Hello! On this page I curate a handful of links to work that is important to me right now, some of it my own and some from other people. This is not a weekly, daily, or hourly publication; it is not a publication at all. If you want to you can use it to connect with other human beings and the work they do!
2. The Ghosts of Bioshock
In the year 2013 a now-defunct company called Irrational Games published a videogame called Bioshock Infinite. I played the thing on launch day; I then started writing about it, and writing, and writing, and then gave up for a while.
I picked it up off and on over the intervening time, frustrated by the huge scope and complexity of the subject matter. I finished it on the two year anniversary of Infinite’s release, and published it here on my blog.
This is a story about The Wounded Knee Massacre, The Boxer Rebellion, The Statue of Liberty and the nature of conquest. It’s about historical revisionism, cultural appropriation, xenophobia and the birthplace of white guilt. It’s about people who thought they could stop bullets with magic, and people who thought no one could stop their bullets. It’s about corpses, cameras and a cavalcade of ugly men.
Last, and least, it’s about 1870s doom guy Booker DeWitt.
The Ghosts of Bioshock (TRIGGER WARNING for graphic violence!)
3. A.L.T. & The DOOM MIXTAPES
Musician, critic, artist and game maker Liz Ryerson recently persuaded me to play through something called A.L.T.: a WAD (that is: a pack of 32 original levels) for 1993’s Doom.
A.L.T. presents a sort of radical alternative future for shooter games: a future that built on Doom’s sprawling unreal geographies, rather than its compulsion-inducing combat mechanics. The point is not to be ‘a bunch more cool Doom levels’, as we’ve been trained to expect from the mod scene. The point is to be something else entirely: something strange and tragic, rather more like a David Lynch story than a videogame expansion pack.
Liz made a whole series of commentary videos about this stuff called the DOOM MIXTAPES, which you can watch (for free!) on YouTube. If you’re lucky, she might just persuade you to try A.L.T. as well.
4. Kafka In The Friend Zone
Last year I made a doomed foray into the world of interactive fiction with In The Friend Zone: a Twine game depicting my protaginist’s doomed foray into a world of obsession, self-loathing and false belief. I had intended, at the outset, for the work to be kafkaesque; I did not learn until later that the game I made bears spooky resemblance to Kafka’s most famous novel. I wrote about it here.
Last August I began work on a hypertext criticism project called Detritus, which attempts to create a loving home for the all the games crit I’ve been doing over the past year and a bit. I began it because I’m tired of struggling to remain visible in a world of ‘content aggregators’ who treat my work largely as a commodity and, like all ‘content’ machines, do their very best to erase the people supplying the fuel. I wanted something permanent that didn’t come with an expiry date the way our Tweets and blog posts do; as such, I made a Twine-like interactive thing for people to explore rather than consume. Enter DETRITUS