Front Page (December 2017)

For November, I ran my second attempt at a Doom speedmap project. The result was a Doom II megaWAD called UnNecessary! We’re still working on playtesting and sanding down the rough edges, but you can play a 99% complete version here. The Ascendancy LP is back. Yes, that one I started almost two years ago. And this time I’m gonna finish it! This blog turned 5 in October and I turned 30 a month later. For the 30 days in between, we celebrated with retrospectives on the games that raised me. Every day I posted a new game from a new year, all

Game-Developed, Final Thoughts

Well, I’ve taken a couple weeks since that last post to sit back and recharge my batteries, to reflect on all the things I’ve written here and take in the big picture, and to… you know, actually celebrate having just turned 30, which is how all this started. But here I am, back again, because no essay is complete without a conclusion. You might have noticed a theme throughout these retrospectives, though to be totally real with you it’s not one I knew would emerge so strongly until I sat down and actually wrote them. That theme is creation. Videogames,

30 Games That Made Me Who I Am: 2016

Here we are at the end, my friends. Last year’s game was something of a downer, but you know what they say: it’s always darkest before the dawn. And the dawn that’s about to break — it’s a bright one. You know how much I love Metroid despite being less than thrilled with the most recent entries, and that for a long time the series has sat dormant with the ugly stain of Other M as the last official game to its name. Well, while Nintendo has been dropping the occasional terrible Metroid game or ignoring the series for long periods of time, fans

30 Games That Made Me Who I Am: 2015

I’ll be the first to admit that this one is a bit of a cheat. I wracked my brain longer about 2015 than any other year on this list. I can’t say any of the handful of games I’ve played from 2015 have really changed my life — and 2015 is so recent, it’s hard for anything to have had the time to change my life. So here I was, skimming lists of games released in 2015, just in case I’d forgotten something, and that’s where I found it: StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. I had no idea Legacy of the Void had

30 Games That Made Me Who I Am: 2014

Nine years after they made F.E.A.R., a sizeable contingent of the devs from that team released a little indie title called Betrayer, and it’s the best horror shooter nobody’s ever heard of. I have incredibly vivid memories of the time Betrayer came into my life, where I played it, and most importantly, who I played it with. It was my last year of college when I stumbled upon this gem of a game. I was an RA on the freshman floor of a UMass Lowell dorm (sorry, sorry — a residence hall), and my door was open all the time

30 Games That Made Me Who I Am: 2013

Like Deus Ex: Human Revolution, this is another game that’s on this list primarily because it exemplifies and perfects one of my favorite genres. In this case, it’s turn-based, squad tactics games — and the XCOM series is the best out there. You don’t see too many of these, especially back in the years before XCOM: Enemy Unknown returned the genre to life from the brink of death. There was the little-known Silent Storm series, which is fantastic if a little unpolished, but aside from those I can’t even think of any other examples in the 21st century. Maybe the

30 Games That Made Me Who I Am: 2012

Remember when I talked about games often saying something, even if the creator doesn’t mean to? Well, Spec Ops: The Line is not an example of that. The team that put this game together wanted to say something, and Jesus did they ever say it. On the surface, The Line presents itself as your run of the mill modern military shooter, but it’s not. It’s a complete upending of expectations, an indictment of the genre, and it twists every trope that goes with it. Not being much of a fan of that genre in the first place, I can’t say

30 Games That Made Me Who I Am: 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a perfect game. I would even go so far as to say it’s better than the original Deus Ex. Please send your hate mail to It’s not worth getting into a DX vs. DX:HR debate now or ever, and it doesn’t really matter for my purposes here. Point is that the Deus Ex formula was fantastic when it was in the first game, and it remains fantastic in the newer ones. I’m talking about the sort of choose-your-own adventure, branching-but-interwoven structure, where you follow a linear story but can make a bunch of choices that