Underrail Seeks to Revive ’90s Dieselpunk

Written by Stephen Patterson Most players of video games have an idea of what steampunk and cyberpunk are, they are staples of modern gaming storytelling and world-building. Games such as Bioshock, Dishonored and Deus Ex fit quite nicely into those molds, prepared over decades by writers and artists alike for various works. ‘Dieselpunk‘ however is…

A Love Letter To The Post-Post-Apocalypse

Written by Stephen Patterson Some of the largest games of 2017, in terms of both critical success and sales, have shared a crucial aspect – one of storytelling rather than mechanical design. Horizon: Zero Dawn, NieR: Automata and even Zelda: Breath of the Wild, all currently revered kings of open world design, tell narratives of…

Disconnecting: Achieving Flow States in Games

Written by Stephen Patterson When you can disconnect the switches that cause you to focus consciously on your surroundings and concentrate only on the task at hand with clarity, that’s called flow. Usually the term is used when discussing creative processes, whether that be a complete dedication to the piece you’re writing or to the…

Restoring is More Rewarding Than Destroying

There is something fundamentally fulfilling about restoration, repairing a damaged foundation and returning it, or converting it, into something greater through personal work. Most of the games we play encourage us to tear down our environments, deface them or topple the supporting pillars of organisations and governments. But what about those that encourage us to…

Watch_Dogs 2’s Commentary on Data Privacy

Written by Stephen Patterson Aftertouch is a series designed to look more deeply into games – and the concepts therein – which have been overlooked or misconstrued. It’s fairly difficult to say that anything about Watch_Dogs 2, the second open world Grand Theft Auto style hacking game from Ubisoft, has been overlooked considering how recently it released…

How ABZÛ Encouraged Me To Change

Written by Stephen Patterson I often write about dialogue, characterisation and critiquing the writing of video games. I generally attempt to analyse them, as described very well by one of my friends, ‘as if they were literary texts’. My goal is to hold video game writing to account as if it were literature because, in…

How Does Game Writing Combine With Player Agency?

I’ve spent almost all of my time on this website talking about how brilliant Final Fantasy is (don’t worry, I’ll be discussing the 15th iteration on this week’s podcast) and it often brings about a reminder of story structure that we see most commonly in theatre: defined act and scene breaks, often leaving us without…