Total Oblivion

"A fast-paced, suspenseful dystopian picaresque, part Huck Finn and part bizarro-world Swiss Family Robinson..."



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Skinny Dipping

Long-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and finalist for the Crawford Award. Title short story listed for the 2000 O. Henry award.

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Goblin Mercantile Exchange

Futures, Options, and Swaps (the weblog of Alan DeNiro)

Solarium wins Best Story Award

The XYZZY awards ( showcase the best of interactive fiction in a given year-with voting open to all-and is one of the longest-standing set of awards for indie gaming. And my 2013 game Solarium won in the Best Story category! Lots of other great games that are finalists-check them out. Thank you to my beta […]

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Fri, April 11 2014 » Fiction, Games » No Comments

Ambiguity in the Dungeon of Good and Evil

I’ve been getting back into playing a bit of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, a rogue-like, and came across this in the CrawlWiki, on the entry on “Evil”. I think it’s exceedingly well written and it can apply to a lot of games. Although the good gods in Crawl are portrayed as adhering invariably to moral […]

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Mon, December 23 2013 » Games » No Comments

Solarium design notes

So the 19th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition is over, and Solarium placed 6th out of 35 entries, which I’m very pleased with. I’m very gratified by the positive feedback and constructive criticism the game received. I thought I’d delve a bit into the making of Solarium-which ended up being similar to the gameplay texture itself. […]

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Thu, November 21 2013 » Fiction, Games » 1 Comment

IF Comp begins

The 19th Annual Interactive Fiction competition has begun. Judge and play games (a minimum of 5 games need to be played). Most can be played online. Noted without commentary: I’ve entered this year with a game made in Twine called Solarium. It’s always a fun event and I’m happy to take part in this (as […]

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Tue, October 1 2013 » Fiction, Games » No Comments

role playing games and multiplicity of narratives

When I was playing red box/blue box Dungeons and Dragons in the mid-80s (the Basic and Expert sets), being 11 or 12, and rather isolated, I often never had enough people to play a session of D&D in precisely the way that it seemed meant to be played: several players, each controlling one character; and […]

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Fri, July 26 2013 » Fiction, Games » No Comments

We Are the Firewall released + design notes

I’ve released a “game-novella” that I made in Twine called We Are the Firewall. It’s set in a dystopian near-future Minneapolis (and the Republic of Georgia) and has about a dozen interwoven point-of-view characters. It’s definitely of a piece thematically and style-wise to many of the stories forthcoming in my new collection Tyrannia, and the […]

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Wed, July 24 2013 » Fiction, Games » 1 Comment

Corvidia: cyoa game

I made a very brief CYOA game using Twine called Corvidia. (on Interactive Fiction Database) (play it now!) I had had the copy in a short story (well, obstenibly one) for awhile but the linkages in Twine seemed to suit it better: particularly in bringing to light what isn’t said. And also to have variations […]

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Thu, April 11 2013 » Games » No Comments

MMORPG Eschatology

What happens when a shared world dies? Witness the quiet, strange, unsettling end of The Matrix MMORPG. A grand finale was planned where all online players were to be crushed, however due to a server glitch, most players were disconnected before the final blow came. What had been envisioned as a last hurrah transpired as […]

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Thu, December 2 2010 » Games » No Comments

Metroid: The Other M; or, the Girl with a Cannon for a Hand

When I look at various forms of criticism and reviewing-literary, music, etc.-and consider how moribund they can be at times, I take solace in the fact that it will never reach the nadir that gaming journalism seems to dwell in. As a whole. I am talking about the various organs that are there to ceaselessly […]

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Tue, September 21 2010 » Games » 4 Comments

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

(This is going to have a fair amount of spoilers, so if you have a Wii and are thinking of playing this game, at all, don’t read this. Just buy the game.) Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is one of the most interesting games I’ve ever played. Now, this is also the first Silent Hill game […]

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Wed, February 10 2010 » Games » 1 Comment

The Gamebook/the Interactive Novel: Fables of the Construction

Of late I’ve been exploring and trying to fetter out online what in 80s parlance would be called a gamebook: a novel with choose-your-own-adventure (CYOA) plot branching but also with more of an RPG element as well-usually with a character with attributes and chanced to impact the story through combat and chance. Some of the […]

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Sun, December 20 2009 » Fiction, Games » 1 Comment

Zombies! Touch-typing!

One of my favorite gaming blogs is The Stack. Reading his posts on Final Fantasy V really sold me on playing it, which was a hundred times more to my taste than the rigid, overrated Final Fantasy VI (sorry, I know that’s heresy, but…). Level grinding is one of the few things you can do […]

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Sun, April 13 2008 » Games » 1 Comment

Deadline Enchanter news

I’m really pleased to say that Deadline Enchanter was a finalist for three XYZZY Awards-for Best Writing, Best Story, and Best Use of Medium-and won the XYZZY for the latter. Needless to say-considering I’m decidedly Not a Programmer, to find an audience for any of my game-creation endeavours is a giant thrill. I’m really appreciative […]

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Sun, March 16 2008 » Games » No Comments

Notes on “Deadline Enchanter”

I wanted to get some notes on the design of Deadline Enchanter, since it seemed a couple of reviewers were interested in the genesis and thought behind the game. (I don’t even know if it can be called a game. But more about that later.) So as always, these opinions are solely my own, and […]

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Mon, December 24 2007 » Fiction, Games » 4 Comments

KoL random update

So Kingdom of Loathing had a major overhaul, and has some really interesting new content, and some fiendish puzzles. Any puzzle that combines one of the traps from the third Indiana Jones movie and Gwen Stefani lyrics is a-ok in my book. It’s a weird game for me (a very weird game in general) in […]

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Thu, July 5 2007 » Games » 1 Comment

Fantasy Bodies

Really interesting analysis of sexual dimorphism in World of Warcraft characters: Even if you wanted to have a female troll with tusks, you couldn’t. Which seems especially bizarre given that this game is supposed to be all about fantasy, and turning yourself into whatever you want to be.

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Thu, May 31 2007 » Games » 5 Comments

Professional Starcrafting

I had no clue that Starcraft had professional leagues and stadia in South Korea. This is my favorite/illuminating quote from the brief profiles of the star players (who are really rockstars in Korea): Garimto had to quit SC in order to do his Korean military service, but now regularly acts as a commentator for games. […]

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Thu, May 24 2007 » Games » No Comments


Student arrested for making map of his school, considered “terrorist threat.” Ultimately, in cases like this, the students are decried by know-nothing authority figures who seem to imply that the student is unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality. But, I think it’s the other way around. School personnel being so brittle and imagination-poor that […]

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Wed, May 2 2007 » Games, Polis » 2 Comments

The Bullet Curtain Hits the Cast

This, ‘Speare, sounds so awesome (via Kotaku-website for the actual game seems to be down, alas). The game is your standard flash shmup [shoot 'em up] in which you have to collect the text of Shakespeare’s plays from enemy ships, periodically scanning items to reveal information about his works, which you will be quizzed on […]

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Wed, April 25 2007 » Games » 1 Comment

Notes on Worldbuilding

A really compelling blog post/article on Second Life vs. World of Warcraft, that sheds some life for me on what I’ve been thinking about this. I’m usually down with Mr. Harrison’s screeds, but I would think that any worldbuilder worth his or her salt (re: Calvino, Borges, for starters) are aware of, and build into […]

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Tue, January 30 2007 » Fiction, Games » 10 Comments