Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A little background information

In short, they were married... and I exist.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Generations of Porcupines

Your reaction is the characteristic one of your contra-suggestible century: to disbelieve, to disprove. You are like a porcupine. When the animal has its spines erect, it cannot eat. If you do not eat, you will starve. And your prickles will die with the rest of your body.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Marvelous Miss Take, a Red Headed Robin Hood

Sometimes a video game is just a video game. And there's little else to say about it than that.

It helps, though, when that video game is also a good game.

The Marvelous Miss Take, a Red Headed Robin Hood

I can live with this.

What else can I say?
Everyone is gay.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Why don't you just admit that you're freaked out by my robot hand?

I kind of love everything about this. It's the simplicity of the central plot focus coupled with the overly complex and baroque quality of everything else on display here.

I'm tempted to apologize for admiring this and maybe it's just that I haven't slept much as usual, but I just admire the moxie of this little project.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Moving Pixels Podcast Steps Over The Line

As always I've spent a lot of time this year playing games, a lot of League of Legends and a lot of small indie games. I've found myself largely moving away from the triple A space and looked to smaller more minimal things for the most part of late. I've played some good games and some games that want to be a lot more than they are--but weren't. However one of the best games that I played this year was a game that is a couple of years old, is something more like a triple A title, and that wants to be more than merely "a game." And it is more than that.

Spec Ops is an effort at creating something like a classic tragic narrative in a video game, something not generally possible in a medium where eternal life and growing more and more powerful and competent in order to "win" is usually the central goal. The game is able to define a tragic situation for the protagonist and implicate the player in the flawed nature of the game's "tragic hero." It's an awfully interesting and well executed experiment in game storytelling.

Since I was so take by the game and we hadn't discussed it in the past, we focused on it this week in lieu of some big Christmas sequel that is less experimental and is more of the same.

The Moving Pixels Podcast Steps Over The Line

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

No. 7

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth and the Transformative Power of the Monstrous Body

An essay on the body and The Binding of Isaac, not something that I haven't exactly done before. Then again, Rebirth is a remake of the original, so it isn't like playing it isn't exactly a thing I haven't done before either. Nevertheless, the grotesque and the way that the body communicates remains a topic that I find inescapable personally. It gets stuck in my craw.

I may, however, have to spend some time this winter on a few projects that are related to this kind of idea that have been brewing in my brain for some time now (something with Watchmen at least, though there are some other things that continue to ping the back of my brain). These may be things I go to print with, though. I kind of need to move back to more formal, more traditional scholarly publications for a little bit I think.

I kind of need to make it clear that I still "have it" if I want to bother with the "right way" of doing things. I haven't published anything in print since I wrote on Palahniuk's Invisible Monsters and Choke a few years ago. Tick tock. Time to put in some time again.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth and the Transformative Power of the Monstrous Body

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Moving Pixels Podcast: Choose Your Own Clementine

The following is a discussion of the final episode of The Walking Dead Season Two, a more interesting episode than the previous ones in my estimaation.

I still can't figure out if I've used this image before. It sort of seems like it to me, but I just can't recall.

Moving Pixels Podcast: Choose Your Own Clementine

Friday, November 21, 2014

A concern for politics is a hobby

for those who are under the illusion that they can control their circumstances.

I am under no such illusions.

Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

Render unto Caeser what is Ceaser's.

And, I'm out.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

And I'll cry if I want to

may i feel said he
(i'll squeal said she
just once said he)
it's fun said she

(may i touch said he
how much said she
a lot said he)
why not said she

(let's go said he
not too far said she
what's too far said he
where you are said she)

may i stay said he
(which way said she
like this said he
if you kiss said she

may i move said he
is it love said she)
if you're willing said he
(but you're killing said she

but it's life said he
but your wife said she
now said he)
ow said she

(tiptop said he
don't stop said she
oh no said he)
go slow said she

(cccome?said he
ummm said she)
you're divine!said he
(you are Mine said she)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Curses, Killings, and a Rich, Creamy Broth

I had a dream that my wife and I had been zombified and forced to make batches of a cursed soup by the woman who now controlled us. Her power over us was apparently limited, as we managed to plan a means of killing her when we finished the last batch. Sarra, however, just threw a knife into her heart just before we finished that last batch.

