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Category Archives: Games

The Cat Lady review

Haven’t written anything here in a while. Been busy. But when my partner gave me a lovely gift last month (the flu), I finally got around to playing The Cat Lady. So now I write a review, just for funsies.

Cat Lady 1

Unusually in the world of games, The Cat Lady begins with a suicide attempt, and concludes with some general ponderings on the topic of depression. This indie adventure takes great pains to explore the psyche of those on the edge. But despite where its intentions may lie, it’s in between these psychological bookends that the game really shines.

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Indie developers: How to get your game in the press – part 2

Ages and ages ago I wrote a slightly angry rant masquerading as ten tips to indie developers to help get press coverage. Basically, I tend to write these things after being insufferably annoyed by something that makes it literally impossible for me to write about a game I think looks interesting. This time it’s a combination of that, and one that actually impressed me.

So now, I’m thinking everything can be condensed down into one crucial piece of information that it’s handy to remember when trying to get your indie game some press coverage:

Journalists are really busy, and sometimes a bit lazy.

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Dear Esther: Some thoughts

I’d have loved to review Dear Esther. I couldn’t, of course. Having waxed lyrical about it on the internet and in magazines for many years, I was absolutely delighted when thechineseroom approached me in late 2011 with the offer of heading up their PR campaign for launch. Since November it’s been my job to get others talking about Dear Esther, rather than talking about it myself – but that doesn’t mean I have nothing to say.

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Nia’s Birthday Surprise: The Videogame

This week I made another game, and it’s quite different to Masked.

It’s a one-room point-and-click adventure called Nia’s Birthday Surprise: The Videogame and, as the name might suggest, I made it as a birthday present for my girlfriend.

In it, you play as me, trying to rescue Nia from a locked building of DOOM or something. To help you are a collection of items, a talking frog, and an annoying little girl.

You can’t play it, because it’s just for Nia.

Happy birthday, missus!

Masked: My room-escape game, out now

I made a game! It’s called Masked.

It’s a short-form point-and-click adventure. More precisely, it’s a room-escape game, which I made in response to bafflement at missed opportunities within the genre.

Everyone fears being trapped. The idea is terrifying. So why don’t more room-escape games play on these sorts of primal emotions? Heck, I’d be happy if some bothered to try anything interesting with storytelling at all.

So yes, this is my attempt to do just that. It’s my first Adventure Game Studio release, it took me just a couple of weeks to make, and it’s not supposed to be hyper-polished, but… yeah. See what you think. I’ll write a lengthier commentary when I get the chance.


Analogue: A Hate Story – some thoughts so far

I finished a playthrough of Christine Love’s first commercial release, Analogue: A Hate Story, today. But as odd as it sounds, while I’ve finished the game, I’ve barely begun scratching the surface of its story.

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Indie developers: How to get your game in the press

One of the more common troubles I run into during my career as a games journalist is that, sometimes, its seems as though developers don’t want me to write about their titles. Every now and then, when I’m looking for something to pitch to an editor, I browse indie sites to see if I can catch a glimpse of something exciting that I might like to big up. Often, I come across one such games, decide I want to write about it, but then run into a thousand barriers that mean I just… can’t.

To begin with, I was baffled by some of these common mistakes. Surely it’s obvious? But after talking with a few people on Twitter, it turns out that maybe it isn’t. Developers: I assume you want people to know about your game, so here are a few suggestions of what you might like to consider doing in the future.

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Now now, NowGamer

Today, videogames website NowGamer caused a bit of a stir by launching a new competition. That might sound innocent enough, but this competition wasn’t to win a free copy of a game, or a trip to see an upcoming title in action. No, this competition carried a slightly more dubious prize: column inches on NowGamer.

A lucky winner will be selected by the NowGamer team to write a new regular blog on the popular games website, whose other writers are all professional and paid. Games journalism might sound like the best job in the world, but whether that’s accurate or not it is still a job. NowGamer is turning it into something you win, not something you earn.

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‘Doing it for the hits’ – a bizarre criticism of games journalism

Every writer who’s ever published a vaguely controversial games-related article – be it a review, preview, editorial or news story – will have seen the same old comment. “Oh,” they say, “they’re only doing it for the hits.”

It’s a strange criticism, not least because – well – yes, that’s how online editorial works.

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BeefJack’s after a couple of writers

There are two new positions going at BeefJack.

  • Senior writer, North America
  • Senior writer, weekends

Both positions are voluntary, we’re afraid – there simply isn’t the money to pay for contributions at the moment, but we’re trying to get to that point as quickly as we can. For now, we can offer you extensive training, exposure, experience and a whole heap of fun.

Applicants for these positions should have experience writing news for a website, preferably in a videogame-related context. Either way, you obviously must know your stuff about games and be able to demonstrate this.

The North America-based senior writer will be asked to produce several short news articles per day throughout the week. The weekend-focused position will involve preparing for weekend coverage during the week, then posting a few articles per day to the site at weekends.

Both positions require someone who can be trusted to post strong, well-written and informative content, as well as promoting this content through various social channels.

Interested? Email jobs[at] explaining why you’d be awesome for the role. Tell us what you’ve done before, and show us how good you are. Remember to specify which role you’re applying for.

The way we like to work at BeefJack is this:

We understand we’re asking people to give up a fair amount of their time. But we want people who share our vision. We want people to grow with the site. So we’re prepared to put the work in too. We’ll train you; you’ll have access to new industry contacts; you’ll learn skills; and you’ll have the opportunity to get bigger with the site as the site gets bigger. Your work will be read by our 150,000 monthly unique readers – a readership that’s constantly growing. Be a part of something, y’know? We believe in it.

Anyway, enough nonsense. Hopefully you fancy one of these. Be in touch.