Lolotte's throne room, set up for a wedding. One of the winged guards officiates and others line the walls. Rosella is passed out on the floor in a black gown. Edgar, dressed fancy, stares down at her in surprise.

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

April 6, 2015 / 1 comment

Last time in King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella, I made it through the long, inventory-stuffing introduction sequence and out of the dreaded whale’s mouth. Now I’m ready to defeat evil and bring hope to the forces of good and WOW HANG ON LET ME EXPLAIN See we’re friends now! It’s cool! Everything’s cool! They’re…

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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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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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Game Change: Minigames and Narrative Arcs

March 13, 2013 / 2 comments

Often, experimental games differ from longer games by exploring a single idea in depth. Many well known art games, from Every Day the Same Dream to QWOP, use a limited set of verbs and give the player just enough time to feel their way around them. A subgenre of experimental games takes the opposite approach:…

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Morrigan stands in a castle room, fire-lit. There is a doorway behind her

Capricious Nature

August 12, 2012 / 3 comments

The Futile Rebellions of Fereldan Do you accept the role given to you, or do you try to escape it? Even when you try, can you escape the way your role shaped you? The question is salient for a videogame character stumbling into a typical save-the-world story. It’s also a question that lies at the…

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Naoto from Persona 4. Indigo hair, pale skin, and a sharp navy coat and hat.

Playing Hard to Get

July 29, 2012 / 2 comments

I have not been fully honest with you. I’ve put off addressing an elephant in the room, and it’s got to do with objectification. In my last post, I talked about the ways that different difficulty types can express personality. I gave these types cute little titles, like A Hard Read or High Maintenance. Of course,…

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