Thinking About Alien: Isolation, Post-Nightmare

Alien: Isolation - trailer video

As I attempt to stay active in the realm of creating stuff and talking about things, I’ve been doing some video game streaming on Twitch and posting the videos on YouTube. With the recent attention on Alien again thanks to Neill Blomkamp, I replayed Alien: Isolation for the third time.

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Resident Evil HD Remaster Review: Itchy. Tasty.

resident evil remaster holy crap zombies

Not too long into exploring the Baron von Locked Door Mansion Spencer Mansion, players come across the room belonging to the mansion’s animal keeper, and a journal that includes what’s probably the game’s best writing.

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I Made a Twine Game for ‘The Space Hero’s Guide’

14 2 Forming a Team - Copy

So we’re just over a month past the release of “The Space Hero’s Guide to Glory,” and I thought I’d try something new from a promotional standpoint: a bit of interactive fiction called “Kobayanshi Marooned,” made in the platform Twine.

You can download it now from itch.io for free. http://philhornshaw.itch.io/kobayanshi-marooned

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Press Reset: On the End of GameFront

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Age 14 was about the height of my love for video games, and at the time nothing seemed more amazing for a fan of games than the yearly Electronic Entertainment Expo.

E3 was always one of the craziest things about which to read — or more accurately, of which to see photos in glossy gaming magazines. Gaming’s biggest event seemed enormous, flashy and insane: Vegas for nerds like me, who found in video games both an escapism and some kind of cultural and social fulfillment that was hard to come by in the meat grinder of adolescence. E3 was always a thing I wanted to experience myself, where I could get an early taste of all the games I could play, and maybe a chance to speak with those people who managed, somewhat magically, to create them.

Just more than a decade later, I finally made it to E3 as a reporter for GameFront.com.

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Things I Liked in 2014: Alien: Isolation

alien isolation hunting you

Welp, 2014 is at an end, and it’s been an intense year in which my blogging experiment was put on indefinite hold. A lot of stuff happened, most of it kinda … bad.

Eventually, I mean to maybe unpack all that here, including the things that I learned and the things that I struggle(d) to deal with. In the meantime, since I’ve been out of it for a while, I figure I’ll highlight a few of the movies, books, stories and games I encountered in the last year that I rather enjoyed.

Up first is what is quite possibly my favorite game of 2014: Alien: Isolation.

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Your Language is Bullets: Blaming the Player for the Game

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I stumbled back through Rapture last week in BioShock Infinite’s “Burial at Sea” DLC, and the game did that annoying thing where it talked down to me for playing it.

It’s one of those things that video games have been trying to do lately, and it’s kind of sort of infuriating.

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When XCOM: Enemy Within turned into ‘Aliens’

xcom site recon

Last year’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown was one of my favorite games, largely because it left so much room for play sessions to turn into their own little emergent stories.

This week, a huge expansion to the game, called Enemy Within, was launched, and I’ve delved back into the game to try out the new stuff. The other night, I suddenly found myself playing until about 3 a.m. because one mission grabbed my attention and arrested my ability to think of anything else for a good hour — the emergent narrative, about my squad of soldiers fighting to repel an alien invasion of Earth, was in many ways akin to the horror and tragedy of films like Aliens.

Since it was so tense, my favorite experience with the game so far, I ended up laying it out on Twitter across something like 30 updates. I didn’t realize it would be as long as it was until I was midway into it, but I couldn’t just stop in the middle — I still found it too compelling. Because it seems like such a great example of some of the very interesting storytelling only games can do, I thought I’d put it up here, with a little more context.

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Too busy for blog posts

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Been a bit since I was able to get over here, but with good excuses!

Lots of work, that’s what. In fact, I don’t really have time to write a whole lot here, but what I can do is dump a bunch of the stuff I’ve been working on that’s keeping me from complaining about video games or discussing writing tips I make up. Here’s a big rundown of everything I’ve been writing lately.

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X-Surface and the Mess That is Online Journalism

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Today, an anonymous guy “leaked” information about Microsoft’s expected upcoming new Xbox console. He did this by writing a long, involved email, in which he made up a lot of information — namely specs and other details that would make the leak seem legitimate. It’s obvious the guy did a lot of research.

Then he sent the email to several websites, posing as an anonymous guy from Microsoft. Some sites picked up the information, and then the information began to circulate as it often does with tech and gaming news. It got picked up a fair amount (here it is on Yahoo! News), although many big gaming sites — VG247, Kotaku and (humbly included) Game Front — didn’t publish it.

You can read the full account of what the guy did and what he thinks of this industry here. He takes it as proof of a failure of games/tech journalism. In a very big way, it is that.

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