To Wii Sports We Resort

It’s been a while 🙂 Work is busy, and so is Open University! A quick aside: In the heady fervour of No Man’s Sky’s launch I started blogging about my journey. But despite really enjoying the game, time has sucked away my play, and long before that my blogging. I doubt that particular blogging flight will resume, but I will return to my explorations. (I guess I wanted to stake ownership of that other blog, and also make it clear it didn’t fall off a cliff because I didn’t like the game. Though I like to imagine an interpretation where the stars-in-their-eyes explorer met a random and unexpected end.)

Anyhoo, recently I felt moved enough to write this instead, shortly and swiftly.

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Zee Shanty Competition: The Unzinkable Zubmariners

(My entry for Failbetter Games’ Zee Shanty Competition.)

(The soloist leads with the ‘delicate’ zailor calls, and the group follows with the stronger zubmariner responses. Alternates between the zailor part and the zubmariner part every pair of verse lines. All sing the chorus.)

The Unzinkable Zubmariners

A shapely beauty that’s our ship,
waltzing across the zee.
A sinewy bullet that’s our zub—

Overboard, rats!—
This tub’s a-sinking like a filling bath!
Fly away, bats!—
This zub’s arising like an angler crab!

We’re zailors steaming for the stars,
we chug a measured stroke.
Zubmariners go boldly down
to dark thicker than smoke!

Overboard, rats!—
This tub’s a-sinking like a filling bath!
Fly away, bats!—
This zub’s arising like an angler crab!

Our keel is keeling over,
the captain ate the crew …
Our periscope’s a gaping eye
we’ll carve your ship in two!

Word count: 97

Fallen London is © 2015 and ™ Failbetter Games Limited: This is an unofficial fan work.

Shorght: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Rey and BB-8

Image: Rey and BB-8, (c) Jonathan Guzi, used with permission. Source: Deviant Art.

(Short thoughts on something I played, watched or read recently, mainly—but not exclusively—looking at narrative and language)

(Spoiler warning)

I enjoyed the film much more on the second viewing. I think like many, my hopes were astronomical to begin with. The first viewing was okay. I liked the new characters—Rey in particular was a strong and badass female lead. The banter between Finn and Han was genuinely funny, and the new long sword lightsabre design was cool!

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Sudden Fiction: Do Not Question the Keeper

War for the Overworld

Image: War for the Overworld, (c) Subterranean Games Ltd., used with permission.

(I recently started working with the talented team behind War for the Overworld. As part of familiarising myself with the themes and tone of this game, and one of its main inspirations, Dungeon Keeper, I wrote this sudden fiction.)

Audience: 12+

Content warning: Violence

Language: British English

They’re on their way, those pampered, peace-loving princesses and princes of Grinmoor! Percival, my Warlock, says that I should reconsider fortifying the dungeon. Don’t you, Percival? That I should fight them cleanly and honestly—no dastardly traps or sadistic set-ups. He used the word, ‘karma’, and said I should be wary of what I sow.

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Child of Rhyme

Poetic Analysis: Child of Light

Aurora and Igniculus

Image: Child of Light, (c) Longjunt, used with permission. Source: Deviant Art.

Child of Light is visually and aurally a beautiful game, with I’m sure an engaging story to tell. But I’m struggling to get on with it because of the poetry. I think it’s great that games are embracing the poetic form; I can think of some really innovative examples, like Molleindustria’s ERGON/LOGOS (branching experimental visual poetry), or the career-poetry of Fallen London and A House of Many Doors (the latter tackling procedural composition to surreal and absurd effect).

In Child of Light, poetry pervades most of the game text: dialogue, cutscenes – even some tooltips! It’s audacious, and at first I was wowed. But soon the poetry begins to break down, violating what I’ve come to appreciate as some of the core principles of the medium.

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A Furious Fixation

Narrative Analysis: Mad Max: Fury Road

FuriosaImage: Furiosa, (c) Ikac Cass, used with permission. Source: Deviant Art.

(This post contains spoilers for the film Mad Max: Fury Road – I recommend watching the film first before you read it. If you’re quick, you might still catch it at the cinema 🙂 It really is worth seeing on the big screen.)

Audience: 16+ (It discusses elements of the film that might not be suitable for some readers.)


Mad Max: Fury Road has captivated me. Undoubtedly the spectacle of choreographed action and sound has a lot to do with that, but I believe much of its strength also comes from the narrative at the heart of this dystopian tour de force. So in the interests of furthering my knowledge and understanding, here is my analysis of how the narrative achieves its power.


The film is a post-apocalyptic road movie, realised vividly by the action and setting. But it goes deeper than that. The plot almost solely focuses on the struggle of Imperator Furiosa and Immortan Joe’s five wives, to escape the bondage imposed by Joe and his War Boys. So drama becomes a constant subversion of the action, keeping the viewer hooked as much as the action keeps them awed.


Characters are the most important part of any narrative. Engaging characters are well-realised, with complex and sometimes contradicting layers to their personalities and motivations. Evocative characters often change in some significant way over the course of a journey; they also have fleshed out backstories, which are drawn from during the narrative to support who they are. All of the main characters in Fury Road adhere to some or all of these points, as shown below.

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