Blog Blog Post

Spell of Content Creation

Instructions: An old and powerful spell. Chant while stirring the digital pot. Modify only with extreme care.

Dear Computer,

Please generate –

an Open World Survival Crafting Game,


Masterpiece Mechanics


Thrilling Gameplay,

and a Cozy Hub.

Let it have

Satisfying Guns

like Doom Eternal,

and powerful upgrade mechanics,

like Vampire Survivors,

but with combat like Dark Souls.

Let it look Gorgeous,

in the style of


but more Realistic.

Let it have

Epic Scale

and a

Heartwrenching, Masterpiece story

with a

Sympathetic Villain


Flawed Hot Female Protagonist.

Tell it with Cutcenes that are cool,

in the style of Resident Evil 4,

with writing

like Bioshock Infinite.


make it Big.

So that it takes

100 hours

to finish.

And make the first 2 hours

Enticing and Action-Packed.

And please put it on Steam,

with Gifs

and Tags


funny achievements.

Market it

Cheap and Effectively

on Tiktok, Reddit, and Twitter.


Blog Blog Post

Ecology Review – Elden Ring

Coming off my Halo: Infinite review (where I applied a serious eco-critical lens1 to a big game because I thought it would be funny), I’ve now done the same for Elden Ring, which has proven more difficult to talk about cohesively. Its merits go a lot further in regards to complex symbolism and literary ambition (even in world construction and micro-biomes), but it fails to enliven its ecology in similar ways that most videogames fall prey to.

So what is it saying about the natural world? Can its failures be pinned on the RPG genre? Are there any dense forests that take more than a minute to walk through? Let’s find out together.

Blog Blog Post

Ecology Review – Halo Infinite

After many years, a new installation of Halo has come upon the world, drawing in a high level of my curiosity for reasons I do not yet understand. As a game where the multiplayer and the shooter-ing are oft-examined, I and probably many other gamers have been waiting with bated breath for the answer to only one question, all this time, as it impended: how would 343 craft Halo’s classic boreal ecosystems using contemporary quality standards and rendering techniques?

There will not be spoilers of any kind in this review, but I have elected to undertake this assignment extremely seriously and with a fresh set of high standards, resulting in an exhaustive examination of the game’s entire map to ruin both mine and your own enjoyment of its painfully well-rendered environments. Let’s get at it.

Blog Blog Post

Mac and Cheese Horror

There is something quietly dreadful about mac and cheese.

Blog Blog Post

Growth and Regrowth (2-Year Dev Retro)

Two years ago I started making a videogame.

Before starting my 7th semester of college, I prepared to talk with my professor about a free-form project for CIS 690 – a tech elective where you pitch, perform, and reflect on whatever you want. It was about 1 hour before I walked out of my neighboring apartment onto the campus to talk with him that I deemed the moment salient to choose what the subject of my project would be. I had some ideas written down, picked one for a few good reasons, and continue to this day working on that project at a healthy and generous pace.

The game – now called Disharmony – has changed a lot since then, as I would imagine most do from inception to production. But through planning, prototyping, reading, painting, playing, thinking, and doing nothing at all, it has taken on a different meaning entirely while retaining the shape I thought of on that day. It’s these forces of change and holding onto the central shape that I want to talk about, even only partway through this journey, since the act of finding what’s worth keeping in an oddly-growing game is the never-ending challenge of the craft.

(featured painting is Premonition by Remedios Varo)

Blog Blog Post

“Why Do We Need More Systemic Games?” Part 4 – Diverse Games

Systemic games can split the field wide open. Wild diversity must be harnessed to drive the potential of the medium forwards and pull it out of its niche.

Blog Blog Post

“Why Do We Need More Systemic Games?” Part 3 – Living Games

Games lack life. They are inherently static.

Blog Blog Post

“Why Do We Need More Systemic Games?” Part 2 – Cohesive Games

“A system is made of parts that interact to form a purposeful whole.” – Mike Sellers

A systemic game is made of parts that interact to form a purposeful whole.

Blog Blog Post

“Why Do We Need More Systemic Games?” Part 1 – An Introduction

(Author’s note: I wrote this in college, so please forgive the air of academia. The royal “we” is generally aimed at anyone who makes games, but particularly aims itself at stagnant, “conventional” games from high-budget productions (the likes of which which I probably imagined myself working for in the then-cloudy future). I had spent a lot of time making games, however, and I think the theory stands up, though it’s likely I’ll revisit this more fluidly and extensively (and succinctly) some day. Thanks for reading.)

Narrative is a space.

This is not unique to games. Books divide their pages to deliver their contexts and thoughts and actions; a canvas can be carved and pushed with color or shape to create forms; the audio-visual harmony of a film weaves continuity by captured associations. Every medium has a way of engaging us – pulling us into another perspective and leaving us dizzy when the curtain falls or the credits roll or the last page is turned. When we leave this space, we sit back and remember there was a world around us; we struggle to synthesize the space of our fresh experience with the everyday mundanity of the world around us. Meaning is created. We comment about novelty or production values of the space. Sometimes we can only sit back and remember our journey.

The virtual space of video games is a complicated space indeed. It exists in the hardware of a computer, the scripts of a software executable, the colors and sounds from a screen – and, of course, in the imagination or understanding of a player’s mind. And the medium at large has no consensus on what to do with it. Pages and web-pages of theory can come out every year – never penetrating some creators while deeply influencing others. Textbooks can be written about technical nuances that never touch the all important je ne sais quoi of what that tech is meant to make; a new designer might dream up their masterpiece that can never be feasible. It’s a mess – an explosion – the wild west – a liberating new sphere. The minds and perspectives trying to leverage this space have come to countless results in the last fifty years.

So why do we need systemic games? What can their depths of interaction do for a medium that’s gotten by on looking good and being fun? What can their mutability and complexity offer us in a world of trade-show sizzle-reels and indie developers with shoe-string budgets? What can their unique experiences and nuanced possibilities offer us in an industry driven mostly by investor-funded products aimed at men from 18 to 35?

What can making games with this kind of thinking do that games can’t do already?

Systemic games can change the landscape. They can structure our experiences, give life to our games, and leverage the space in a way that’s unique to the virtuality. They can give us a vocabulary the tools as creators to draw in more people and tell more nuanced stories. Systemic games can define the medium.

Blog Blog Post

The 2019 Year in Review

I feel that 2019 has been a big year for me.

There are other cliche ways to begin a year in review, but that one is the most appropriate. The last year has been an odyssey of self-discovery, new experiences, and time management; 2019 carried me from a skilled, broke college student finding his way to a skilled, young adult with finances and a partner. I’ll probably always be finding my way.

I found art in drawing, refined in painting – and through it, myself – displayed in dazzling color and through curious, thoughtful aesthetic works that challenge me to think and learn in whole new ways.

I found a love of nature I had previously only appreciated at a distance – a love for atavistic rituals and natural lifestyles, ecology and hidden natural systems, and for trees, plants, and the multitude of growing things that make up our world (particularly mushrooms – and our friends, the whales).

And, indeed, I found love in Bailey – my loving partner – and all the small moments, activities, nuances of human experience, and breath of emotions, cognition, and sensations, that come with committing to another person.

There are countless things I found in 2019 that transformed me, making this review more personal than the last one.

It happens to be also the only thing I’ve written since the last one – so I suppose I was out for catching up on a lot from the start.

I’ll start with the beginning of the year.