Behind every super logical sounding argument or theory, there is always some kind of emotional charge. This is especially true in media studies and criticism, I think. That's not to say, however, that the argument or theories are wrong, or coming from a dishonest place. We're all people and we all have stories that are real and that happened and that do actually say something about the world, and those real things are informing our point of view now, in the form of that emotional charge. For as long as the internet has had access to me and my writing, and also for many years before that, I have been a strong videogame cynic. I pretty much hate all videogames, even the ones I play, and even the ones I endorse. Someone asked me what the best Nintendo DS game was. I said, confidently, that I thought it was Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer. They looked into it some, and were able to find out many egregiously horrible design flaws in the game. I conceded them all, saying, "I didn't say Shiren was good, I said it was the best DS game." I've met people recently who call themselves videogame cynics, who say stuff like "I feel like I hate all videogames", and I just know that they like videogames way more than I do. Over the last few years I've been telling people I'm a "videogame refugee", particularly coming out of the GamerGate situation and how so much of videogame industry and fans (at least the loud, vocal ones) seem to be toxic, angry, aggressive, lacking compassion, etc. It feels very insular sometimes, going to these game conventions with booth babes, guns, and huge muscle cars everywhere. And as a straight white dude myself, I generally have wanted to kind of back off somewhat out of that insular little circle. Oh, and also videogames cost a lot of money. And it's this big conspicuous consumption thing where people just kind of want to buy stuff, like on some level the most fun games ever are are while you're purchasing them. And also, what adult has the time to play these things, anyway? The point is: if you want to withdraw from videogames, there are ample reasons to do so. For years I've told myself that my hate for games is actually because I love them so much. I see a promise in them that other people either can't see, or don't care about - a promise of vastly better interactivity, etc. And all of that stuff, all of my criticisms, I think they're not false. But there's also an emotional charge element to it all that maybe explains it better than whether any of these points are true or false. The picture above was taken sometime around 1992 or so, I believe, and it's of me in my home-made Sonic the Hedgehog costume (thanks, Mom!). Growing up, I really liked videogames. But like, no - you don't understand. I really, really liked them. I had a massive collection of NES, Super Nintendo, Atari 2600, Gameboy, Game Gear, and Genesis games at that time, and they weren't the only things I was interested in, but they were always a main centerpiece of any social interaction or free evening. And back then, I had an optimism and a positive identity as a "gamer". I took pride in it. I would dress up as characters, draw the characters, talk to people about the games, go excitedly to Gamestop (or back then, more Babbage's) and get excited about things. In 1992, I was like how so many people are now about videogames. Excited, and able to take pride in my hobby. By 2000, I was distinctly and clearly not so. You were so cute—what happened?!
Vote for your favorite fan art piece here. You can vote for multiple pieces. Below are full versions of all the art. Thank you so much to everyone who submitted work! [caption id="attachment_2417" align="aligncenter" width="660"] Comic Cover by No More Birds[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2416" align="aligncenter" width="847"] PTL by Meghan[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2418" align="aligncenter" width="917"] Minuette Animals by Ashlie[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2419" align="aligncenter" width="526"] Tennor by JennyBeeDesign[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2420" align="aligncenter" width="389"] Comic by HappySnakeGames[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2421" align="aligncenter" width="640"] All Characters by HappySnakeGames[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2422" align="aligncenter" width="256"] Tennor by HappySnakeGames[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2423" align="aligncenter" width="380"] Ish by HappySnakeGames[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2424" align="aligncenter" width="648"] Tay by Richy[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2425" align="aligncenter" width="696"] Tennor by SwiftSpear[/caption] Vote here! Winners will be announced tomorrow. https://www.poll-maker.com/poll1056269x029940e2-44Read More
The game I've been working on since about 2015, Push the Lane, is now on Greenlight! Please vote for it and share the news. Link: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=905399570 Very soon, I will be also launching a Kickstarter for the game. Stay tuned!Read More
In this episode I discuss the concept of deepities and how it applies to game design writing. I also discuss a new Frank Lantz article on Ian Bogost's new book—an article that, it seems to me, pushes against progress in game design in some ways. (Don't forget to check out episodes 23 and 24 where I talked with Frank on the show, if you haven't already.) Finally, I talk a little bit about some personal updates with me, my 2-3 upcoming games, and Codex (which I'm still playing). Thanks for listening! If you like the show, show your support by making a pledge on my Patreon page.Read More
Had a great conversation with Richard Terrell, designer of Bara Bari Ball who's currently working on designoriented.net. He's also been on the podcast before, so I would go back and listen to Episode 6 where we spoke earlier this year. The conversation went really well. We talked about language, "broad vs. narrow statements", Auro and its reception, and a lot more. Enjoy! To support the show, please become a patron of mine on Patreon!Read More
The day after the horrifying Orlando shooting, a friend was inviting me to play Overwatch. It was a weird moment. I felt like, I don't know—maybe it's just me, but I really don't feel like running around with a gun shooting at people right at that moment for some reason. Some E3 events began that night. Everyone was talking about a new Quake game's announcement on social media. I found it to be pretty distasteful, and actually felt a little bit bad for the people who had to present this stuff at a time like this. Then again, I always find E3-type events pretty distasteful, so I felt like, well, it's probably just me again. (more…)Read More