Video Game Genres – Action

Featuring blockbuster titles like Tomb Raider, Half-Life, Assassin’s Creed and the Arkham games, as well as lesser-known indie titles like Furi and the effervescent One Finger Death Punch.

Batman Arkham Knight: On Pressure

Let’s draw up a loose taxonomy of video games – not in earnest, just as a temporary tool, as something explorative rather than definitive. Let’s say that there are games that push you to act, and games that don’t. An example of the former might be a first person shooter. There are bad guys running […]

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Power Fantasy

Today I want to do something a little different. We’re going to look at two different quests from Horizon Zero Dawn, and talk about how they function from a writing perspective. No frills, just narrative. The first quest is part of the main story arc. You’re hunting Olin, a guy that you believe is responsible […]

The Amazing Opening of Horizon Zero Dawn

So imagine you’re a game designer, right, and you write the stories for these things. One of your key jobs is sorting out the main character’s motivation. You want to establish their investment, and in turn the player’s investment, in the events of the game. And there are some really obvious staples – just your […]

Half-Life 2: Religion in Ravenholm

So a couple weeks back we talked about the depiction of science in Half-Life 2. We talked about how the game centers scientists and the scientific inquiry, and how the bad guy is essentially a scientist who obscures the truth. This week I want to come at things from the opposite angle, and consider how […]

Furi: What’s The Good Ending?

Furi is a 2016 game created by The Game Bakers, a French company working out of Montpellier. It’s essentially ten boss fights in a row, Shadow of the Colossus style. Or maybe eleven boss fights, if you have the DLC. Or maybe nine boss fights, depending on the ending you choose. Or – let’s start […]

Half-Life 2: Speaking of Science

Half-Life 2 is a game that’s invested in and wrapped around the language and mission of science. It offers puzzles based on physics principles like gravity or weight, and the game’s hero has a PhD in theoretical physics. However, looking back from the perspective of 2021, the series feels most like a celebration of the […]


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