Two years and lots of changes

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Yes, it’s been nearly two years since I’ve written a post here. I won’t bother you by saying I’m going to try to increase post frequency. I mean… I am, but let’s not make promises.

It’s been a rough and tumble two years, what with Joystiq collapsing without warning. Thankfully, I was scooped up by the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, and then by the Tulsa Community Foundation, to organize content for the XPO Game Festival here in Tulsa. I’ve been advising on its creation for several years now, and moving on to work on it full time has been amazing.

The show finally went off in September of 2016, and it was enormously gratifying. It seemed like everyone who attended, — visitors, exhibitors and speakers alike — had a great time. I had more than a few people personally tell me how grateful they were that XPO exists. I hope I can continue to earn that gratitude.

The other end of my job is helping to build and expand the tech and game development industries here in Tulsa. Last January, I started the Tulsa Game Developers group, which is now really starting to come into its own. It’s my hope in 2017 to see a TGD developed game make it onto the XPO show floor and onto a mass distribution platform. Here’s hoping!

Given all the professional changes in my life, I figured it was probably time to spruce up the ol’ website. I hope you like the new digs.

8 years of gratitude

I first saved an empty draft of this post in April of 2014. I was approaching the beginning of my eighth year with Joystiq and reflecting on everything I’d done in what once seemed like an impossible career.

If you’ve been keeping up with the (admittedly insular) world of video game news, you’ll know that quite a lot has changed in the intervening months. Joystiq, as it was, no longer exists. I can’t say that I’m grateful for its closure, though that hasn’t blunted my gratitude for all that Joystiq has brought me. When I was 23, it enabled me to earn a living doing something I loved, a privilege that very few get to enjoy. The job was always just a job though. Certainly I loved it, but, as I’ve written elsewhere, I try not to define myself by what I do. It’s easy to conflate work, hobbies and passions with self-identity, but I think people are a much more appropriate measurement. In that regard, I am extraordinarily wealthy. Joystiq has introduced me to some of the most wonderful people a person could meet, many of whom I’m fortunate enough to call my friends. I’m eternally grateful to everyone I’ve worked with at Joystiq. Continue reading “8 years of gratitude”

The coming tide

My entire career hinges on two things: Chris Grant and the letter Q.

It was a fluke that I even found Joystiq at all. In 2006, I was working for a manufacturing company as a project scheduler, my first real job outside of college. My office was in the back corner of a double wide trailer stationed outside an empty warehouse north of downtown Tulsa. As you can imagine, the position wasn’t exactly thrilling, and I spent a considerable amount of time browsing the web. All the usual suspects were blocked by my office web filter, meaning I couldn’t cruise my usual standby, IGN, for gaming news. One site, however, wasn’t blocked: Joystiq.com.
Continue reading “The coming tide”

Ruminations are incoming

A lot of things going on this week, leaving me ruminating on the current state of things. First thing’s first, this place is going to need a sprucing up. Can anyone out there recommend a sweet WordPress theme? Should I stick with this one? Tell me, internet. TELL ME!

Review: Limbo

Reprinted here my Limbo review as it appeared on Joystiq.com

When trying to work out the best way to describe Limbo, I keep coming back to Edvard Munch. I’ve always been fascinated with Munch, an artist most famous for painting The Scream. It’s his other works, however, that tend to stick with me, particularly his Madonna. As a work of art, Munch’s Madonna presents the viewer with seemingly disparate imagery, at once both alluring and disquieting. It’s dark, a little disturbing, and yet it’s also engaging and beautiful.

That’s Limbo.
Continue reading “Review: Limbo”

Review: Alan Wake

Reprinted here my Alan Wake review as it appeared on Joystiq.com

Alan Wake begins with a quote by Stephen King: "Nightmares exist outside of logic, and there’s little fun to be had in explanations; they’re antithetical to the poetry of fear." The line is spoken by the protagonist, novelist Alan Wake, and it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate opening. It’s a game spent in search of explanations, answers to the puzzling questions put forth by its narrative. It’s a very simple, effective hook — an author’s horror thriller is coming to life. The twist? He doesn’t remember writing it. Continue reading “Review: Alan Wake”

Review: Bayonetta

Reprinted here is the Bayonetta review I wrote for Joystiq.com

The first thing you should know about Bayonetta is that the story is entirely unimportant. It makes no sense. At all. Period. There’s something about two warring clans, one of witches and one of sages (Light vs. Dark — yada yada yada). There’s a “journalist” who inexplicably carries a grappling hook; an ancient god that’s being resurrected; and, at one point, there’s even a dance-off.

Now, forget about all of that. You’ll be skipping through it on your second playthrough anyway. And that’s really the point. If you like action games in the vein of Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden, you’ll probably start your second playthrough of Bayonetta exactly when I did: immediately after the first.
Continue reading “Review: Bayonetta”

Blood: The Last Vampire

Whenever the ol’ Netflix queue runs out of TV episodes to ship — Annie and I just watched the first two seasons of Mad Men — I’m often at a loss. What movies should I rent? My first choice was Zombieland, but that’s not out yet. So what’s a consumer to do? The nice benefit of Netflix is that you can rent crap without feeling bad about it. If you rent a terrible movie, it’s not like you just blew $8 bucks on it. So, I picked the live-action version of Blood: The Last Vampire. To my incredible surprise, it’s actually pretty damned good.
Continue reading “Blood: The Last Vampire”

Review: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Reprinted here is the Silent Hill: Shattered Memories review I wrote for Joystiq.com

I’ve played every game in the series and a few years ago you might even have caught me defending the Silent Hill movie. When I first heard that Climax was re-imagining the first game in the Silent Hill series, and putting it on the Wii, I was a bit nervous. When the company revealed the logo and announced that the rust laden, nightmarish Otherworld was being brushed aside for an ice world, I was downright scared. After gathering some more info and trying the game at E3, all fears were assuaged. This was to be the great white (black?) hope of the Silent Hill series.

Having spent two evenings with the game and completing the story for the first time, I’m conflicted. Was it good? Yes. I’m just not sure it’s Silent Hill. Continue reading “Review: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories”