Stephen King and the Poetry of Fear

I read a pretty good blog piece about Alan Wake, Limbo, and Stephen King this evening. The point of the piece is that Limbo is better at horror than Alan Wake because Wake is big-budget, telegraphs its scares, and feels the need to explain everything. It’s a pretty good series of short articles, which I […]

Well Played 3.0: Siren

You might have heard of Well Played before. It’s CMU’s series of books on game design, authored by a wide range of critics, journalists, and armchair game anthropologists like myself. The third book in the series, Well Played 3.0, is now out, and I’m happy to report that it contains an article I wrote about […]

Data Mining Resident Evil

For the first time in four years I’ve written a new feature for this site. This one is called Recursive Unlocking: Analyzing Resident Evil’s Map Design with Data Visualization, and it’s about analyzing the layout of Resident Evil‘s map in order to understand better how it was designed. This analysis is based on a data […]


I happened to be in Japan a few weeks ago when Catherine hit the shelves. I didn’t really know what to expect from it, other than it is some sort of sexy, stylized horror puzzle game, or something. Against my better judgement I bought the game for full price. The stylistic rendering and promise of […]

Deep Fear

One of the ancillary benefits to moving is that it gives me an opportunity to reconfigure my home AV setup. I’m sure lots of people dread the process of trying to figure out which cable goes in which port and how to best plug everything into a single wall outlet, but I enjoy it. I’m […]

The West Needs More Directors

How many Japanese game designers can you name off the top of your head? There’s Shigeru Miyamoto, sure. Readers of this site probably know about Suda51, SWERY, and Akira Yamaoka. Hideo Kojima. Yu “Shenmue” Suzuki and Tomonobu “Dead or Alive” Itagaki. Shinji Mikami. Fumito “Ico” Ueda. If you’ve been around a bit you probably know […]

When Silent Hill isn’t really about Silent Hill

As you might have been able to tell from my last post, I recently finished Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, and it was fantastic. It was fantastic even though it features some of the must frustrating sequences ever in a Silent Hill game, namely the Otherworld chases. But the rest of the game works so well […]

What Disneyland can Teach us about Horror Games

My daughter turns three this week, so we celebrated by visiting Tokyo Disneyland (which, like Tokyo Game Show and the Tokyo International Airport, is not actually in Tokyo). The place was packed with families and couples (the latter of which take total control of the park after nightfall), but otherwise strongly resembled my blurry memories […]