On XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, and the Stories We Build for Ourselves

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.

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Like Clockwork: Working Through Depression in Shovel Knight’s Clockwork Tower

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.

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Fire and Ice: How God of War Thematizes its Doubled Combat

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.

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How Doki Doki Literature Club Paints an (Almost) Authentic Picture of Depression

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 […]

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Dream No More: How Hollow Knight’s Story Mirrors the Myth of Prometheus

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.

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