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Ways of Playing: Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-Nou

Welcome to episode 2 of Ways of Playing! Continuing my investigation into the works of Osamu Sato and OutSide Games, this episode takes a somewhat truncated look at their first ever release. Metaphysical questions abound in this atmospheric 1994 adventure game about self-actualization and spiritual growth. Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-Nou draws from an indulgent mix of aesthetic, literary and religious influences, as well as an impish (maybe even downright mean) sense of humour to bring its themes home. Considering how much there is to discover in this game, I only hope I did it justice.


Guest Post: Journey as a Buddhist Allegory

This latest guest post comes to us from writer, game developer and minister Katriel Paige. In this piece, Paige dips into her theological knowledge of Buddhism to draw meaning from her experience with Journey, and the spiritual and allegorical themes that weave their way through the gentle puzzle game. You can support Paige via Patreon and follow her on Twitter @kit_flowerstorm.

Altered screenshot from Journey (thatgamecompany, 2012)

Notes on Homesickened: Back for the Holidays

[TW: This piece contains a reference to suicide and self-harm.  Also, spoilers abound as always.]  Homesickened is a cruel and beautiful game. In it, the player must embody the fixed, first-person role of an unnamed protagonist visiting their hometown for the first time in what I interpret to be a long time. The player begins with a […]

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Be the Bob

“All it takes is just a little change of perspective and you begin to see a whole new world.” -Bob Ross, The Joy of Painting The much-reported Twitch stream marathon of legendary PBS show, The Joy of Painting, introduced the perm, dulcet tones and painting expertise of Bob Ross to a new and perhaps unlikely […]


Guest Post: How The Beginner’s Guide Harkens Back to the First Ars Poetica

By Shonté Daniels This month’s guest post comes to us from games writer and poet Shonté Daniels. Daniels is currently an editorial assistant at RH Reality Check, and her work has appeared in Motherboard, The Hooded Utilitarian, Kill Screen and elsewhere. You can follow her at Twitter @JohnnyxH.  “As is painting, so is poetry: some pieces […]

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Altgame Profiles: Kitty Horrorshow

[TW: This piece contains some discussion of death, trauma and anxiety. As ever, this profile comes with a huge spoiler warning. Please consider playing the games linked in the piece before reading on.]  Those who follow Kitty Hororrshow know her as the “Mother Crow.” Even after a cursory look at Horrorshow’s many games, one can […]


Notes on Strawberry Cubes: Pallid Hell Child

[TW: This review contains some discussion of trauma, gore, drug use and abuse.]  [Contains heavy spoilers.] I don’t think I’ve finished Loren Schmidt’s Strawberry Cubes. I’m not sure if that’s something I can even do.   I could not plainly describe a narrative for you. I can say that Strawberry Cubes is beautiful and melancholy […]

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Guest Post: Fighting for a Seat at the Table: A Rat’s Tale of Survival and Acceptance

By Veve Jaffa This latest guest post comes to us from Veve Jaffa, a “bioluminescent creator of filmic and digital worlds, queering canon one beloved cis-heteronormative narrative at a time.” You can support their work via Patreon, follow them on Twitter @joiedeveve and check out their games on itch.io. In this piece, Jaffa introduces us […]