Sometimes I have bad days, or even weeks. Over the past few years, these bad days have manifested for me in two opposing and yet integrated ways. The first is a deep longing for solitude, a desire to find some far off place away from people and the world, somewhere I don’t have to interact with or perform for anyone. The second is a strong feeling of disconnect from the people around me, bringing on a sense of loneliness that seeps through even in a crowded room and carrying with it the belief that no one would notice if I was gone.
So many people experience such things. Depression, sorrow, and anxiety can feel like being lost at sea, floating on desperate dark emotions with no sign of land or refuge in sight. Sea of Solitude, a game developed by Jo-Mei Games, powerfully expresses these experiences through the exploration and healing of its watery world.
Hosted by published authors working in a variety of genres and with decades of experience in the industry, the Writing Excuses podcast offers quick 15-20 minute long episodes packed with insightful writing, craft, and business advice. This year, the podcast has shifted its format to focus on eight-episode intensive courses that drill down into a particular subject, in this case, game writing.
Along with regular hosts Mary Robinette Kowal,Dan Wells, and Howard Taylor, the eight episodes on game writing were led by two guest hosts, Cassandra Khaw and James L. Sutter, both of whom have extensive experience writing for games. Kaw has worked as a senior scriptwriter for Ubisoft Montreal and as a freelance writer for various indie video game developers. Sutter is a co-creator of the Pathfinder and Starfinder table-top roleplaying games.
One of my great pleasures in life is sitting back and watching a good horror movie. My tastes are wide ranging, from horror comedies to supernatural scares, gritty psychological horror, and body horror. Iâ€™ll watch it all.
But horror video games have always seemed too intense for me. Watching a horror movie is a passive experience, allowing me to observe the characterâ€™s progress through the haunted house and judge their decision to go down into the dark basement.
Video games on the other hand remove that passivity from the equation. As the player, I find myself suddenly immersed in the experience. Instead of watching the character step down into the dark, Iâ€™m the one in control, the one who has to make the decision to go down the stairs, even though I know something terrible awaits.
Over time, however, Iâ€™ve gained a growing appreciation for scary games. Itâ€™s been slow going, starting with games that feature more of a creepy aesthetic than actual scares and growing to a love for the intensity of survival horror.