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…]

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…]

Letting Go

A personal piece about waking dreams, mysticism, and verti­cality in Scandina­vian theatre and video­games. I discuss Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder and When We Dead Awaken, next to a special level from Nifflas’ Knytt Stories. […Read more…]

Walking the Planes 2: A History of the Planes in Dungeons & Dragons

A Map of the Inner Planes (1977)

This one took a bit longer to write, but finally the second article in my planar series is out, in which I give an overview of the planes in the history of Dungeons & Dragons. Next time, I’ll be diving into Planescape properly for the first time. […Read more…]

Ontological Geek Podcast: Episode 3 — Moral Bodies (+ Bonus)

gladiators-and-lion-1927

After a hiatus, we’re back with Ontological Geek podcasts again. This time, Aaron Gotzon and I had former editor-in-chief Bill Coberly and Amsel von Spreckelsen as guests, and our main topic was bodies as a locus of morality in games, particularly sections where control in taken away from bodies and they are destroyed in a spectacle, which at the same time is the outcome of a moral judgment, such as at the end of a duel, like in Mortal Kombat‘s ‘finish hem/her’ sections. Besides that, we talk about Darren Korb’s music in Bastion and Transistor, and a variety of other games. […Read more…]

Let’s Play Whale’s Voyage

Screenshot 2014-10-04 20.31.28

I’ve started a Let’s Play of the 1993 sci-fi roleplaying game Whale’s Voyage over on my YouTube channel. I’ll collect the episodes on this page. Check back soon for new instalments, and/or subscribe to my YouTube channel to be notified when the new episodes come online. Also, feel free to leave any comments here or on twitter. Hope you enjoy! […Read more…]

Walking the Planes 1: Introduction

bodhran_retouched_600

As promised, my series about Planescape and the Planes in Dungeons & Dragons kicked off this month. The first in­stalment is only an intro­ductory piece, in which I set out my ideas for the future of the series. Hope­fully it will whet your interest; check back here or on The Onto­logical Geek soon for the second piece! […Read more…]

When My Ship Comes In

whenmyshipcomesin

I had been wanting to write something about Cameron Kun­zel­man’s little game On August 11, A Ship Sailed Into Port for some time now, but recently I sat down to do it and it turned into a vague textual and audio­visual medi­tation on death, choices, and getting by. It’s a bit of a loose, experi­mental column, but maybe you’ll enjoy it. Please do check out Kun­zel­man’s game, as it takes only five minutes, and if you’ve never seen Werner Herzog’s Nos­feratu before, here’s your chance to see some scenes. […Read more…]

Centers and Peripheries of Games Criticism

Remedios Varo - Center of Universe

Last week, Rami Ismail made a brief but important call for a bit of awareness con­cerning the status of English as the lingua franca in (the major part of) the games industry. I had been gathering thoughts on a discussion of the role of language in games criticism, specifically, for a while, so I figured now would be a good time to make things a bit more concrete. I had written a paragraph calling for awareness of linguistic diversity in games last summer, but didn’t really take the argument anywhere, so let me build on what I wrote there. […Read more…]