Preludes to Kentucky Route Zero

UW37-cover-small

Last month, I made my debut in Un­win­nable Weekly maga­zine with a piece on the pre­ludes to Ken­tucky Route Zero. If, like me, your an­xious­ly await­ing the fourth act of that game, it can’t hurt to take a look at the (free) games that came before. You can down­load A House in Cali­for­nia, Ruins, and Balloon Dia­spora from the Card­board Com­pu­ter web­site. I also briefly wrote about Ruins here before, back when I was a wee lad. Or ac­tual­ly, a couple of years ago. If you’re inte­res­ted, you can read an ex­cerpt from my ar­ticle for free on the Unwinnable site, or better yet, sub­scribe or pur­chase the whole issue. […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…]

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…]