Enemies are represented as capital letters, so I have no idea what this creature even is.

Recently, a version of Rogue was made available on Steam. I downloaded it and gave it a try, and what I found was incredible. The icons used in Rogue, along with its total lack of music and near lack of sound, are so wonderfully charming, and so is the world that is implied by the items found in the Dungeons of Doom. …


Unkindled Takes On Dark Souls III

It’s 2010, and I’m playing Demon’ Souls. I leave the character as the default, because why would I bother changing it? I delve deep into the game, looking up guides and reading posts on forums. I want to keep everything in mind, make my weapons just the right types and put all my points in just the right places. False King Allant is the coolest fight in the world to me at this point. A new game, Dark Souls, is coming out soon that is a spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls. It seems like fun, so I preorder it. I…


The first time I watched FLCL, I was 16, and it quickly became a favorite anime of mine. But I’m not 16 anymore. Now, at the wise old age of 26, I have returned to FLCL with a more concrete sense of both myself and the world. (While I was gone, its sequels Progressive and Alternative were released, and I recently watched those too, but this piece isn’t about them). Once again, I have seen all there is to see of FLCL, but this time I have a different opinion of it. Or maybe I always thought this, but didn’t…


“I do stand with you. I am the shadow you cast. How much closer can I be?

With the Kingdom Hearts III Re:Mind DLC arriving soon I have been thinking back on Vanitas and his climactic moments in the final act of the main game. He’s a really fascinating character whose pathos is somewhat hampered; while I adored the main game, I wish Vanitas had been given more time and space to develop, grow, and reckon with his trauma. I know the game has to focus on Sora, on the ultimate battle with light and dark. But even on the periphery, Vanitas’s story is powerful and existential.

It starts with his creation. “Empty creature from Ventus riven…to…


This is what time feels like now.

It’s the end of the year, and we’re all looking back and making top ten lists. Well, I didn’t play 10 games worth talking about this year, so my list is only 5 games. Also, there’s one game from 2018 in this list because I played it for the first time this year. I’m the author and I make the rules!

5. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

I have been anticipating this game since I backed its Kickstarter, which feels like a decade ago. Bloodstained is, as was promised, a sort of spiritual successor to the Castlevania titles that IGA worked on. What surprised me, though…


A meditation on my depression fueled by the world’s leading “Strand Game”

I choose my destination as the morning sun washes out the room. I know where I’m going, I know what I need to bring with me. I double and triple check my pockets, make sure I’m not forgetting anything. The tools I’ll need to make it through the day are held tight, and the load I have to carry is locked alongside it. As I head to my car and hear the steady crunching of snow underfoot, my mind goes to Death Stranding, as it has every day since its release.

My world is not so empty as Sam's. I…


A fear of polarity drags the player ever toward the center in Obsidian Entertainment’s latest RPG.

It’s not the best choice; it’s Obsidian’s choice.

The Outer Worlds is a game directed by the people credited with the creation of Fallout back in 1997, and its pedigree both mechanical and creative has been a specter haunting the conversations around it. I have always been told, by those more capable of engaging with the Fallout franchise’s games, that the games are satirical; rich with themes and ideologies that play out in little dioramas influenced by the player. The Outer Worlds isn’t anything like that; it’s a trite and cynical gallery of neoliberal centrist apologia.

I want to start with the first major story mission: the conflict…


Bandai Namco’s new Souls-like offers a sincere look at vampiric traumas.

My character is a huge lesbian and dating Io, by the way. That’s canon.

Code Vein is a game that was made for me, specifically. It’s about vampires, it’s about community, it’s about trauma and healing and memory. It’s only missing time travel! I have not had as good a time discovering a game in a long time. The first moment I realized just how much this game was playing to my specific interests was the aftermath of the first boss fight.

In Code Vein, vampires who fall too deep into bloodlust or die and reincarnate too many times risk losing pieces of their memories. At a certain threshold they are known as Lost…


“Infinite in mystery is the gift of the Goddess. We seek it thus, and take to the sky."

So go the words of LOVELESS, a fictional epic poem from the world of Final Fantasy VII. It tells the story of three friends who search for the fabled Gift of the Goddess. The final act, however, is missing, and only a single line remains of it.

LOVELESS appears throughout the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, both as a plot point and as a simple reference, but it also serves as a crystallization of a recurring theme throughout Final Fantasy VII saga…


A Monsterhearts parable

[Content Warning: transphobia & my fears thereof]

There were only supposed to be four of us. Adal, the (supposedly) pure-hearted unicorn. Darnell, the lonely and isolated sasquatch. Gideon, the goofy and narcissistic werewolf. And my Wendy, the gentle vampire. But Robin came too. A mere human, cast among monsters. They clung to Wendy, still shaken by other traumas that day.

There was an accident, and Gideon was injured. Adal and Darnell freed him, but all the while Wendy found herself shaken by the bloodshed. She returned to Robin, waiting with everyone's school supplies back toward the abandoned train station. Voice…

Nora Blake

I'm the trans queer commie that Jack Chick warned you about. twitter: @NeitherNora

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