A close view of Rosella and Genesta standing together on a beach. They look very similar, except for Genesta's wings. Text reads: "Rosella looks awestruck at the fairy. She is stunningly beautiful! But still there is a certain sadness to her."

Line on Sierra: King’s Quest IV, Part I

March 23, 2015 / 0 comments

After another Space Quest and a highly unfortunate Police Quest, it’s finally time to return to the flagship series with King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella. It represents the biggest leap in graphical quality in the series so far, as well as a few other innovations I’ll get to later. For now, behold the glory of 320×200 resolution! It also represents…

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Extreme close-up of a Kodak slide projector.

Reading Mad Men: “The Wheel” and The Wheel of Fortune

February 27, 2015 / 1 comment

PETE’S FATHER-IN-LAW: Nixon didn’t stand a chance. The Browns trounced [Washington], 31-10. The result of that last home game has correctly predicted the last six elections. PETE: I wish someone would have told me that. [both laugh] PETE: …of course, it’s really a 50/50 chance of being right. The climax of “The Wheel” is an especially…

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Why Would You Call Someone a Sociopath?

January 26, 2015 / 0 comments

[TW: ableist speech] What’s the purpose of calling people sociopaths? Why use that word, in particular, versus any of the alternatives available to you in a heated argument? For example, you could use a typical curse word like asshole, which also implies that the target doesn’t care about people’s feelings. But cursing makes the speaker seem…

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This Is How We Forget History

January 5, 2015 / 1 comment

I’m usually patient with new TV shows. I’m a Fringe fan, after all: sometimes it takes a few episodes or seasons for a show to find its legs. So like, I was skeptical about AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, but willing to give it a chance. It’s set in 1983 and about the growth of…

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First person camera. A corner of a room covered in rich but peeling wallpaper in dark red and gold. A cloudy oval mirror with an ornate gold frame is on the wall. There is a pile of crumpled yellow wallpaper on the floor. The floor is bare wood.

MIXTAPE: Burn It All Down

September 19, 2014 / 0 comments

rat chaos (2012) j chastain So here’s how I assemble these mixtapes. I play short games all the time. If I notice several games with a similar theme, I throw the titles into an Evernote page and record the number of games. As I play more games that have that theme, e.g., games in which the game world falls…

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The control room. The gray-suited man lies face down by his chair. Roger lies in a mangled heap under the staircase leading up from the platform. Game text: "Well, Line, you've found one more way to snatch humiliation from the jaws of heroism."

Line on Sierra: Space Quest II

August 5, 2014 / 1 comment

After a soul-sucking experience as a fussy cop who can’t drive, Line on Sierra returns to actual adventures in Space Quest II: Vohaul’s Revenge! Since this is a Space Quest game, “adventure” means dying over and over in ludicrous ways. Thanks to advances in technology, I was able to make this a much more embarrassing experience than before. The game…

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FRUIT MYSTERY screenshot. Background is a neon, glitchy-looking image collage. The only legible picture is of a smiling man in a blue polo shirt. A huge red X is drawn over the collage.

MIXTAPE: You Lose for Playing

June 17, 2014 / 1 comment

Execution, Jesse Venbrux (2008) Over the years, I’ve played or read about a lot of games that push the player to feel bad or conflicted about doing the things the game allows. The idea fascinated me when I first played Bioshock; by the time I watched my boyfriend play Spec Ops: The Line I had already tired of it. In between I played Execution, a game which presents the “you…

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A scene from Mad Men. Anna Draper, a blonde white woman in her thirties, sits on a couch in a pink bathrobe. She rests her chin in her hand as she looks down at tarot cards laid out on a coffee table.

Reading Mad Men: Introduction

April 16, 2014 / 2 comments

I’ve been wanting for some time to start writing about how I watch Mad Men. I liked the show well enough when I started watching it, but I didn’t love it. At that point, the emerging style of contemporary TV drama reminded me a bit of Oscarbait: respectable, polished, and unchallenging. But I enjoyed the difficulty of the…

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Illustration of the facial muscles from Gray's Anatomy

The Lump in My Throat

March 7, 2014 / 4 comments

It starts up front. I push my tongue up slightly against the roof of my mouth and flare my nostrils a little, then draw the flaring motion upward to sort of spread out the muscles around my sinuses. I’m surprised every time by how much more easily I can breathe. The next step is a…

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The police station briefing room. Cops are standing at four tables. In the front of the room, the captain walks up to a podium. Behind him the blackboard reads: DRUG TRAFFIC MUST STOP!

Line on Sierra: Police Quest I

February 8, 2014 / 7 comments

I’m not going to beat around the bush here. I’ve played a lot of games over the past few years. A lot of them were hard to get through for various reasons. But I am confident in saying that Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel is the single most agonizing game I have forced myself…

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