Video Game Review: The Last of Us Part II

When the original game, The Last of Us debuted on the PS3 back in 2013, no one was ready for it. Naughty Dog had initially established itself as a developer of fun cartoony action games like Crash Bandicoot, or Jax & Daxter. Then they moved onto swashbuckling, action games like the Uncharted series. All of these became hits and established Naughty Dog as the go-to studio for fun escapism.

Then The Last of Us came out.

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Video Game Review: Death Stranding

Wow, it’s been a while since I did one of these things, but here we go.

I’m a fan of Hideo Kojima. Have been ever since the first Metal Gear Solid on the PS1 back in 1998. Holy crap, has it really been 21 years!? So the release of a new Kojima game is always something of an event in my gaming life. Kojima is one of those game developers who easily slides into the “auteur” category. There’s never any chance of mistaking a Kojima game for anyone else’s. He has his motifs, the rambling philosophy, the extended cutscenes, the unexpected gamey playfulness at inappropriate moments. And he brought all that to his first, unfettered, Konami-Ain’t-Holding-Me-Back-Anymore game, Death Stranding. This game is divisive as hell, but I won’t keep anyone in suspense; I dug it. Continue reading →

Inspiration From Anywhere Is Valid

For a long time, I felt embarrassed by the things that inspired me as a writer.

I mean, for most people, the decision to be a writer means putting in the work. Looking at what has come before. It means studying the masters of the craft, going back over your Shakespeare, your Milton, your Joyce, and your Hemingway. If you’re slumming it in the ghetto of genre fiction, then, begrudgingly, some will acknowledge the necessity of referring to the masters. In the case of science fiction and fantasy, your Tolkien, Asimov, Le Guin and maybe some newer names like Gibson and Jemisin. Continue reading →