From one angle, Team Salvato’s (free) visual novel Doki Doki Literature Club looks like an attempt to capture a bit of Undertale‘s signature metafictional magic. A game that begins as a piece in a well-defined genre ends up being anything but—picking apart both the mechanical and narrative tropes that a player might expect from, respectively, a visual […]Read more "How Doki Doki Literature Club Paints an (Almost) Authentic Picture of Depression"
The most important scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix does not take place in the Ministry of Magic. It does not involve Lucius Malfoy, nor Bellatrix Lestrange, nor Voldemort. It does not contain the death of Sirius Black, nor the destruction of the Department of Mysteries. The most important scene in Harry Potter […]Read more "This Book Kills Fascists"
[This piece is intended for readers who have finished Hollow Knight and unlocked its true ending. If you haven’t, my (mostly) spoiler-free review is a much better introduction to this fantastic game.] Deep in Kingdom’s Edge—one of the farthest reaches of Hollow Knight’s bug-filled land of Hallownest—rests the carcass of something ancient. Draped around the […]Read more "Dream No More: How Hollow Knight’s Story Mirrors the Myth of Prometheus"
My favorite moment in Hollow Knight came about a quarter of the way through my forty hour playthrough, when I descended through the Fungal Wastes and found myself in a giant pit at the center of a hidden village. Three mantises—for Hollow Knight’s kingdom of Hallownest is a land of insects and bugs—sat on tall wooden […]Read more "You Might Have Missed: Hollow Knight"
At its core, Spider-Man: Homecoming grasps two fundamental truths that have largely escaped the Marvel Cinematic Universe up until now. First, that comic books and the masked avengers that inhabit their pages are intensely political—that superheroes not only embody the politics of their time, but that the best comics, the ones that remain relevant decades after […]Read more "Punk Rock and Peter Parker: The Disctinctly Comic Book Politics of Spider-Man: Homecoming"
It was an fortunate coincidence that I ended up playing Prey and SOMA at virtually the same time. It wasn’t even back to back—I played them more or less alongside each other, and finished each (the first a ~25 hour immersive sim in the mold of System Shock 2, the second a 9 hour, linear survival-horror venture at the […]Read more "SOMA, Prey, and What it Means to Be Human"
Each episode of Dontnod Entertainment’s Life is Strange begins with a disclaimer—that you, the player, are about to make choices that will affect the characters’ past, present, and future. And while the latter two seem like common sense in a branching path game, the first made me wonder. Was I about to see that storied […]Read more "A Reading: The Shared Trauma of Life is Strange and Ocarina of Time"