Video games are in an exciting position. This brand new baby medium, still in its infancy, is also the biggest media industry on the planet, boasting well over $150 billion in revenue each year.
Here, we look at how games tell stories – from multi-million dollar triple-A titles down to solo indie shit.
Check out some of the quick-start topics below, or scroll down for the full video game feed – updates every second Wednesday.
Terror Billy vs the Nazis
Strategy, shooter, or something in between
I feel like a lot of my opinions about games are built around the fact that I don’t like SimCity. I don’t enjoy the flat, affectless terrain; I don’t like being given a field and being told to go build something. I feel similarly about Cities: Skylines – all those sandbox creation games, really. I […]
I mentioned back in April that I’ve been enjoying the Warhammer 40K novels. I’ve been reading the Horus Heresy – it’s a series with over 50 titles, exploring how Horus Lupercal, favoured son of the Emperor of Mankind, turned against his father and started an intergalactic civil war. You’ve got the loyalist Space Marines, who […]
H. P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth is a story about the horrors of interracial breeding. It’s about some people in a small town in America who start breeding with fish-people and end up worshipping the Old Ones, as so often happens. The whole thing is clearly a metaphor for Lovecraft’s disgust at interracial relationships […]
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 […]
Siege Survival: Gloria Victis is a 2021 survival and base-building game from Black Eye Games. Set in the universe of Gloria Victis, an online medieval MMORPG from 2016, Siege Survival follows the citizens of Edring as they are besieged by a foreign army. The game has you sneak out into the city and scavenge resources, […]
I think it’s relatively passe now to say I don’t think much of Black Mirror. Even so, it’s hard to find fault with the first couple episodes. The pig episode was a bombshell entrance into the world, and the second episode, ‘Fifteen Million Merits’, has a lot to say about the way protest is co-opted […]
2009’s Echo Bazaar was where I first fell in love with video games. It’s a text-based RPG that you play in your browser – I think now it’s titled Fallen London. The game is set in an underground London (underground because it was stolen by bats); the whole thing is drenched in Victorian Gothic, in […]
I’ve been on a bit of a board game bender this year. I touched on this implicitly back in March, when we were talking about Magic: The Gathering (Constructing the Player in MtG), but – for a few years now I’ve been playing MTG Arena, which is a digital version of Magic, and then I […]
One of (I think) the frontiers of video games or digital fiction is the representation of sex and sexuality. We have this really interesting space where – you know, gaming is still stereotypically gendered as a male activity (even though women make up around half of the gaming community), and that obviously bleeds through into […]
This past week I’ve been reading Richard McGuire’s Here. It’s a 2014 comic about all the different events that happen in this one specific room throughout history. And it kinda intersperses different scenes, such that a moment from 1912 might have an overlay from 1970, taking these events from across time and putting them next […]
There’s a block of text that serves as the boilerplate context for novels set in the fictional universe of Warhammer 40K. It reads as follows. It is the 41st Millennium. For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor of Mankind has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Earth. He is the master of mankind […]
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 […]
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