Oh, that gray-lit corner office. How many times did I pace that narrow rectangle of floor, peering at the unyielding bric-a-brac of a lonely life, looking for a shred of writing, a tattered photograph, any clue of what was or would soon come? How many times did I round the desk to try that second door, hoping to see that flash of X-marked blue that meant “open”? And how many times, seeing nothing but gray and white, did I finally cross that stretch to the front door, and pass through it once again? How many times did I return? (more…)
For me, paintings and other images are a visual cue to a longer narrative. They’re a kick to the imagination, not an end unto themselves. When I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art the other week, I couldn’t help but see other stories in the paintings. In fact, I saw videogames everywhere I looked.
Some of these paintings directly influenced game developers. Others are just uncanny coincidence. (more…)
On January 1, 1984, defenders of freedom worldwide breathed a collective sigh of relief when the morning sun dawned on a world mercifully devoid of Thought Police, Ministries of Love and Two Minutes Hates. Didn’t that sunrise mean we had avoided the grim prophecies in George Orwell’s 1984, that his prophetic novel was proven wrong?
But 1984 was not the year to relax our vigil against the Communist threat. Even 29 years later, in 2013, when the Soviet Union is a memory and Russia allied with the West – even now, the Soviet threat is not without weapons. No, I’m not talking about the atomic bomb – I’m not even talking about Hollywood. No, Communism’s deadliest weapon is a computer program, a seemingly innocuous little game. What it lacks in explosive yield or razzle-dazzle it makes up for in soul-sucking, time-wasting, all-pervasive brain death.
I am, of course, referring to Tetris. (more…)
Here at Unwinnable, we’re always trying to bring you unique and fresh games writing. But we also know that we’re not the only ones out there with the same goals in mind, and we love hearing about approaches we’d never have even considered. That’s why we’re all about Sneaky Bastards, an Australia-based website devoted to all things stealth that wants to change the way we read and write about games. (more…)
Today’s kids probably won’t remember whether they first played Angry Birds on their parents’ smartphones in the grocery line or Halo on their older cousins’ XBox, but I’m just old enough to remember a time before the ubiquity of gaming consoles and just young enough to have never played on a Nintendo 64 without feeling all retro about it. I remember my first videogame. And I remember when my love of gaming first started. Funny thing is, there were a few years between the two. (more…)
I can’t even remember the first time I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, or even the first time I read its sequel, Chamber of Secrets. My copy must have been in the initial printing, though, because there’s an extra “r” in the word “Professor” on the bottom of page 283. I do remember getting the third Harry Potter book, The Prisoner of Azkaban, for Christmas in third grade and reading it by the fireplace that evening.
Two years later, my fifth grade teacher caught me “covertly” reading the fourth book under my desk in class. Let me say that again – I was trying to hide a 734-page hardcover beneath a kiddie desk. Luckily, my teacher thought it was hysterical. My Hogwarts letter didn’t come that summer, but I didn’t lose faith, and the fifth book was my favorite hidey-hole during the emotional roller coaster of middle school. (more…)
I don’t like endings. I’m the kind of person who stays in the theater until the end of the credits, who re-reads books over and over and over again, who roams pointlessly through the rescued kingdoms of my videogame worlds. To me, when the screen finally goes black, or the last sentence ends, or the dreaded “Game Over” looms before my eyes, it feels like rejection – like the director, author, developer had revoked my passport to this other world. The curtain, so briefly pulled away, had been closed again, and once Virgil said “the end,” I was no longer allowed inside. (more…)