Whilst trundling around the internet I encountered this post; it’s an article called ‘I Was A Final Fantasy Addict’ by Rachel Sanders. And while I’m not too comfortable with using the word ‘addict’ to describe a childhood glued to JRPGs – you don’t grow out of an addiction, for one thing – I found myself sympathising. I, too was once a Final Fantasy ‘addict’, and I too am trying to reconcile my childhood spent playing JRPGs with an adult life that doesn’t leave much time for 60+ hour videogames.
It’s not that I don’t have time for games anymore – there’s an implication in Rachel’s post that she sees gaming as a waste of time, something incompatible with adult life, which I don’t agree with at all. I still enjoy spending downtime playing videogames, just like I enjoy spending an evening at the cinema or reading a book or watching a TV series.
I don’t see games as somehow ‘less adult’ than these other pastimes, but one thing I struggle with these days is games that demand to be played in hefty chunks, that require a serious time commitment from me. Continue reading
Screenwriting 101 by Film Crit Hulk
Screenwriting 101 by Film Crit Hulk is perhaps the best book on the art and science of writing that I have read. And in studying writing, and then, well, actually writing, I have read quite a few. I highly recommend that anyone thinking of writing a piece of fiction, whether a screenplay or otherwise, check it out.
Most writing books I have read tend to fall into two categories. Those in first are over-prescriptive, outlining detailed act structures and dramatic flow diagrams that your story must follow if it’s to find any success. Those in the second are overly vague, with much discussion about the theory of writing without really getting involved with what the theory of writing actually is.
Hulk’s book does a fantastic job of cutting through a lot of this crap and getting down to what the purpose of dramatic writing actually is – storytelling. It’s well worth pointing out that while the book is ostensibly focused on screenwriting, the first three-quarters of it deliver sound advice that should be of use to anyone writing any sort of narrative. Continue reading
So that Flappy Bird, then. It came and it went, a obscure anomaly on the gaming landscape. Objectively not very good but clearly loved by millions, and probably hated by almost as many millions, it’s now more than a game (in fact, it is a game no longer) – it’s become an event.
The start of 2014 will always be The Time That Flappy Bird Happened.
Of course its not the first time a mobile game has become incredibly popular almost overnight – you’ve heard of Angry Birds, right? – but it’s probably the most interesting. Continue reading
If you read one piece of videogame-related journalism this week, you should read this lovely piece by Cara Ellison.
Granted I am biased towards it as it centres around two of my favourite things, London and indie games. And while I don’t share the author’s impassioned hatred for the city, her various descriptions of the place is bang on.
“…looming in the darkness like a knobbled old fuckwit, grinding up all the talented people like Sarlacc…” Great stuff. I wish I’d thought of those words, but I didn’t, so you should stop reading my words and go and read hers instead.
(Also I was totally at that Wild Rumpus event, though I have yet to be able to spot myself in any of the photographs.)
Breathing Machine by Leigh Alexander
Before reading Leigh Alexander’s Breathing Machine, A Memoir of Computers I had forgotten that there used to be a search engine called Dogpile. I am glad to have been reminded of this. It seems important, somehow, to remember that in a distant pre-Google age we had the option of searching the internet using a service named after dog shit.
This book will feel familiar to anyone who grew up around technology in the late 80s and 90s. Does the sound of a dial-up modem still echo somewhere in the back of your brain? If so, then this book is for you. It’s an acutely personal tale of growing up on the bleeding edge of the tech revolution, but one that will likely be familiar for anyone who was young in the 90s and inclined to spend perhaps too much time in front of a glowing screen.
Leigh’s experience of growing up alongside the internet is not my experience of growing up, and it’s not yours, but it’s close enough that it’s bound to stir up some nostalgia for a time when technology seemed so unknowable, so powerful, so arcane. It’s a charming trip through a childhood defined by archaic chatroom conversations and tentative online relationships, one that I felt struck a little too close to home at times. Damn, to be that young again…
Come for the nostalgia trip, stay for all the references to things you’re bound to have forgotten that will bring a smile to your face, and take a look at somewhat stark place that tech culture has become in recent years. Then party like it’s 1999 and you’ve just launched your first Angelfire site.