Hi, lovelies. Here’s my month in books, movies, television, and games.
Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones is the second book of the Indian Lake Trilogy. Four years after the deadly events of the first book, Jennifer “Jade” Daniels is released released from when her murder conviction is overturned. She returns to her home in the rural lake town of Proofrock a different person. After the trauma of surviving the Independence Day Massacre and the years being ground down by the prison system, Jade has revert to her birth name of Jennifer and is more reserved. She has let go of her obsession with slasher movies and attempts to let go of the past.
But fate does not allow her to go free — and just as she is released, convicted serial killer Dark Mill South escapes from a prison transport near the town and he takes up his role of murderer at large, beginning to kill off teenagers in a way that replicates classic horror movies. In order to survive, Jade is going to have to team up with old friends and find the new final girl in order to prepare her for what’s coming.
Don’t Fear the Reaper is another fantastic story from Jones and I particularly love Jade’s journey in this book, as she regains her courage, anger, and forthrightness. Along with working through her trauma, she allows herself to grow connected with, care about, and in some cases forgive the people around her (something she wasn’t able to allow for when she was younger). She has learned that these connections matter and her care for them is a driving force of her regained strength.
I also really liked seeing from the perspectives of multiple people throughout the town, which revealed how the traumatic events really affected everyone. It also provided increased tension as the body count slowly rose, since seeing through other characters eyes brought us face to face with the horrors as they unfolded.
Coincidentally, Jade Daniels (especially with a third book on the way) represents a final girl who can’t seem to escape the ongoing saga of violence that surrounds her — makes for a nice companion read to my essay “The Never-Ending Tedium of Survival” about final girls who are caught in franchises that force them to struggle to stay alive again and again.
Tracy Fullerton’s Game Design Workshop is an excellent read for anyone looking into understanding the full scope of the game design process. The book carries the reader through every step of the process, from ideation to prototyping, development and iteration, QA testing, and publishing. In addition, she provides Exercises at the end of most sections that provide the reader with an opportunity to further explore the concepts in a practical way, which also offers a means of building a portfolio of work as you follow along (a step that I skipped at this time, but intend to pursue down the road).
Another great aspect of the book is that it is peppered with personal perspectives and anecdotes from various game designers, producers, writers, and creatives who make games. They expand on some of the information that Fullerton provides and also share their journey into games, what inspires them, and how they approach problems during the development process. It’s a fantastic way to expand the scope of the discussion.
My copy was the 4th Edition, published in 2019, so some of Fullerton’s perspectives in regards to the status of the games industry (in Chapter 15) are a bit outdated, since the nature of the industry is constantly changing. So, I would imagine that a new edition could be due soon. However, the bulk of this book remains valid — as it provides valuable insights and perspectives on how to approach making games.