Posts Tagged: writing


I have rewatched the movie Fight Club in anticipation of its fifteenth anniversary today. Unfortunately it’s almost midnight and I have work tomorrow, so I’m not going to write anything substantial right now. But here, from the lost pages of, is what I wrote on the film’s tenth anniversary five years ago. Some of this still holds up.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about GamerGate…

Carolyn has a lot to say about this, but one paragraph jumped out at me in particular:

When I worked for GameSpot, I learned to ignore all the hate that was directed at me in the comments for being trans, and all the scoffing and dismissal my reviews received because once in a great while I had the temerity to discuss issues of gender representation. I just took it as a given that this was the culture of gaming sites, that it was something we all had to accept. I understand now that this is not the case at all, and that tossing up our hands and just accepting this makes us complicit in the creation of a culture in which people who want more diversity in games and who want to be able to have civil, thoughtful conversations about games often don’t feel welcome.

it’s really easy to give up. the angry men online want you to give up, they’ll tell you (over and over, at every possible opportunity) that this is the way the world works, people on the internet are rude, get used to it

we can’t stop people from being rude, but we sure as hell don’t have to pretend that rude voices need to be accepted. and in an interactive forum like comments on an article, or tumblr, or whatever, we definitely don’t have to “accept” vitriol.

I don’t write for WIRED all that often but reading comments on my work is exhausting. Nearly every one is hostile, either to me personally or to my opinion. It’s not even a matter of uncomfortable social issues, I was recently berated for not lavishing glowing praise on the New 3DS. you must have weird hands they said. everyone loves it but you. I try to laugh off this stuff, because it never reaches threat-level, but it’s always a downer.

Just imagining having to face constant rage attacking my identity because I dared to write about a video game is terrifying. I salute everyone who manages to do it without giving in. we can do better, as a community, if we expect that word to mean anything.

Source: agameofme





i laughed so hard at the “i don’t know” and “something is wrong”

the twilight one is like abstract poetry

If you read it all together it’s like the most awkward, tense conversation ever.

"My name is Katniss Everdeen," I sighed. Nothing happened.

"I don’t know," he sighed.

Harry looked around, I shake my head and shrugged.

Harry stared. “I am seventeen years old.”

I frowned and he waited.

"My home is District 12."

Harry chuckled and said nothing. Now I wish I had.

I laughed. We looked at each other. I swallowed hard. He shrugged. Harry blinked and hesitates. I flinched.

He looked around. “I’m not really surprised.”

I took a deep breath, something he didn’t have last time. “Something is wrong.”

He didn’t answer. He stood up.


at 37 it’s far too late for me to familiarize myself with any of these series, isn’t it? People talk about these stories SO MUCH and I feel old for not knowing about them, but they’re clearly made for kids so…?

(via lunulata)

Source: frostingpeetaswounds

The Japanese Firm Selling Videogames to Women, Using Sex | WIRED

I was going to share this story along with all the stuff I wrote at TGS this year, but I think this one stands out. Not only was this the most entertaining thing I saw at the show, it gave me hope for video game marketing in general.

I’m sure every trade show has its sexist moments, but Tokyo Game Show is consistently uncomfortable for me. It’s not just the women asked to pose and parade around every booth (and yes, I mean every booth - even middleware companies hire models), it’s the “boys club” atmosphere of it all.

A trade show is a bad place to experience a video game. There’s so much noise, there’s so many people, your time is limited, everyone’s handing you flyers and free crap…it’s an assault on the senses. What Voltage and Sunsoft (yes, the same Sunsoft that made Batman on NES) did with their booths was push the games into the background. You can download a smartphone game anytime, anywhere. But only at TGS can you engage in a little roleplay.

CAPCOM pulled a similar move this year with a pellet gun shooting gallery in the rear of its booth. It was a chance for me to try something I don’t normally do and having zombie targets kept me thinking about Resident Evil while I was shooting.

But let’s not brush this under the rug: what the romance games corner did was, to me, revolutionary. In a room surrounded by male-gazing and leering, with a giant breast mural on display, these booths were the sexiest thing I saw all week. It had nothing to do with my tastes and everything to do with what women wanted. Speaking personally, when everyone at TGS is trying to sell me something with increasingly lewd messaging, seeing a space designed for women was a breath of fresh air.

I don’t think sex should be off-limits for video games, but after years of enduring “isn’t this SEXY look at these TITS” advertising for games, I don’t have confidence that any AAA title can pull it off. But Voltage and Sunsoft nailed it. I never even thought about female crossdressers before last week and now I’m wondering if I need to know more about them (the answer to that is yes, by the way. So hot.)

I should add that I have not played these games, so I don’t know if they are sex-positive or creepy or whatever. Based solely on this approach to advertising, I think they’re fantastic. And all the women I saw at TGS ate it up.

(crossdressing image taken from Twitter)


Sailor Zombie Lets You Shoot Undead Japanese Pop Stars | WIRED

When I first heard about this game in the spring, I groaned. “Love bullets”? It sounded like another ploy to separate obsessive AKB48 fans and their money.

When I saw it in action this week, I thought it might be campy fun. The premise is absurd, and the inclusion of rhythm-based dance numbers might make for a chuckle.

But sitting down and playing it made me realize just how creepy this concept is. Why would you make a game about shooting young girls in the face? “Zombies” schmombies, they look like teenagers. The shots sound like bullets, and one bullet is never enough. You have to tear into them to knock them down, but they always get back up.

