This post is a little of an experiment, something more casual than I tend to write, as you can tell by the fact I’m talking to you all conversational right now. Hey, hi, I’m Jackson, this is me writing some of the ol’ words about video games, come in and take a seat on the carpet.
We here at Abnormal Mapping are having a bout of intense video game apathy at the moment, Matt’s getting way into reading, I’m getting way into music. This is actually great because having wide interests is key in life; the insularity of games writing and culture (even the alternative and queer cultures that we tend to frequent, away from mainstream space), is often their achilles heel. With this apathy in mind, I’ve been a thinking about what to put on the site, because whilst I want to follow my whims and my heart in terms of where I place my time and energy, I also want to build upon the work of the last year or so, and write more here on Abnormal Mapping Dot Com.
Long term, who knows what that means, maybe I’ll be posting short-stories and experiments on other websites, hell, maybe I’ll still be posting them here. We’ve deliberately avoided having a considered editorial voice, because we’re close friends and chat about our opinions regarding the site regularly. It’s grown in interesting ways that we’d have never pursued had we set up some kind of agreed upon mandate as a duo upon starting. The future is vast and fascinating, and interest sets widening and evolving, however uncertain they make the foundations you create for yourself, should never be seen as a bad thing.
Short term, it means I want my games writing to reflect my game playing, which has shifted far more towards small art games you can find on itch.io or Game Jolt, works that I feel are not best supported by 1000-or-so word essays, a form of games writing that comes out of both old guard review style, as well as the current wave of academically influenced criticism. The latter of which is something a great many friends of mine on twitter are part of, their conversations attempting to build critical foundations in games that haven’t yet been formed. The work these folks do is important and thankless (go to our Reading List to take a look at a few of them!), but ultimately something I don’t think I’m a good fit for. When I write long form, I want to be personal, confessional, with an emotional rather than critical focus.
All of which is to say that I’m playing lots of these smaller games, these pointed works that convey a tone, or an emotion with honesty and simplicity, and wanted this week’s writing to reflect that. The entries on this list share no connection other they fulfil that exact criteria, and I’ve played them recently, and think they’re worthy of your time. (more…)