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.

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 […]

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 […]


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