Preludes to Kentucky Route Zero

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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…]

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…]

Kentucky Route Zero: Act One

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There’s some­thing to be said for the idea that art can find ex­pres­sion in any medium. For Jake Elliott and Tamas Kemen­czy of Card­board Com­puter, their medium is the strange blend of audio, video, text, and inter­action of digital games. As their earlier game Ruins showed, the studio has a pen­chant for the poetic and the dream­like, and you’ll find those ele­ments in spades in their latest (and current­ly on­going) work Ken­tucky Route Zero. It’s an adven­ture game in five parts — the first re­leased in Decem­ber 2012, with later instal­ments to follow this year. […Read more…]

2012: A Year in Books

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What did I read in 2012? I’ve found looking back at my last year in books helps me chart some themes and devel­op­ments in my (mental life), so I’ve decided to do it again this year. I read 92 books in 2012, a little fewer than in 2011, but they were bigger books, and my page total ended up higher. This doesn’t count all the art­icles I’ve read, but we’ve got to draw the reading ner­dage line some­where. It’s all slightly arbit­rary anyway. […Read more…]

Cryptological Escapades in Frisia

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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…]