Twine Weeky: Bower of Blood and Thorns

Bower of Blood and Thorns is an interesting game that often feels like a love song written by the likes of Tolkien or Martin. The writing is whimsical with a flourish for the dramatic, most noticeable when making reference to the battles that have taken place. However, there is much more here than just a fantasy piece about a special relationship. This is a tale of everything and nothing, beginning and end, intimacy and betrayal. Continue reading


Windows 10 Gaming is a Joke

Three weeks ago, Microsoft hosted a sale on their Windows Store promoting Windows 10. They had a slew of apps and games priced down to $.10. I wasn’t interested in much but they had Hydro Thunder Hurricane and ilomilo+, both of which were games I had been interested in but never owned an Xbox 360. As hesitant as I was to make a Microsoft account, make a Live account, and buy into another ecosystem I eventually took the plunge. After all, even if the whole thing was a bust I would only be out two dimes. I have since completed both games and have come away with some very mixed feelings about my experience. Continue reading

Twine Weekly: Fibromyalgia Simulator

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I started Xandir’s Fibromyalgia Simulator. I had never heard of this chronic disorder beforehand and the word “simulator” in game titles has increasingly been used ironically. I went in with an open mind and was surprised to emerge better educated about a disorder that affects millions of people. Continue reading

Mad Max: The Dangers of Safe Game Design

I am going to start off by saying, I have never seen a single Mad Max movie. In fact, my only knowledge about the movies is that they take place in a post apocalyptic wasteland. With that said, I went into this game with an open mind and zero expectations. I came away from Mad Max with utter disappointment, feeling as though I had been duped into playing a cobbled together mish-mash of half baked mechanics stolen straight from other games. Every bit of my experience was mediocre and disjointed. Continue reading

Twine Weekly: Ghosts Are Good Hosts

I’m a little late for a spooky edition of Twine Weekly but I’m going to do one anyways. Ghosts Are Good Hosts deals with manipulation through conversation, self preservation, and well…ghosts. Having been invited to an reunion dinner, you embark to the Chateau de Carnelle just outside of Paris. Upon arriving, however, there is only one other person, Annabelle, whom you do not know. Then the ghosts appear and it grows more evident that you are the meal for this dinner. Continue reading

Twine Weekly: Elsewhere

Every once in awhile I come across a game that allows me to view genres or engines in a new light or from a different perspective. Stacey Mason’s Elsewhere is one of those games. As an engine, Twine is versatile and can be heavily customized with use of CSS and Javascript.  Despite its adaptability I had never really pictured it capable of doing anything that didn’t allow the player to take their time. The majority of Twine games play like “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, where text is displayed and the game waits for the user input, and this is what I’ve come to expect of it as an engine limitation. Elsewhere showcases just how limitless Twine really is. Continue reading

AltGames Weekly: BasketBelle

In 2012 I went a little overboard with all of the indie bundles that were popping up after the success of Humble Bundle and ended up accumulating a vast amount of DRM-free games that I have never installed. After almost three years I am finally playing these games that I have purchased. While most have been passable — and some are outright unplayable — some have been really well done. BasketBelle is definitely on the better end of that spectrum and is quite memorable due to both the mechanics and the narrative. Continue reading