Freelancing full time means that I’ve had to move away from — or at least spend less time on — the kinds of bizarre-o criticism and essays I cut my teeth on. My professional career started at the Sewanee Review, for example, and it’s not every Gears of War piece that opens with a T. S. Eliot epigraph. Until recently, getting weird was my go-to critical lens, where “weird” means anything besides consumer-facing previews and reviews.
Instead, in an effort to flex some under-used muscle (and also feed myself) I’ve been reviewing a lot, with a brief Icelandic séjour to cover CCP’s Fanfest.
I’ve written several times for Mac|Life, for example, which attracts a more general audience than, say, Destructoid or TouchArcade. Official Xbox Magazine, for its part, has more knowledgeable readers, but they’re probably not interested in the polemics and politics of games as art, formalists vs zinesters, emergent narrative, and ludonarrative dissonance. They just want to know if they’ll have fun with Diablo III.
So, sure, the structure, word count, and expectations for the type of writing I’m doing now are pretty restricted. The upside of writing more often, though, is writing better more often. I think (or hope) I’m getting better at adapting the standard review form to my own critical concerns.
With that in mind, many — but not all — of the following pieces have been added to my portfolio:
Since the last time I posted a linkdump, I’ve started reviewing games for Mac|Life, starting with Anomaly 2. I then moved on to 7 Grand Steps and Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded, the former of which is way better than the latter. More recently, I reviewed Gone Home, Shelter, and SimCity, each of which is pretty alright.
Mac|Life also commissioned some ink on Pacific Rim and Riptide GP2 on iOS. Other iOS reviews include Badland, Limbo, and Rymdkapsel, this time for TouchArcade. I didn’t care as much as most for Limbo, a fact that didn’t cover well in the comments section, but Badland and Rymdkapsel are both excellent.
A (positive) OXM review of Diablo III on Xbox 360 rounds things out. (Sidebar: some of those Mac|Life and OXM reviews will be in print, which is super exciting. (!!))
Way back in April, I also flew to Reykjavik, Iceland, to cover CCP Fanfest, an annual celebration of all things EVE Online (and, increasingly, Dust 514 and World of Darkness). I wrote a travelogue for Ars Technica, as well as some news posts for TouchArcade and Destructoid, covering EVE Mobile, EVE-VR (which went on to become EVE: Valkyrie), Dust 514‘s future, World of Darkness’ scrapped daylight mechanics, and (somewhat contentiously) why more women don’t play EVE.
Reviews and features notwithstanding, you can find me on the daily blogging at MTV Multiplayer, as well.