Freelance Narrative Designer and games journalist. RPS columnist.
A Panel Shaped Screen: remembering the sprite comics of the mid-2000s
If you’re a digital artist, or have a friend who is a digital artist, then you’re intimately familiar with the dread associated with the following phrase:
“Your job looks easy, the computer draws everything for you!“
Art is not a game, but games can help produce art. In the hand of capable webcomic artists, games can become brush and canvas and muse, and be ripped apart and glued together in new weird forms. Take sprite comics, for example.
A Panel Shaped Screen: the disjointed universe of Lightstep Chronicles
Every writing class has an over-enthusiastic writer. You know the type. All his writing exercises are set in the same elaborate setting: the fantasy world he has been working on since he was sixteen. He’s currently writing his debut novel, the first in a trilogy. He already has three more trilogies planned out.
A Panel Shaped Screen: the confusing world of multimedia franchises
It was so much easier to just enjoy things back then. You know, then. The good old days. If you liked a game, you played it. If you wanted more, you looked for mods or became involved in the fandom. Once in a while, Hollywood would announce the movie adaptation of some popular game you liked, like Doom. Movies about games were always terrible, but you watched them anyway.
How not to cut trees in Woodcutter Simulator 2011
I am not a religious person, but I must admit some phenomena can’t be explained in a rational way. Like the inconceivable vastness of space. Ghosts sightings. The Brexit. Or United Independent Entertainment’s decision to release Woodcutter Simulator 2011 on Steam in the year of our Lord 2019.
A Panel Shaped Screen: the comics about living in a game that have inspired games
There’s a child in front of a door. You know how the story goes. You know behind that door lies a fantastic world, and our little protagonist will get lost in it. You know the child will meet new friends and strange wonders, and will end up saving the realm.
You know this because you read this story so many times already, the same plot repeated on the pages of The Wizard Of Oz, The Chronicles Of Narnia, Alice In Wonderland. Perhaps this story makes you feel a little nostalgic.
A Panel Shaped Screen: screen shaped panels and games that play like comics
Drawing a comic book is like playing Tetris with narrative beats. You have to somehow put on a page everything the script requires you to draw, give the right amount of space to important moments, make sure the reader’s gaze flows naturally from panel to panel, and all your panels must look nice and clear but also in harmony with each other.
So you, the artist, sketch little layouts first. You shuffle and rearrange the panels, trying to find the right combination before drawing the page.
The best games from A Maze Festival in Berlin
I am not hip enough for A Maze, the international games festival held in Berlin. Like every game developer convention, its schedule is dotted with workshops, talks and games to play. But during the festival I also helped make a zine, learned how to not read tarot cards, got my nails painted, and helped deal with the byproducts of paper-shredding game The Book Ritual. There was a lot of paper. We made art with it.
A Panel Shaped Screen: porn with plot in comics and games
Remember being fifteen and desperately looking for porn on the internet? Perhaps you googled basic terms like “boobs”, like the protagonist of You Must Be 18 Or Older To Enter. Or perhaps you held on to familiar characters, and searched for “Naruto hentai” on Newgrounds to play wonky flash games.
A Panel Shaped Screen: the comics and games that reimagined Disney
I played so many Disney games as a kid. It wasn’t really on purpose, it’s just that I was an avid reader of Disney comics, and sometimes they were bundled with games. Most were simple minigame compilations, parts of the Disney Hotshots series. Others were more elaborate, though they all felt nearly identical. Aladdin, The Lion King, The Jungle Book: the same impossibly hard platformer, starring a different Disney character each time. My favourite one wasn’t a movie tie-in, though...
Remembering old games on Mac is like visiting a lost world
My first videogame memory is about falling. I remember a blue sky and green land and some yellow rectangle where I was supposed to land, but couldn’t, because I was three or four years old and videogames were new and confusing. Unable to control my plane, I could only watch it spiral and crash. The game was Hellcats over the Pacific. I learned this only twenty years later, when I recognised it in a video compilation of old games. The name of this flight sim evaded me for so long because I gre...
A Panel Shaped Screen: Rediscovering Moebius, the artist who influenced Sable (and a million other games)
Talking about a game’s influences is always a tricky business. Sure, developers love to give long talks about the artists they admire. About their inspirations, the concepts they remixed, the idols they wish to surpass. But there’s a difference between the influences they are trying to evoke consciously, and the many-finned chimeras swimming just under the surface of consciousness.
7 more games that could use a Geralt of Rivia guest appearance
I worry about Geralt. The Witcher series may be over for now, but this hasn’t stopped Geralt from taking odd jobs here and there, slaying beasts in Monster Hunter: World, or stabbing folks in Soul Calibur VI. Is Geralt getting adequate retirement benefits? Have witchers unionized yet? I hope he can get some rest, or at least find more contract work that doesn’t involve exterminating monsters all the time. Freelancing is tiring.
Here are seven games that need to be blessed by Geralt’s presence...
How language shapes the way we play
The first English words I learned were "register" and "not yet".
I didn't quite grasp their meaning at the time. I only knew that my CD-ROMs full of demos all featured the same starting screen with two buttons. The one called "Register" opened a scary window full of foreign words. Clicking the "Not Yet" button, on the other hand, allowed me to play for a while.
I was a five-year-old Italian girl, and I had no video games in my native language.
A Panel Shaped Screen: which run of The Darkness should you read?
The Darkness II is a game about being a mafia hitman, shooting everyone, and feeding the hearts of your enemies to the black abomination coiled inside your chest. But it’s also a game about fighting your darkest self, doubting your own mind, and finding salvation in love.
A guide to loving Berserk, the manga inspiration for the Souls games
You might have heard of Berserk already. A few people have pointed out the similarities between Hidetaka Miyazaki’s Souls series and the manga Berserk. Perhaps you’ve even gotten curious, toyed with the idea of getting into it, but without a clear idea of where to start. Or perhaps you got the impression that Berserk is not for you.