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.

Ryse Son of Rome: On Civilization

There’s a special place in my heart for 6 / 10 game narratives that hit all their major beats. When a game has a story that’s unambitious, pretty derivative, something you could reconstruct entirely from the pieces of other stories – but that still manages to hit all its beats – to me, that’s just […]

Arkham Knight: The Hierarchy of Villains

We’re familiar with the idea that the different major villains in the Batman universe reflect different aspects of Batman’s personality. Two-Face shows how the quest for justice can become a quest for vengeance; the Penguin reflects a twisted version of Bruce Wayne’s wealth; Mr Freeze his research and scientific skills. The Joker, depending on the […]

Maneater: On Junk Feminism

Maneater is a 2020 shark attack game from Tripwire Interactive, the team behind Killing Floor and Red Orchestra 2. It’s not great. Let’s just say that up front – it’s very much a six out of ten. I don’t normally comment on the quality of a game as a whole – most of the time […]

Horizon Zero Dawn: Our Parents Are Dead

If we had to articulate the difference between post-apocalyptic fiction and dystopian fiction, we might say that post-apocalyptic fiction is about how everything is fucked, in a catastrophic end-of-the-world collapse-of-civilization kinda way, while dystopian fiction is about how everything is just as fucked but carries on regardless. In one sense, the perception that we’re fucked […]

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 […]

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