But now I’m in the position of having lost weeks of my life to the modern XCOM series: first to XCOM: Enemy Unknown in May, and now to XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. And to explain why, first, I need to tell you about Brigitte “The Truth” Martine.
This is an article I wrote for First Person Scholar, a really awesome website that does work in the space between academic journals and popular games criticism. It’s about a game that’s very close to my heart for how it’s helped me work through anxiety and depression.Read more "Like Clockwork: Working Through Depression in Shovel Knight’s Clockwork Tower"
But in the aftermath of that feeling, I realized something else—that the euphoria I’d felt in the wake of that fight came alongside the dropping of the game’s initial facade. Kratos is not redeemable. He is a monster, and those blades represent that. Only a monster can wield them as he does. Only a monster can descend into Helheim and fight his way back out. Only a monster can harness that fiery maelstrom to survive those hordes of ice.Read more "Fire and Ice: How God of War Thematizes its Doubled Combat"
About an hour into Night in the Woods, a modern adventure game from a small team called Infinite Fall, Mae Borowski reuintes with her high school bandmates for practice. Since she’d left for college, their drummer—Casey—had disappeared, and their guitarist and singer, Gregg and Angus, had recruited another old classmate named Bea to take both […]Read more "You Might Have Missed: Night in the Woods"
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"
Hollow Knight expands from the journeys of a wanderer through a vast, decaying kingdom—beginning with a simple descent into the Forgotten Crossroads and ending with something much like deicide. And in between, a retelling of the Prometheus myth takes shape—the story of a clever, ancient being usurping its creator and granting its subjects a new form of enlightenment.Read more "Dream No More: How Hollow Knight’s Story Mirrors the Myth of Prometheus"