Games

I love games: writing about them, thinking about them, and playing them in between. I’ve had the luck of being a contributor to Kill Screen magazine over the past four and some odd years. Learn about the company, through the vision statement and an early editor’s letter I wrote with Ryan Kuo. You can find copies of the very beautiful print journal here.

I’m trying to make a sincere effort to archive all my work. Here is a full list of all writing for Kill Screen from the past years, with links to each essay. (Two print essays – “Talking, Thinking, Believing” and “Like a Boss” – are uploaded onto my Issuu page; these links will take you to a new tab.)

The violent, lonely minds of Grand Theft Auto 5

It’s safe to say that Phil Collins is one of the most important people in the world to me, and that I love him in the truest way possible: without any demand for reciprocity. He’s always helped out in the singular fashion only your favorite musician can.

South Park: The Stick of Truth is about the absurdity of being a “gamer”

“People just freak out over elves and all that crazy nerd stuff, don’t they? They go absolutely batshit for elves,” my cab driver says as we course and wind along a raised circle highway into Boston. We had just passed a massive billboard for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I’d launched, with no shame, into an unasked-for lecture on the film’s demerits compared to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

Talking, Thinking, Believing

Essay on intimacy, relationships and conversation in Bioware’s Dragon Age: Origins, which was printed in Kill Screen magazine’s Intimacy Issue (#3).  I interviewed the wonderful David Gaider, lead writer at Bioware, about sharing intimacy and friendship with characters. The piece was illustrated with two comics by the talented Louis Roskoch (here is a Tumblr of his work). Issue Three is available here.

Like a Boss

This essay on the most memorable game bosses and the architecture of disgust was published in Kill Screen magazine’s No Fun issue. This issue is available as a nifty digital download and in print, too.

Beyond: Two Souls wants to be more than a videogame, but it’s much less

The word “game” cannot be found anywhere on the box for Beyond: Two Souls. The press materials from Quantic Dream tout it as “an interactive cinematic experience,” a “unique psychological action thriller,” a “powerfully emotional journey,” and in a singular use of the dirty word: a “journey unlike any video game.” This aversion to being labeled as purely game is both amusing and revealing.

Wind Waker, GTA V, and the beauty of the videogame selfie

I downloaded Instagram for the first time a couple of months ago, wanting to see the feeds of my friends. I found pages filled with self-portraits: my friends in media res as eager, thoughtful people living active and seemingly happy lives. Taking a good, nonchalant selfie, I learned, is truly an art form.

Isolation Chambers

A famous political thriller opens with a scene of KGB officials deploying a dreaded torture technique: complete sensory deprivation. A man is suspended in a vat, in complete darkness, all his senses rescinded.

The Talking Dead

Every day, our tongues betray us, showing others the condition of our heart: rotten, clean, upended. “The tongue speaks the thoughts of the heart.” Dante’s contempt for deceit was evident in his Inferno.

Dealing With Urban Decay

The raw materials of New Marais, the setting of Infamous 2 based on New Orleans, tell a story both longer and more pressing than their digital textures suggest.

Shadowrun Returns jacks us into-and out of-the Matrix

I come to games to believe, and I’ve found I can believe in nearly anything. I can get lost in the most ridiculous universe-an underwater hell with fire-breathing cyborg rabbits-if it’s rendered convincingly enough.

Interview: David Gaider

Excerpts from a conversation with David Gaider, senior writer at BioWare, conducted for the piece “Talking, Believing, Knowing: Making Friends in Dragon Age ” in Kill Screen Issue #3.

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