Walking the Planes 3: Pluralities

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…]

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

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)

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…]

Walking the Planes 1: Introduction

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

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…]

Ontological Geekery

Since early last year, The Onto­lo­gical Geek has been my main out­let for writ­ing about games. The site is the brainchild of Bill Coberly, who stepped down as Editor in Chief this week because he’s going to law school. Con­grat­u­la­tions, Bill! You can read his good­bye post here. Our new helms­wo­man is Han­nah Duvoix, who has been a con­trib­utor to the site for a long time as well. She wrote some words of intro­duc­tion as well. […Read more…]

An Ode to Objects

Over on The Onto­lo­gical Geek, I’ve writ­ten a small column about the little things that can make games come alive to me. I love it when design­ers take some time to put in some details, even if they aren’t essen­tial or func­tional in the ‘core’ of the game. […Read more…]

Ontological Geek Podcast Ep. 2 — Asylums

On the second Onto­logical Geek pod­cast epis­ode, Aaron and I are joined by Amsel von Spreck­elsen and Rowan Noel Stok­vis to dis­cuss the por­trayal of men­tal health asylums in video­games, as well as some other related top­ics. Among the games dis­cussed are Amne­sia: the Dark Des­cent, the Thief games, Bat­man: Arkham Asylum, Dark Souls, Out­last, Broth­ers: a Tale of Two Sons, and To the Moon. […Read more…]

A Guest Beyond the Final Frontier

For The Onto­lo­gical Geek, I wrote a short piece on dif­fer­ent ways games can rep­res­ent space explor­a­tion. I take a look at Star Con­trol 2, Mir­ror­Moon EP, Noc­tis, and Space Engine, and try to explain why the last two make me feel most at ease. […Read more…]

The Possibilities of Horror in Games

My latest blog post on games is my third for The Onto­lo­gical Geek, and my first as a reg­u­lar con­tri­bu­tor to that fine collec­tive. In it, I explore some of the ways in which games can tap into the tools and trap­pings of the hor­ror genre. I use the the­ory of art hor­ror as pos­ited by Noël Car­roll and dis­cuss how games can evoke fear and dis­gust in play­ers, not just by using mon­sters, but also light, dark­ness, and spaces. The art­icle is part of a series of art­icles on hor­ror in games, and con­nects to many other recent and older wri­tings on the genre, so there’s a lot to read. […Read more…]