Chip Chat #3: Becoming the Elden Lord (of Snacks)

Chip Chat #3: Becoming the Elden Lord (of Snacks)

Welcome to Chip Chat, a column where I eat as many novelty chip* flavors as humanly possible, then justify it by reviewing the chips and pairing them with a game I think they’re particularly suited for, like a garbage sommelier who specializes in junk food instead of wine. This is, I insist, not a thinly veiled excuse to buy novelty chip flavors—but if it was, that sure would be convenient, now wouldn’t it.

*That’s crisps, for the British readers among us.

(more…)

The Visceral Voyeurism of Horror Playthroughs and Silent Hill

The Visceral Voyeurism of Horror Playthroughs and Silent Hill

While having terrible nerve pain in my neck and back in October, I was stuck for a whole week sitting up on bedrest. This was when I picked up watching playthroughs of the Silent Hill series. It was Halloween season after all, so what better time to visit a series I had been meaning to consume since I was a teenager? The only exposure I’d had to the series was the occasional Pyramid Head and Bubble Nurse cosplayers wandering the hallways of various anime conventions, obligatory fanart, and casual mentions of the movies, most of which were received by fans with mixed reactions. I knew I had my hands full when deciding to visit the story and lore of Silent Hill, a series with eight main titles and several spinoffs, but I started with the one that was and still is the most highly praised of them all: Silent Hill 2. (more…)

Realism, Catharsis, and Why Pyre Works

Realism, Catharsis, and Why Pyre Works

This piece contains spoilers for Pyre throughout.

In Pyre, Supergiant Games’ 2017 sports sim, players take the role of a faceless and nameless “Reader,” a character who is able to read both the stars and the written word. Having been convicted of some loosely defined crime, the Reader is exiled from the world above and forced to wander the wastelands. Over the course of the game, my Reader found themself committing to bigger and bigger causes: to friendship with the three weirdos who ultimately recruit them, to the sports team they form in an effort to escape exile, and, ultimately, to revolution. In 2021, this revolution felt peculiarly prescient—not because it represented reality, but because it represented what it’s easy to want reality to be. (more…)

Diary of a Hardline Shep, Part 4: Imperialism but Make It Space

Diary of a Hardline Shep, Part 4: Imperialism but Make It Space

The dawning horror that I’ve doomed a galaxy is the defining feature of my Mass Effect experience.

Last time on Diary of a Hardline Shep, I covered Shepard’s super-judicial might and how it came at the cost of politically weaker species’ self-determination. Here at the end, only humanity is safe. And it all feels remarkably familiar. (more…)

Chip Chat #2: Hot Chips, Hotter Game

Chip Chat #2: Hot Chips, Hotter Game

Welcome to Chip Chat, a column where I eat as many novelty chip* flavors as humanly possible, then justify it by reviewing the chips and pairing them with a game I think they’re particularly suited for, like a garbage sommelier who specializes in junk food instead of wine. This is, I insist, not a thinly veiled excuse to buy novelty chip flavors—but if it was, that sure would be convenient, now wouldn’t it.

*That’s crisps, for the British readers among us.

(more…)

Greenlight This, You Cowards: Kids Deserve A D20 Dames Comic

Greenlight This, You Cowards: Kids Deserve A D20 Dames Comic

It feels very special to follow a story to its conclusion. I wasn’t an original listener of the D20 Dames podcast, but I’ve been with this story long enough that reaching the end is both emotional—and joyful! D20 Dames is full of laughter and light. The players constantly pause to respect or bemoan their terrible puns, even awarding each other inspiration for the best and worst bits of wordplay. Kat Kruger, the DM, often surprises her players by having her NPCs try to understand an offhand joke within the context of the world, resulting in the invention of delicacies such as bagels and “gluten free” bread. Each of the players and the DM bring a joy and lightness to the story even when it touches on dark themes, and it’s that overarching sense of joy that would make D20 Dames a perfect all-ages comic.

(more…)