I then asked her why she didn't follow the plan, and she simply shrugged and said, "I don't know."

By the way, according to my dream, cursed soup has a creamy broth.

Which to my mind explains the seductive qualities of cursed soup. I like soups with a creamy broth very much.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Moonkid: A Fantasy of Powerlessness

What to say about Moonkid? It's a game about not saving the world, which is strangely related to something I said on this blog just a couple days ago (that or I'm merely projecting my recent thoughts on a game that I played shortly after thinking them--that kind of thing happens to me on occasion).

Oh, and I really love the character design of Moonkid's mom, who appears in the above picture.

Moonkid: A Fantasy of Powerlessness

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Someday, y'all will grow up

And realize that the world doesn't need saving.

Worry about your own bullshit.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Moving Pixels Podcast: A House Dividing

Discussion of the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead Season Two.

Light she was and like a fairy
Her shoes were number 9
Herring boxes, without topses
Sandals were for Clementine

Moving Pixels Podcast: A House Dividing

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Some Worlds Are Best Seen From Outside Your Own Eyes

Some assorted thoughts on perspective in video games, the value of first person in some instances and the value of third person (which I usually prefer) in others.

Some Worlds Are Best Seen From Outside Your Own Eyes

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Superman never made any money, saving the world from Solomon Grundy

And sometimes I despair the world will never see another man like him.

I'm the kind of human wreckage that you love.

Lately, I've felt that I need to rename my blog again. Fail-State seems like an appropriate title.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Six Little Horror Games That Would Like to Play With You This Halloween

'S funny, I always say that horror isn't really a genre that I especially care for. But here I am writing article after article about horror games lately. I'm also in the middle of another one as we speak.

Six Little Horror Games That Would Like to Play With You This Halloween

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter: The Weird and the Familiar

Quite a nice game. Slightly reminiscent of The 7th Guest, but far less kitschy.

Chronological puzzles place the emphasis on the idea of the reconstruction of narrative. Thus, the game weds its mechanics with its more intense focus on storytelling.

I put this more plainly here:

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter: The Weird and the Familiar

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Moving Pixels Podcast: Ghouls, Ghosts, and Gaming

This is a podcast that we did on horror games. For the life of me, I can't recall the conversation. I am really pleased with the splash image, though.

Maybe the conversation is good, too.

Moving Pixels Podcast: Ghouls, Ghosts, and Gaming

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Neverending Nightmares: More Tedious Than Terrifying

Neverending Nightmares looks like an Edward Gorey storybook, which is amazing. I just wish that there was an amazing game to go along with that look.

Neverending Nightmares: More Tedious Than Terrifying

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ever So Gorey (Edward, That Is)

O I would do strange things to you,
if you'd do them to me;
I have on hand, you understand,
just scads of Q.R.V.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Wednesday, October 8, 2014




Monday, October 6, 2014

Saturday, October 4, 2014

I had a dream that I was going bald.

I am never actually going to go bald.

Still, this was unsettling.

Friday, October 3, 2014

A few thoughts on saving the princess

1. Learn to take a punch.

2. There's no crying in princess saving.

3. Slim down. There are too many reasons to enumerate all of the ways that this will be so beneficial to you and to your goals.

4. There's no whining in princess saving.

5. Don't die.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

And now a very special Steam moment

That moment when you know you're going to make a Steam purchase even if it's the end of the month and you know you don't really have any money.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Celebration of Carnage: Django Unchained and Hotline Miami

Watched Django Unchained again the other night with some folks who hadn't seen it before. About two seconds of a panning shot following a gunfight immediately brought the concluding sequences of each level of Hotline Miami to mind and provoked the thoughts that make up this post on the "celebration of carnage" represented frequently in Tarantino movies and in Hotline Miami. Memory is a funny thing.

