Survival Heroism

Posted by on Mar 28, 2013 in Design, Horror, Video Games, Writing | One Comment

In the new Tomb Raider, Lara Croft’s journey from survivor to action star to heroine (or antiheroine, but we’ll get to that) takes her through horrors visceral and terrestrial, mundane and extraordinary. But her grim and grueling adventure isn’t quite or only survival horror. At the end of her ordeal—the end of her transformation—she is […]

More Harrowing Than Fun: A Tomb Raider Review

Posted by on Mar 18, 2013 in Design, Horror, Video Games, Writing | 2 Comments

If you’d asked me before, I would’ve been skeptical. Another gritty reboot, this time of Lara Croft, a character whose confidence and poise under pressure was part of the hook? I know people who hated the twists on Bond in Skyfall. It’s not that I would’ve doubted whether there’s a great idea for a character-driven, […]


PAX East obliterated Jared Sorensen’s voice but he still had an event left to run. Players were counting on him. The convention schedule had the game session locked in. Sorensen, his voice already spent on conversations and events in the noisy convention venues, seemed fucked. But Jared Sorensen didn’t quit. Sorensen was on the hook […]

Dead Weight

Posted by on Jun 7, 2010 in Design, Horror, RPGs | One Comment

Zombies control the city. Humanity holds on within a towering enclave. Precious supplies remain out in the abandoned city, waiting to be reclaimed. To get these supplies, you must go roof-to-roof, dodging zombies and staying clear of the lethal mist that clings to the streets. In other words, the situation is this: Parkour or die. […]


Posted by on Oct 21, 2009 in Horror, Play, Writing | 3 Comments

I’m happy to announce that Gameplaywright Press is sponsoring what looks to be a terrific new Halloween story-game: Cthalloween! (@cthalloween) This is the new Twitter-based storytelling experience from Jay Bushman, in the vein of last year’s Halloween story-game, “War of the Worlds 2,” (@wotw2) and such Twitter-theater affairs as the Death Star battle reenactment, “A […]

Five Points and Two Towers

Posted by on Jul 11, 2009 in Fantasy, Horror, RPGs | 6 Comments

For a while, back when, I thought I might run a short chronicle of Mage: The Awakening, set in White Wolf’s hometown of Atlanta. I never did. The core principles of the chronicle were sound, though, so I share them with you now, in the hopes that they’ll stir you to make use of them […]

Welcome Back, Thief (Updated)

Posted by on May 11, 2009 in Fantasy, Horror, Musing, Video Games | 8 Comments

Though the evidence is pretty convincing, I am being cautious with my heart. Rumors abound — e.g., at The Escapist and Kotaku — that the game being revealed today by Eidos Montreal is a new Thief title. If this is the case, you should know that I’ll do a happy dance from my office to […]

Players Versus Vampires

Posted by on May 8, 2009 in Design, Horror, Musing, RPGs | 17 Comments

For quite a while I tried to cultivate V:TR as an espionage game — sometimes set in posh parlors, sometimes in lavish state houses, sometimes in awful bloody gutters formed in the spaces where de facto nations (like the police, the media, and the living) simply didn’t have the stomach to look at directly — but […]

Hite's Tour of Lovecraft

Posted by on Dec 17, 2008 in Books, Horror, Promotion | 2 Comments

Ken Hite is a genius. He’s so bright that if you stand next to him you cast no shadow. He travels the universe absorbing books whole, transmuting information into knowledge in a clean-burning process that produces only text and conversation in its wake. In the winters, when I tend to go home to Chicago, I […]

Achilli's Demimonde

Posted by on Dec 16, 2008 in Books, Horror, Promotion | No Comments

The holiday-season promotions continue. Justin Achilli, long-time developer of Vampire: The Masquerade and creator of Vampire: The Requiem, has a reputation. At game conventions, he’s a maniac, a debauchee, and a DJ. Around the office, he’s a pranking elitist in the very best sense. Online, he was known for forum fisticuffs and epic sass. Behind […]