After an extended leave on the writing front, I’m pleased to announce that within the next week I’ll be making a return to games criticism with a new site that I’m super excited to be a part of. Unfortunately I’m going to be scant on details because I’m not really sure what I can and cannot say and in all honesty I’d rather post this up now than check.
Watch this space! It’s going to be super-awesome!
A few days ago, I published a new piece on Comics Bulletin, in which I talk about the history and legacy of games without developer-defined mechanical or narrative ends, with specific reference to Dwarf Fortress and Inside a Star-filled Sky.
My latest article for Comics Bulletin went up a few days ago! I recently played thechineseroom’s Dear Esther, and found that the game’s linearity and symbolism reflects its theme of fate. It was a great experience in which the pieces of the puzzle slowly but surely fell together in my head. I’d highly recommend you purchase and play the game! You can read the article here.
My second article for Infinite Ammo went up this morning! It explores the impact of Maus, a comic book that elevated its medium to the status of art form, and asks how video games can learn from the way it dealt with the difficult subject of the Holocaust. Favourable comparisons are made with Spec Ops: The Line, whilst less favourable ones are made with Deathspank and Grand Theft Auto.
So my piece on the problems with romance systems in video games has been up for a while now and is apparently doing well at making the rounds. This is the most exposure any piece I’ve ever written has had, which is enormously encouraging and goes a long way to incentivising me to write more. And guess what? I am!
Sometime tomorrow, a new column from me will be published on Comics Bulletin entitled ‘The Art of Darkness: What Video Games Can Learn From Maus’. I’d tell you what it’s about, but then that would spoil all the anticipation that I imagine is wrenching at your gut right now, compelling you to know more, but all the while knowing that you will just have to wait. It’s a horrible feeling, and I’m a bad person for making you feel it. No doubt, it’s worse than your anticipation to see The Dark Knight Rises. (Unless you’ve seen it already, in which case NYEH)
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
I’ve started working on a piece tentatively called ‘Damascus Revisited: Fate and Agency in Dear Esther’. It’s about fate and agency in Dear Esther. Not even joking.
One day I might give up on all this fancy-schmancy ‘games as art’ BS and go back to writing Top 25 lists about tits and explosions and which third person shooter has the best use of the phrase “dick faggot” but until then, this will happen. I can only apologise.
Today I made my debut on Comics Bulletin’s Infinite Ammo column with a piece called ‘Video Game Romance: Love is a Series of Numbers’. The article examines the romance mechanics in BioWare RPGs - with specific focus on the Mass Effect trilogy - and dissects the problems with their tried-and-tested system. It then draws comparisons with mainstream Hollywood film and The Sims to look at ways BioWare can portray love more honestly.
As a columnist for Comics Bulletin, I will be writing a lot more for Infinite Ammo, and I’ll keep you guys updated when it happens!
I have a new article up, and my first freelance piece for a while! Entitled ‘The ‘New Geeks’ and the Rebirth of a Subculture’, the piece is a reaction the the backlash against ‘fake geeks’, saying that as a culture we need to adapt to our new-found popularity and be more inclusive.
It can be read on Gameranx here. Enjoy!