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February 9th, 2013

After 2 years of full-time work on top of my regular full-time job and personal commitments, I’ve finally completed my book, Rethinking Games Criticism: An Analysis of Wario Land 4. What was originally meant to be a 120-page warm-up for a full-sized book on Metroid Prime turned out to be a part-critique, part-game-design-text-book, 450-paged behemoth. Yet despite the gradual change in direction, I kept the planned 6-month crunch going for 2 years. While the final push has worn me out a bit, I’m keen to just get on with what’s next as it’s been a year since I’ve written any new material. I have a bunch of upcoming projects that I’ve been stewing over for far too long. I’m not exactly sure which one I’ll start first, so I’ll probably just catch up on my backlog of game design notes—starting with the stuff I can pump out quickly—and see where that takes me. I’m guessing most of this copy will come out on the blog, while other parts will go into the projects. I also have a few posts on writing, editing, and the book itself that will come out over time. So, in whichever form you see it in, expect stuff on:

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, Red Steel 2, Metroid: Other M, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Wario Land 3, Wario Land Shake Dimension, Star Ocean: Second Evolution, Wipeout Pulse, Bookworm, Critter Crunch, Kid Icarus, Resident Evil Darkside Chronicles, Resident Evil 4, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Shining Force, Braid, DK: King of Swing, Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor, Cut the Rope, Burnout Revenge, Metal Gear Solid: Ghost Babel, Zelda: 4 Swords Adventures (comments on my Twitter), Harvest Moon, Vanquish, Halo Legends (comments on my Twitter), Uncharted 2, deep reading and the internet, concept albums, player manipulation, and asynchronous multiplayer design in the classroom.

If you’ve got any ideas on any of these topics or games, then I’d be happy to trade thoughts. You can hit me up on email or IM through the following channels:

I haven’t gotten around to chasing up any publishing leads, the past 2 and a half months have been solely dedicated to finishing the final edit. Once I have something concrete to announce, rest assure that I will.

Thanks for your support and patience,


  • AJ Johnson

    Sweet!  Looking forward to it.  I’ve been delving into a number of video game-related books lately, from HG101’s Sega Arcade Classics book, to the Hyrule Historia, to The History of Sonic the Hedgehog.  Granted, these aren’t books on game criticism, but it’s nice to sit down with a well-produced book on some of my favorite video gaming experiences.

  • Steve Johnathan

    that’s quite a backlog of games you’ve got. I’m most interested in games like Ghost Babel, Vanquish, Wipeout Pulse and Other M since they’re not the type of games I see analyzed on the Critical Gaming blog.

  • @google-9474317ec339eea2e87c73b262b95276:disqus – I agree. I’m interested in those books too. You might also be interested in the GameSpite books if you haven’t heard of them already. There’s a link in the blogroll. As I’ll discuss in future posts, the book format offers a unique form of content that I think is absent from games writing.
    @google-f89337cfe5152d88091b17b2cf597912:disqus – Richard has notes on Other M too, and I’ve already recommended recommended Vanquish to him. I hope the posts will live up to your expectations. 😀

  • AJ Johnson

    I’ve read through the GameSpite articles on the site, but haven’t (yet) purchased any of their publications.  I’ll be interested to see your thoughts on Vanquish.  I played through it a few months ago.  All design points aside, it is practically the definition of “overstimulating”… playing the game for an hour is roughly the equivalent of eating 3 Snickers bars.