Notes on Cho-Am: The Myth of Closure

[TW: discussion of genocidal violence, exploitation] My body is nearly featureless and glowing like a light bulb. I think I’m tall; I’m definitely bald. My expression is fixedly placid, a little dreamy. I’m not sure if I’m some kind of ghost, but it feels ephemeral. Nothing feels particularly solid or permanent. The camera is generally […]

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Notes on CUBEISM: Shapes of Grey

CUBEISM is a browser-based Unity game by Pat Stefaniak (a.k.a Sutopat) consisting of, as the itch.io page describes it, one cube and multiple cameras. It loads to a low thrumming drone, like the hum of a cathode ray tube, while in fact two grey cubes of equal size appear projected on a black background. Using […]


Guest Post: Gradius III and Impossible Difficulty as an Avant-Garde Texture

By LeeRoy Lewin This latest guest post comes to us from game developer LeeRoy Lewin. Lewin is a member of  Washington-based dev collective VEXTRO and a regular contributor to JRPGs Are Dead. You can play his poem-game, Into the Mouth of Silence, on itch.io, and follow him at @wasnotwhynot. When difficulty in videogames is considered, it’s usually in terms […]

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i want to make games for people who read

(It’s been awhile since I posted a Twine poem, but I was recently inspired by a certain quote on the matter of making certain kinds of games for certain kinds of people. )


Notes on An Evening of Modern Dance: Deliberate Gestures

Joseph Parker’s An Evening of Modern Dance presents itself, at least at first glance, with all the self-serious trappings of the real form on which it’s based. The stage before you is dark, stark, with a mise en scène that’s empty save for the dancers and the spotlights trained on them. There’s a classic red curtain and an apron, and the wall-to-wall smoothness of Unity textures make the place feel unreal, serene, and ghostly, as if carved from clay and finely sanded.

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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.

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Altered screenshot from Journey (thatgamecompany, 2012)

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.


Screenshot - Homesickened

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 […]