Flappy Bird’s swift nosedive serves to illustrate the dangers of participatory online culture

Flappy Bird

There has to have been a time when I didn’t feel like I lived in public, but I just can’t remember it. I don’t mean only about my work (anyone who thinks writing about games isn’t subject to much scrutiny has probably forgotten how many comments on game articles they themselves have left), I mean just as a person… Continue reading

If social media can act as a social dipstick, then the industry has a lot to learn from physical games


The phrase ‘social gaming’ has become a rather ugly one, hasn’t it? Play is a social behaviour, and the industry rightly suspected long ago that social gaming would become a meaningful trend. But a bad taste lingers because of all the strange ways game companies misread our urge to share – we think of voracious… Continue reading

List articles contain a revealing truth about how game journalism works, and why it should change

Not too shabby IMO

Everyone says they hate list articles. As a format, the oft-derided ‘listsicle’ is presumed to be disingenuously abusing our attention with sequences of arbitrary preferences. People who write listsicles are just leveraging a trendy format for web traffic, say many – the writers could have found a better way to convey their ideas, but chose the… Continue reading

Is it time to put down our arms? It’s not a popular question to ask, but it’s a vital one


The adventure game Myst is now 20 years old. Yet to most people in my generation who grew up in a close relationship with games, it remains unforgettable. Its opening moments deposit the player on a beautiful, mysterious island full of ancient buildings and opaque machinery against the ambient sounds of creaking wood and lapping… Continue reading

Games can learn more lessons from theatre than merely cribbing character tips


Theatre, not journalism, is what I went to school for. When I’m asked about my background and I share that bit, often the question that follows is, ‘Then how did you get into games?’ It’s usually accompanied by a quizzical expression, as if the questioner sees a strange gap between performing on stage in elaborate… Continue reading

Why defensive videogame fanbases display the exact same sensitivity they claim to abhor


There are several elements of predictable crowd behaviour when it comes to the highly anticipated launches of huge-budget videogames. First, the game is liable to receive generally high reviews, with minor variations among outlets. Second, the outliers on that narrow range will be subject to scrutiny – the perfect score must have been ‘bought by… Continue reading

When it comes to storytelling and getting emotional responses from games, sometimes less is more

Gone Home 2

When we consider the advancement of games and the maturation of their storytelling, we always assume that more tech, more tools and more space will be what lets us refine the experience into something more mature, complex and sophisticated. Something more affecting. Whether or not the videogame is a good medium in which to tell… Continue reading