Sarra says this post reads more like stuff I write when I'm writing well (as opposed to a lot of what I've written lately). She's probably write. She usually is about these kind of things.

A Celebration of Carnage: Django Unchained and Hotline Miami

Monday, September 22, 2014

I laughed

until I cried.

Review: Dead Rising: Apocalypse Edition

I've heard that some critics don't think that Dead Rising 3 is art.

Ummm... yeah.

You say schlock like that's a bad thing.

Dead Rising: Apocalypse Edition

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Astute author D. H. Lawrence say

"They want an outward system of nullity, which they call peace and goodwill, so that in their own souls they can be independent little gods."
--Chuck Palahniuk,Pygmy

I wrote a dissertation once a long time ago called little gods. I was unaware of this quotation at the time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Runers: What's My Motivation?

Shoot better and better and better. Then, shoot some more.

Runers: What's My Motivation?

Moving Pixels Podcast: Little Money, Little Games

We did publish a podcast on Monday featuring three little games available to play for free online, only one of which I think is worth playing. That is, of course, the brilliant little browser-based econ sim, A Dark Room

Moving Pixels Podcast: Little Money, Little Games

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Less Is Much, Much More: Making Do in Dead Rising 3

Kind of glad I wrote this critique of Dead Rising's lowered difficulty before I officially reviewed it because this is my only real complaint about the game. Frankly, it's as fun as always, just maybe too easy.

In this blog post, I discuss the problems of how the lowered challenge contradicts some of the genre's conventions regarding scarcity and its overall tension.

Less Is Much, Much More: Making Do in Dead Rising 3

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

The one that makes me laugh, she said

Never was really fond of The Cure, despite my age and their significance to the alt scene of the time.

But I'm a total sucker for this still.

("Killing An Arab" is also good, though. Robert Smith's take on The Stranger.).

Moving Pixels Podcast: Transitioning to Transistor

Pretty imagery in Transistor. Somewhat forgettable game.

Moving Pixels Podcast: Transitioning to Transistor

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Artist's Medium Is the Rules: The Games of Edmund McMillen

There's this weird, character in black face in The Binding of Isaac called Steven. I never quite knew what he was all about, but I did know that he was a character from another game by McMillen, Time Fcuk. So, I finally sat down and played through Time Fcuk the other night to maybe see what Steven represents to McMillen.

Having played it, I'm still not sure why he is in what appears to be black face, but I did have a number of things to say about Time Fcuk and how it fits into the McMillen canon.

The Artist's Medium Is the Rules: The Games of Edmund McMillen

Monday, September 1, 2014

Bowie, Mercury, Kermit

This will probably seem kind of lame initially. However, it gets better as it goes along.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Losing to Win: Spec Ops and Tragedy in Video Games

Finally got the chance to play through Spec Ops: The Line (thanks, Isaac). It is really good, like Bioshock good as far as dealing with its themes in a really interesting and thoughtful way.

The game got me thinking again about video games and how they tend to fit into the broadest literary categories (tragedy and comedy), so I'm talking in part about Pac-Man as a tragic hero once again (which I always find amusing).

Losing to Win: 'Spec Ops' and Tragedy in Video Games

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Moving Pixels Podcast: Nearly Happily Ever After

A day later than usual, but this podcast marks a point near the end of our discussion of The Wolf Among Us. I seem to recall liking this episode a bit better than the previous ones.

Moving Pixels Podcast: Nearly Happily Ever After

Saturday, August 16, 2014


The need of the high-density technological society will soon be for less family and more inter-connection in sex. Since sex is, after all, the most special form of human communication, and the technological society is built on expanding communication in much the way capitalism was built on the expansive properties of capital and money, the perspective is toward greater promiscuity.
--Norman Mailer, 1973

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Religion of the Dark Knight

Another article worth reading by UWSP English major Paul Grosskopf:

The Religion of the Dark Knight

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pursuing the Plumber: Sex Role Reversals in Leisure Suit Larry

A few thoughts on a very old, very trashy game. That being said, some of this discussion is likely going to be useful to me for some other things I'm writing, and to be frank, the most extreme genres are often the starkest and most straightforward in their symbolism. They become easy to make a point with. Horror works as easily as sex farce and vice versa.

