October 3rd, 2013
Finally, yes, finally, I can reveal some details as to what’s going on with the release of Rethinking Games Criticism: An Analysis of Wario Land 4 and the mysterious “Book #2”.
Both titles are being done through Stolen Projects, the same outfit who did Brendan Keogh’s Killing is Harmless book last year and Alphabent, the world’s first glitch art book. I’ve known Stolen Project’s one-man-band creative, Daniel Purvis, since about 2008 when he penned a blogged called Graffiti Gamer. He actually used to comment a bit on Richard Terrell’s Critical Gaming blog back then and he helped get an article that I wrote on Dragon Quest IV into Australian e-zine Pixel Hunt. Over the past few years he’s been doing illustrations and graphic design work for various gaming publications, including Polygon, Hyper magazine, and Kill Screen. This lead him to start Stolen Projects and become independent. The reasons why it’s taken so long to get this project moving is that although I finished writing the Wario book in February, I had to wait until June before I could get back to Adelaide to start running though the details with Daniel, who’s been busy transitioning full-time into Stolen Projects.
Daniel is overseeing the layout, cover illustrations, and publishing of the two books. Both books will be released as ebooks for all formats and I may do a limited print run some time in the future. Although they should be finished sometime this month, I’m probably going to release the two books, both individually and in a pack, in November so as to work around my forthcoming wedding…
..in anycase, I better tell you about book #2 now. It’s called Adventures in Game Analysis Volume 1. It’s a 100-page bookazine featuring long-form essays on:
- Uncharted 2 (gameplay narrative, education, mastery, repair)
- Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story (narrative, folded level design, and RPG elements)
- Metroid: Other M (combat dynamics)
- Wipeout (racing theory and the racing process)
- DK: King of Swing (dead space in core game mechanics)
- Animal Crossing (how the social simulation draws is so engrossing)
- Wario Land 3 (exploration, includes free Twine game)
- Designing Games for Twine (includes free Twine game)
- Classroom Games Analysis (I post-mortem my best classroom games)
- …and more
I’d been thinking of doing some sort of games analysis magazine or anthology for some time. After finishing the Wario Land 4 book in February, I had amassed a mountain of notes from games I’d played over the 2 year writing period. Some of those turned into short-form articles for the blog, many of them became bookazine articles. So I spent February through to July clearing out my notes and this is the result. I want the bookazine, which I will try to continue releasing at an infrequent rate, to act as a midpoint between the writing of the major books, like Wario, and the stuff I post on my blog or discuss on the Nextwork, a game design group that I frequent. Everything in volume one is high grade—like the Wario book, it’s my best work—so get all hyped and stuff.
Over the next week or so, I should have the online portals for both Rethinking Games Criticism and Adventures in Game Analysis Volume 1 up and ready, so you’re welcome to have a sneak peak at the reference material and other links. Also, expect to be hearing more from me from now through to the end of the year as I should have a bunch of book-related content and other goodies going up on the site. I can’t wait to show you all what I’ve been working on for all this time.