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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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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You Might Have Missed: Rune Factory 2

A game’s qualifications for this loosely-defined series of mine usually begin and end with my belief that not enough people have played it. And while Rune Factory 2 is far from an indie game, I doubt the cross-section of audiences that enjoy both intensive dungeon crawling and Harvest Moon-style farming-and-relationship simulators is all that large. […]

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Bastion: Thermodynamics, Entropy, and the Physics of Fantasy

If you’re at all a follower of indie games, you’ve probably at least heard of Bastion—the isometric, hack-and-slash RPG from Supergiant Games that quickly after its release in 2011 went on to become one of the most popular and acclaimed indie games of all time. While known for many things, Bastion’s most distinctive component (for most gamers, at […]

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