Giants Prehistoric and Postmodern, Killer Gramophones, and cetera

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How do you know you’ve hit the big leagues? I don’t know, maybe when there are fucking giants involved? At least that’s how I feel when, all breathless and with a gut full of lepidopterans, I find one of my articles published on the awesomely cool HTMLGIANT. It’s a bit of a review, a bit of a criticism, and a bit of a confession, all centered around the question: how far can we possibly push storytelling in video games? Is there a point where we become limited, not by the technology or the medium, but by the personalities of the players themselves? Do those players (myself included) actually want the kinds of stories they keep clamoring for? Find out–well, one person’s heartfelt take, at least–in Mass Effect and the Self-Imposed Strictures of Interactive Storytelling.

My wife of 10 years, Heather Campbell, has begun tapping into her own writerly spirit with jumpscares, a WordPress blog dedicated to the horrific gems buried in the Netflix instant streaming catalog. I couldn’t think of a better calling for somebody who spends as much time on Netflix as we do (she’s as mad about movies as I am goofy for games), and she plans to update it with weekly reviews and other features. To date, jumpscares has covered three streaming delights: the off-the-wall Twin Peaks pilot episode, the surreal psychological horror of YELLOWBRICKROAD, and the quirky cult slasher flick with a too-strong moral compass, Sleepaway Camp 2. She’s also finally hopped aboard the Twitter train (follow her @lurking_horrors).

I continue to preside over the Geek Haven, a.k.a. Kickstarter’s projects in the game-o-sphere, with a monthly, curated view of what I see as the best of the best. This month, that included the insanely overfunded Night in the Woods, for which I didn’t see the appeal until I clicked on the video myself. It also includes Dino Run 2, a dream project that, if it doesn’t hit its funding goal, will make me cry dinosaurian tears; Touch Board, a very cool tech project with real-world gaming applications; and more of my usual mix of electronic and tabletop games. Check out November’s Geek Haven: Dark Woods, Paleolithic Paths and Gaming Paint.

and some microfiction for you:

My old professor tended a garden of nocturnal daylilies. He was a peculiar sort: every evening, he retired into his night-garden, recited Shakespeare by the blue light of the mosquito lamp.

His garden was something of a legend among students. He offered guided tours, without appointment, on weekends, but by morning the blooms were already beginning to close. Only four students had witnessed the flowers in their full splendor, inhaled their moony fragrance, but they were strangely reticent about the how they had come upon the professor’s garden at night. A heavy price was whispered.

I became the fifth.

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