The new year just about marks the first anniversary of me starting this blog. 2014 was really the first year I put my serious writing online as well as other sites and publications on a regular basis. I finished my MSc degree with a dissertation on videogames and art, pitched an essay to and became a regular writer for The Arcade Review, wrote articles for several other blogs and sites related to art and technology, and even made a few goofy Twine games. For myself and pretty much everyone else I know, 2014 was a year marked by a lot of tension and setbacks, but at the same time I’m proud of what I achieved and the interesting things happening in both the art and game worlds despite these issues.
The Arcade Review is also nearing its first anniversary, and marking the occasion you can now get the first year’s run, including my essay on indie horror games, as a part of this month’s StoryBundle, along with several other examples of games writing beyond the bland hype cycle of consumer press the industry has become accustomed to. Issue four of The Arcade Review should be coming out later this month, and will feature my review of John Clowder’s Gingiva. Clowder’s games are always a visual treat in addition to their compelling storylines and worldbuilding, and I’m excited to see what his next project on the horizon brings.
Looking forward, I hope to continue writing a long-read style essay here once or twice a month as I have been trying to do so for the past year, as well as possibly crank out another Twine project or two, and keep working on morphing my Master’s dissertation into a more accessible series of essays that I’ll make available as an ebook. I’m also excited by many of the games I have in my “to play” pipeline, most notably Beeswing, and hope to write more on what I’ve been playing as well.
Looking back on the past year, I’m far too disorganized to make a proper “Best Of” list, but here are some general highlights:
- TheCatamites’ Summer Games Mixtape
- The VA-11 HALL-A demo (with full version hopefully coming soon!)
- Rhizome’s Kickstarter to conserve and make freely available Theresa Duncan’s games met its goal!
- You can now get a bird boyfriend in glorious 1080p (and soon on the PS4)
- I got to visit the Atelier Public #2 exhibition in Glasgow, which explored analogue interaction in a gallery space, and Game Masters in Edinburgh, which offered hundreds of playable digital games (though it wasn’t an ideal space for interactivity)
- Annarchive has taken on the noble and (community funded) pursuit of conserving old game manuals and books, adding Kid Pix’s manual and Creepy Computer Games to the library. Meanwhile, I am still on the hunt for the elusive SimCopter strategy guide…
- And in another interesting victory for digital conservation, hundreds of games made for obsolete OS, from the iconic to odd are becoming available through in-browser emulation, such as Rhizome’s efforts with Bomb Iraq, and browser-based Dosbox.
Here’s to another year, hopefully full of more things surprising and fascinating in digital art and games.