Pursuing the Plumber: Sex Role Reversals in Leisure Suit Larry

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Oh, and my parents love me

Oh, and my girlfriend loves me
They keep photos of me

Saturday, August 9, 2014

If the sky that we look upon should tumble and fall

Due to lack of interest, tomorrow's been cancelled

(For anyone concerned, I'm going with the British "cancelled" instead of "canceled." The Kaiser Chiefs are from Leeds after all.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ever Forward on an Unmoving Train: The Horror of Sepulchre

Not the most amazing game ever, but interesting. It's got a Stephen King vibe in spots, but I really kind of got more interested in its circularity and repetition and what that means in the greater context of the medium.

It's brief and worth poking around a bit maybe just for its simplicity.

Ever Forward on an Unmoving Train: The Horror of Sepulchre

Moving Pixels Podcast: Dictators and Dead Guys

Recorded a long time ago. Thus, not sure what to say. Might be a good episode?

We are still working on returning to iTunes. Hopefully, soon.

Moving Pixels Podcast: Dictators and Dead Guys

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Horror with Friends

Had a ton of fun insisting that Sarra play the free-to-play horror game, The Cursed Forest. An audience gathered and much screaming commenced. Always a pleasure.

Even though I'm generally not a huge fan of horror as a genre (I'm not really into gore for gore's sake), the game is really rather superb (plus, it's more creepy than gory--more what I do like when I actually enjoy horror). Really smart design in terms of evoking horror and playing with player expectation.

If you haven't heard of it, you should check it out because it's free and it's good. The developer is not a native English speaker, so don't blame him for the sometimes less than stellar flavor text. Frankly, if the game could have the text cleaned up a bit (and/or insert some visual intro and conclusion, rather than text at all), I think he could sell it on Steam quite successfully for a low price (it's pretty short--about an hour and a half). It would be well reviewed, I think.

Horror with Friends

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Perpetual dawn

Perpetual dawn
Infinite sunrise
Perpetual dawn

Sounds a bit like hell.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I think I broke my toe two days ago

Haven't gotten it looked at. I think all they do is tape your toe to your foot. I can tape my own toe to my foot.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Ever Expanding Self and A Dark Room

Not sleeping well. Not thinking well. However, wrote about a passage from Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and the way that it corresponds thematically to A Dark Room.

Hope it manages to make sense, since not everything is completely coherent in my own brain at the moment.

The Ever Expanding Self and A Dark Room

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Dark Room, the Most Fun You'll Ever Have with a Spreadsheet

My current fixation is A Dark Room. (Like I need more fixations. I'm dripping in them.).

There is something so elegant about this game and its incremental drip of information about its systems to its player, then its exponential explosion of those same systems, matching a similarly slower then rapidly expanding sense of its world.

This may be my game of the year.

If you know nothing about it, you should really check it out. Read my article after you've played it for awhile. It's better to know nothing going in.

A Dark Room, the Most Fun You'll Ever Have with a Spreadsheet

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fleeing the Familiar, Embracing the Abject in Beyond Two Souls

A couple of years ago, I taught a graduate level course on interactive fiction. A student of mine named Kate Worzala produced an essay for that class on Tale of Tales's game The Path that I thought was good enough to encourage her to submit to PopMatters.

This year I taught an undergraduate version of that course. Again, I had a student, in this case, Paul Grosskopf, who produced a paper that I really felt should be published. So, here it is, an essay that uses Julia Kristeva's definition of "the abject" to help explore the relationship between the two protagonists of Beyond Two Souls.

Check it out. It's quite good.

Fleeing the Familiar, Embracing the Abject in Beyond Two Souls

Somehow, [in Maycomb], it was hotter then.

Ladies bathed before noon, after their three o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes of sweat and sweet talcum.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Worshiping at the Altar of Smite

Some more thoughts on my mania for collection and possible purposes to justify collection.

Worshiping at the Altar of Smite

Wednesday, June 11, 2014