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…]