What’s Good to Read Around Here?

You can obviously explore this blog however you want, but here is a list of blogposts I’ve made that I particularly enjoy or think are especially well done:

Posts About Writing/Storytelling:

For anyone interested in gameplay and narrative, you should check out my post about how RIVEN’s gameplay is its narrative; RIVEN manages to tell its story through play.

Examples from various games (and one other medium) where the mechanics tell the story.

Back in the ’90s John Carmack claimed that stories are as unnecessary in video games as they are in porn. Here is my response to that old quote.

A humorous analyses of HALF-LIFE and how the original Half-life’s story is actually terrible and idiotic.

Another look into HALF-LIFE, this time looking at the terrible aspects of Half-life 2’s story.

A look into STARCRAFT‘s story where I rip apart the amateurish shift in characterization in between Starcraft and SC2.

I look at a level in MYTH 2: SOULBLIGHTER to talk about how decorative gameplay (moments that have no reward and serve no “purpose”) can really make the game feel alive for the player.

I analyze a popular archetype in fiction especially fantasy and science fiction: the Celestial, Terrestrial, and Diabolic triumvirate of factions.

 

Posts About Game Design:

I talk about what’s great about DECORATIVE, NON-UTILITARIAN MAPS in games. I’m also asking for more examples of these in the comments, if you feel like helping me out.

A post about the original DIABLO and the clever design of the Butcher boss battle , specifically about how it creates a narrative with genuine emotional connection with the player.

I talk about my disappointment in the LACK OF JUMP CUTS IN GAMES, some creative ways jump-cuts could be used in games, and a brief aside on BLENDO GAMES.

Another post on the original DIABLO and how negative item attributes actually make the game and world more interesting.

I talk about how indie games INVERSUS and 0SPACE create gameplay depth with very simple mechanics.

Although I made this before DOOM was released I still think it’s a good bit of game design analysis: I take Bethesda’s E3 demo of DOOM and pick apart how it doesn’t live up to what made the original Doom so fun (yes, I do know that since it’s release DOOM is considered to be an amazing game, although for very different reasons than the original).

A humorous piece where I look at the different (and severally unbalanced) experiences of playing the original DEUS EX (either nonviolently or super-violently).

I have a running series called the FUN GUN AWARDS, where I praise weapons in games that aren’t necessarily “good”, but which are still very fun to play with. I cover guns from indie games, classic games, and big popular games like HALO, RESISTANCE, GEARS OF WAR, and UNREAL TOURNAMENT.

 

Purely Humorous/Entertaining Posts:

A satirical, gonzo, humor piece about the history of breasts in the DIABLO series.

I’m particularly fond of the first part of this analysis/review of DESTINY where I use limericks, sound effects, and an old screen shot to review certain aspects of the game. Once you get past the Marathon screenshot the unique stuff is done and it moves on to a less funny, typical review of the game.

A post where I use a random video game name generator and then describe the video games it names.

I have several posts where I brainstorm guns that don’t exist in video games but which would be fun/funny if they did:
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

Nostalgia/Gaming History:

A post I made where I just take some old games and show screenshots from both their black-and-white and color versions (something old games did back when there were BW as well as color computers).

 

Examples of My Own Work:

I rewrote the dialogue for Variks, a character in DESTINY, in the Prison of Elders section of Destiny, specifically focusing on dialogue that conveys story, has characterization, and which makes the world feel more real.

A postmortem of a campaign mod I made for the indie game LUGARU. There’s also a Part 2.

Another postmortem of some maps I made for LUGARU, but this time the maps have no story and were made for the game’s Challenge Mode.

Not a great example of my writing, and not related to video games: A very long time ago a friend of mine asked to see some of my writing, but I didn’t have anything I was proud of. He kept bugging me though, so I shat out the worst piece of writing I could think of to get him off my back. Unfortunately he loved it and asked for more. This resulted in me writing the first five chapters of a deliberately bad, fictional fiction novel called Cyberdragon! by Lesley McNeil . I haven’t added to it in years, but I still think it’s kind of funny.