Selected Links

The below is fairly out of date, a relic of a time when flogging everything you wrote via a personal website was a key visibility strategy (?!?!). I still like a lot of the things listed here, but most of it is from my old games career; if you want my current work, kindly visit the links at my About page.

I’ve been writing since 2007, but here are some of my own favorite things I’ve written, mostly within the past few years. Are you allowed to do that, to play favorites among your own work? Is it like tooting your own horn? Is it like having a favorite child? Are the other articles offended?

Anyway. In general most of my best video game articles, from short posts to game criticism and features,  were done at Offworld, the alt culture games site I was editor-in-chief of for a year. View my full author page here.  I’m also very happy to be doing some columns for the Guardian’s tech section these days, which you can browse here.

Books

Monitor, a book set in Fantasy Flight Games’ Android universe, dealing with my favorite Netrunner factions (upcoming)

Clipping Through, a personal digital book exploring life and work in the games industry through the lens of the Game Developers’ Conference and interpersonal relationships. Self-published for pay-what-you-want, as an experiment in creating sustainable revenue for myself and others.

Breathing Machine, a 66-page digital book exploring a childhood alongside primitive computers and the mysteries of the early internet, is available on Amazon, iBooks, Google Play and Kobo.

Stories

The Unearthing, a fictionalized report of the Atari dig

MONA, a short story illustrated by Emily Carroll, partially a portrait of a monstrous woman, partly a tribute to Silent Hill 2

Video Series

Lo-Fi Let’s Play, a stripped down and soft-spoken exploration of old computer adventures, is weekly at Rock Paper Shotgun.

Audio

I hosted the Guardian’s Tech Weekly show for a bit last year, speaking to Jamie Bartlett about the dark web, with Gabriella Coleman about her work with Anonymous,  and with Steven Johnson on How We Got To Now, to name just a few highlights. I also really liked doing the Unjustly Maligned podcast with Antony Johnson about why I like Twilight.

Game Culture 

“Sexism, Lies and Video Games: The Culture War Nobody is Winning”, TIME — on what that “Gamergate” episode was really all about

“Playing Outside”, The New Inquiry — “fun” is often a low objective for video games

“A Game is Being Beaten”, The New Inquiry — bodies, violence and consent in games

“GTA is not subversive, but these games are”, The Guardian — if you want to be a real badass, play these.

“Games people play”, Columbia Journalism Review — highlighting poorly-understood limitations of online worlds and the cyberspace fantasy

“Sonic the Hedgehog: How fans have subverted a fallen mascot”, The Guardian – The internet’s most intense superfans. The original game wasn’t that good, either.

“The Weird Escapism of Life Sims”, Kotaku — adults playing Animal Crossing, with empty real-world bank accounts.

“Worshipping at the iOS Altar”, Vice Creator’s Project — Ian Bogost’s near-religious experiment in critiquing microtransactions, crowdfunding and phone fetishism

Game Criticism

“Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, a video game about video games” — Vice. I take yet another crack at trying to understand the Kojima legacy

Do You Cut off Your Own Arm or Eat a Baby?“, Vice — linear narrative games and the film Snowpiercer.

“The Tragedy of Grand Theft Auto V”, Slate — the rebel game that forgot how to be transgressive.

(See also: A parody review of GTA V, subsequently read as a slam poem and made into a wonderful song)

“Boiled Eggs and Optional Violence: A series of Far Cry 3 letters”, Polygon — letters with Quintin Smith

“Gone Home: A brilliant example of how less can be more in video games”, The Atlantic – on how logical design built an emotional game

“Papers, Please: Why make a computer game about border control?” New Statesman — exploring the brilliant nationalist anxiety sim

“Sex Machines”, Slate — device fetishism and Tale of Tales’ Luxuria Superbia

“Life Hacks: A Netrunner Story”, Shut Up & Sit Down — how a brilliant card game broke me

“Gaming Made Me: Colossal Cave Adventure”, Rock Paper Shotgun — people tell me this is their favorite piece of mine. On the funny little text cavern that defined my childhood.

“What Sonic the Hedgehog is Doing Now”, Thought Catalog — game crit as fanfic. Read aloud during ‘Reads Like A Seven’, GameCity edition.

“The FFVII Letters”, Paste — a well-loved series of correspondences between Kirk Hamilton and I, discovering and rediscovering the iconic RPG.

Industry

“The clone that wasn’t”, Offworld — can two designers come up with the exact same idea, entirely by accident?

“With the luster of social games gone, what now?”, Gamasutra — a postmortem of the Facebook game boom.

“With new perspective on life and games, Cliff Bleszinski plots next move”, Gamasutra — an interview with a big gun, about big guns

“Five PR tips Indies Really Need”, Gamasutra — how to self-market and network with the press, for independent creators of all types.

“Irrational Games, journalism and airing dirty laundry”, Gamasutra — the fall of a great studio, and the role the media played (or didn’t)

“Threes, clones and cornflakes: A view on ‘casual games’”, Gamasutra — concerns for a new wave of mass-market mobile indies

“Taking on the challenges of being a mom in game development”, Gamasutra — on some unsung heroes and the battles they face

“What are video game previews for?” Gamasutra – questioning the often-unquestioned obligation

“Opinion: Xbox One is a desperate prayer to stop time”, Gamasutra — pessimism about the relevance of the home console.

“The Life-Changing $20 Rightward-Facing Cow”, Kotaku — Ian Bogost’s labor of hatred. (NPR let’s-call-it heavily cited it.)

Television

I did a couple seasons of Game of Thrones recaps, Black Mirror recaps and three years of Eurovision recaps for Boing Boing. Too many things to link, but here’s my author archive.

“What that last episode of Girls was really about”, Thought Catalog — millennial privileged girl-feels.

Miscellany

The New Intimacy Economy”, Medium — the future of tech is not a cold dystopia, but a Lucky Charms hell world of hearts, stars, likes, favorites and earnest entreaties from brands

“What Facebook’s On This Day shows about the fragility of our online lives,” The Guardian — unwanted features don’t only creep us out, but provoke real questions on the nature of memory

“A Strong, Self-Absorbed Female Protagonist Pushes the Boundaries of Spacetime”, Boing Boing – interview with Bryan Lee O’Malley about his unique book, Seconds

“Five Emotions Invented By The Internet,” Thought Catalog — a slightly ‘alt-lit’ catalog of online feelings. Probably my most widely-read article, it was reprinted in the Boston Globe and received an elegant gif treatment.

“Domino’s, the pizza that never sleeps”, The Atlantic — a hymn to my favorite fast-food chain, despite myself

“Meet the random shopper: Amazon gifts bought at a machine’s whim”, Boing Boing — what bots buy if you give them gift cards. Darius Kazemi works with artificial intelligence and randomness.

“The 1 Purr-cent: Internet fat cats”, Boing Boing — the ca$hcats.biz art project, featuring internet cats draped in money

“On Twerking and being mixed-race” — just a little bit about myself.