Category Archives: Intro

New Basic Braining a Work in Progress: Theme?

As you can see, the ol’ portfolio is getting a revamp. At least, it’s getting as much of a revamp as it can, still tied to a free WordPress domain and theme. Wait… theme? Oh, how horribly confusing! No, this post is not about the template I’m using for the blog.

Previously, Basic Braining had been no more than a portfolio, a place to post all the stuff I write that appears elsewhere, but in one, convenient location. Well, I’m doing away with that, and making this into a proper blog. But what about? Ah, that’s the question. And that’s the kind of theme I’m talking about.

My first instinct is to make this a blog about game worlds, given my interest in worldbuilding. This prospect poses  a few difficulties. For one, my PC is a tired, old girl. She’s not running the Crysis 2’s or the Witcher 2’s or the Deus Ex 3’s. I do most of my gaming on console and I lack the proper means to capture the kinds of images that would be relevant to a blog about worldbuilding. Doesn’t rule out this idea, but it’s enough to give me pause. After all, wouldn’t a blog about worldbuilding be so much more interesting if it had images of the game worlds it’s exploring? Then again, this difficulty hasn’t stopped me before.

I thought about exploring game worlds in another way, continuing the game-crossing reports of Higgins Odious-Bonaparte, my thesaurus-dependent, in-game journalist alter-ego. But then I would need to change the name. Can I even do that? Hmm… I should probably know that. Not a good sign.

In college I once did a project to make a ‘zine. I came up with a concept for what would be a ‘zine presented as a series of journals by an archaeologist exploring game worlds. The first one was about the Mushroom Kingdom, featuring detailed notes and sketches of the various flora and fauna (I suppose that doesn’t make him much of an archaeologist, but whatever).

I could go all game diaries all the time. But I’d probably need to come up with a more interesting concept than simply regaling you with my in-game adventures. Even I know that’s only interesting to a certain point, paling in comparison to something as brilliant as Robin Burkenshaw’s Alice and Kev.

I just don’t know. Therefore, I’m going to give all of the above a shot (plus whatever else comes to me) and see what sticks. So bear with me as I try to figure out what, exactly, I want this… thing… to be. And if you have an opinion, please share! I’m not truly capable of thinking for myself. 🙂


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Hi, How Are You?

The main point of this har thang, obviously, is to get my writing out there.  Anything I write (at least, anything I want people to see) will go here.  But the other point is to further explore the kinds of reviews I like to write, in a non-review way.

About a year ago, I discovered Kieron Gillen’s New Games Journalism and latched on to the method like a tick (writers learn through imitation, right?)  Since then, what I try to express with my reviews is how a game makes me feel, not necessarily, or simply, what it does.  Since there’s no such thing as an objective review, I make a point of being as subjective as possible.  I try to convey a descriptive narrative of my experience rather than write an analysis of a game’s formal qualities (I do include some of that, for the reader’s reference).

I’m not so interested in consumer report stuff (previews, regular reviews), industry coverage (“news” i.e. free PR…not that that doesn’t have a place) or even the business or design trends.  I’m much more into the imaginary part of games: how imaginary places are created, how they work, how the game works with them, and the unspoken contract the player signs when they play — to what extent they can work with a team of unseen developers to become immersed within a narrative bubble.

So, branching from reviews I’ll probably get into some game diarist stuff and nitpicky minutia (<3), and see where I can take it from there.

In that interest, I’ll hopefully learn enough of Dwarf Fortress one of these days to actually get a story or two out of it.

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