around with some public domain fantasy lite­ra­ture that I wanted to read anyway, such as the (early) works of Lord Dun­sany. In that spirit, I’ve recent­ly com­pleted a PDF setting of The Sword of Welle­ran And Other Stories, origi­nally pu­blished in 1908. […Read more…]

On Mouths

xenomorph

Mouths are weird. They’re not quite like other parts of our body, most of which are ‘objects’ in them­selves, even though they are some­times redu­cible to smaller parts. A hand has fin­gers, a palm, and so forth, but is also what it is: a hand. A mouth has lips, teeth, gums, a tongue, but it is no­thing in itself. A mouth is an empti­ness. […Read more…]

Some brief notes on hunting in
Dragon Age: Inquisition

snoufleur

Having recent­ly finished Dra­gon Age: Inqui­si­tion — the main story­line and pretty much all of the sin­gle pla­yer side­quests, that is — some as­pects of the game’s ap­proach to hun­ting ani­mals and beasts keep stick­ing in the back of my mind. I’ll try to dis­en­tan­gle them here, brief­ly. […Read more…]

Games within games (within games)

thief_difficulty

In this piece, I wanted to briefly dis­cuss some ways in which players create sub­games in video­games, and what they say about the nature of various types of play and game spaces. I’ll start with a dis­cussion of ap­proa­ches to ‘ghost’ and pacifist play­styles in stealth games, and how these play­styles have become in­cor­po­rated or re-appro­priated in the rules of various host games. After­wards, I’ll dis­cuss how role­playing in multi­player video­games is prac­tically always a sub­game enac­ted out­side of the digi­tally arbi­trated game rules. Finally, just to mess with you, I’ll at­tempt to stretch my own model by talking about parti­cular sub­games I’ve tried to play within the role­playing sub­game. […Read more…]