Comfort Food

Games are beautiful and amazing and art and all that shit. I truly believe this. I think the videogame is the artform of the 21st century, like the movie was the artform of the 20th. (Let’s just go with that grand, sweeping narrative, shall we? Yes, it’s comforting and I want that simplicity right now.)

But sometimes you don’t want The Seventh Seal or Citizen Kane. Sometimes you want to huddle up with a bowl of popcorn and watch, I don’t know, Buffy.

Continue reading


The world is a found object, and we are imperfect archeologists

So I decided to get on TIGsource in a proper way. I posted on there years ago but drifted away. This time, though, I made a post about “Masques and Murder!” So I’m on there now, for realsies.

On my jaunt I stumbled upon “Ultima Ratio Regum”. I’m a pretentious twit, so I know this is Latin for “The Final Argument of Kings”, and that this was proudly engraved on the elaborate barrels of Renaissance cannons. (Renaissance princes were also, I think, pretentious twits.) So I click it, because this is totally my thing.

I’m now a little bit obsessed with this game.

Continue reading


Devlog update: Masques and Murder!

Each skill now has a different bit of flavour-text for each skill level. So training at a low level will yield something like this:


but training at a high level will give you something like this:


Next up, I plan to make a pass of the entire text for a second draft, and implement a content filter. Getting quite close now! 😀



Why is there so much combat in RPGs? – also, vents!

Heads up: This is a bit more design-focused than my usual posts. It also approaches RPGs with the desire to play them as I want to play them: as a narrative-producing machine ala pen and paper RPGs, rather than as a challenge or competition.

I like RPGs, but when I make a new character I can’t help but sigh. Should I be sneaky? Agile? Powerful? Should my expertise be in sniper rifles or shotguns, swords or battleaxes? Because I always end up putting my points into these skills – based around combat or, at the very least, sneaking around combat – rather than the other skills. You know the ones: charisma. Wisdom. Maybe even “gambling” or “seduction”.

Continue reading


The Gods Are Hungry

Hey look, I made a game!


Play it here!

From the game’s page:

As leader of a prehistoric tribe, it’s your job to keep your people fed, housed and safe.

But before long, you discover that this paradise is dangerous: natural disasters sent by jealous gods can wipe out huge swathes of your island, destroying your hard work. It’s up to you to decide how to portion out work and prayer: do you send that spare villager to gather much-needed food, or to pray at the Fire God’s shrine? Maybe those prayers will stop any future volcanic eruptions – which is good, right? But if your food drops too low, your people start dying.

Have a neat animated gif-screenshot:




Colonising History: The Culture and Politics of Assassin’s Creed

I used to like Assassin’s Creed. I enjoyed the climbing and stabbing.

There are lots of reasons to dislike the games, though: super-linear mission structure, the AAA obsession with cutscenes, the twitchy and cluttered controls. I can live with those, though. I played these games year after year because, okay, I can hold down three buttons to run if I really have to. I can deal with the merciless checkpointing. This game does running, jumping, climbing and stabbing like nobody’s business, and that’s why I loved them.

“Loved”. Past tense.

With Assassin’s Creed 3, though, I just couldn’t ignore it any more: the series is, in a word, sickening.

By which I mean it mouths off about this, that and the other – it gets up on its high horse at every opportunity – to make itself feel good. To make us feel good. To congratulate us on how far we’ve come, and something something freedom, something something liberty, and don’t we have such a refined culture, and ooh aren’t the baddies nasty because they want to take our rights away, and oh my God could this be any more American?

The games have some really problematic things to say about freedom, government, politics and history. They shower us with these uncritical messages while taking our money for the privilege. They feed us the same nonsense as most mainstream fiction, and a lot of mainstream news. They are, to coin a phrase, part of the problem.

Continue reading