I’m sure this all seems more innocent to Japanese people. Their gun laws are strict. You can count the number of annual shootings on one hand. But when you consider how these girls are already sexualized and fetishized in mass media, making them the main targets in a shooting gallery seems wrong. Very, very wrong.

And it cannot be said enough: out of all the girls that could have appeared in this game, two of the seven just happened to be the same two girls who were wounded by a crazy guy at a fan event this year. Of course that’s a coincidence, but it reinforces that these women are already at risk due to their fame (with the “accessibility” factor making them even more likely to be hurt). AND MOST OF THEM ARE MINORS. If it were my child in that game, I’d be furious.



So, this popped up in my google alerts.

in which a young wannabe designer says the following:

I’ve contemplated learning to code for myself, give Unity a go, but the thought that what I make will never be as good as the works I so adore paralyses me with self loathing and Doubt ‘Of course I couldn’t be the the next Mike Bithell or Phil Fish, why even bother.’

This made me sad. And I wanted to say a few things on the topic.

  1. I’m not Mike Bithell. At least, I’m not the construct above. I look like Mike Bithell, I even share his name, but I am just a 28 year old nerd who spends too much time worrying about making inputs feel good, and not enough time doing paperwork.
  2. I am a shit coder. Really shit. I have now hired a couple of coders to help me. I swear to god, the first two days was them laughing at the Volume source code. You may already actually be better than me.
  3. The horrible reality is that you will never not feel this way. I have the same admiration / frustration targeted at Phil Fish, Warren Spector, Jonathan Blow, Sophie Houlden, Hideo Kojima, Davey Wreden and many others. The fact that I’ve now (with exception of Blow*) met or online met all these devs in no way makes me worry less about never being as good as them.
  4. The only thing that separates one dev from another is experience and luck. You may not BE phil right now, but keep working, and you may do so one day. Time is linear, and attention is short. Folks may be talking about you long after they forget about our weird little games.
  5. The best advice I can give is to focus energy inwards. Not in a quasi-spiritual sense, but in an emotional sense. Try to ignore outward pressures and desires to be loved, and focus on making shit you like. You will of course fail to achieve this zen like state, we all do, but the act of trying will probably help a bit :)

Much love, and I look forward to playing what you make.

*I once stood behind Blow in a cafe, and spent approximately 5 minutes deciding whether I had the balls to say hello. I did not. Best case scenario he didn’t spot me, worst case scenario he wondered why the creepy overweight 6 foot 4 guy in the corner kept looking at him.

I’ve never made a game myself (would like to try!) but I can identify with all of the sentiments here, re: comparing yourself to established, successful people. There’s nothing to be gained by telling yourself not to make something because it won’t be as good as something else.


Source: mikebithell
  • Question: Do you think it's okay to have a sexual female character (as in one who likes sex, not one who does sexy poses constantly for literally no reason), as long as not every single female character in the work is like that? I have 4 girl characters and only 1 is sexual. - Anonymous
  • Answer:


    I’m really surprised at how often I feel the need to explain this.

    There is nothing wrong with sex or sexual women.  Just blandly written female characters who exisit explicitly for the male gaze.

    So yeah, write stories about women and their sexuality and all the different complicated ways that relationship exists.

    Just write stories about women and not a flimsy cardboard approximation of women.

Source: boobsdontworkthatway

Today marks seven years since I arrived in Osaka, Japan and started this job of teaching English to children. But that’s not all.

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"Don’t wait for permission to make something that’s interesting or amusing to you. Just do it now. Don’t wait. Find a story idea, start making it, give yourself a deadline, show it to people who’ll give you notes to make it better. Don’t wait till you’re older, or in some better job than you have now. Don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait till some magical story idea drops into your lap. That’s not where ideas come from. Go looking for an idea and it’ll show up. Begin now. Be a fucking soldier about it and be tough."


Ira Glass to Lifehacker. I’m Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, and This Is How I Work.

Quick tip for things to do immediately post-interview:

When I come out of an interview, I jot down the things I remember as being my favorite moments. For an hour-long interview usually it’s just four or five moments, but if out I’m reporting all day, I’ll spend over an hour at night typing out every favorite thing that happened. This is handier than you might think. Often this short list of favorite things will provide the backbone to the structure to my story.

Read through for the gear This American Life uses and its editing process.

(via futurejournalismproject)

This is really good advice, and worth keeping!

(via tamorapierce)

I keep hearing this and it’s always true: what am I waiting for?

(via briangefrich)

Source: futurejournalismproject

See Them All and Name Them All


By Marie Jensen


Dear Teenager…

so this is a new tumblr and it’s full of adults writing stories of their own abuse/sexual assault as a way to reassure other victims out there, especially teenagers who might not know who to turn to.

I’ve only started reading and so far every story is like a punch to the gut. Not just what happened, which is awful, but what followed for these women was often just as awful. Victim-blaming. Disbelief. Threats.

Everyone should read this blog. Read it, and pay attention. Because if you’ve been victimized, it’s not your fault you were attacked. Consider this your warning that the stories can be quite graphic though.

And if you’ve taken advantage of someone for sexual gratification, you need to learn that your behavior has serious repercussions. I’ve never done that but even just reading about what other men have done has given me a lot to think about regarding how I treat women.

Source: ibelieveyouitsnotyourfault