The blog hosting this portfolio, Problem Machine, has been the primary outlet of my writing for the past year or so. I started it as a place to discuss subtle and frequently-ignored problems and assumptions in game design, but as time wore on (and I ran out of ideas) it drifted into diverse philosophical ramblings on the methods and purposes of creativity, particularly as relating to games.

Since starting Problem Machine, I have had pieces featured on the game development site and on arts site Other pieces have been featured on’s Freshly Pressed feed and sourced for the PBS Idea Channel on Youtube. My work is currently the #1 result for “Hotline Miami critical analysis” on Google.

Here are a few highlights, selected by popularity or personal favoritism:

“We are time travelers trapped in a paradox of our own devising. We are helpless to swim against the tides of our own fictions.”

“Isn’t there something appealing to that idea? That, at any moment, because we did a certain set of actions in just a certain way, we find a tiny crack in our reality, we slip through, and find ourselves somewhere strange? Somewhere impossible? Somewhere new?”

“Our memories aren’t just a record of events, they’re a part of the story that you tell yourself about yourself. And, just like the stories that we’re raised on, certain roles need to be filled: Friends become Companions, enemies become Villains. Everything becomes bigger and simpler and more important in the Story of Who We Are.”

This is not fatalism. I do not believe in fate. This is determinism. This is acknowledging that, even on the rare occasions in which we are in control, we are still controlled by our history in ways which are inscrutable to us.”

“‘Rule’ is imperative. It implies a ruler, one who creates the rules, and casts the player as one who obeys them…. If the players don’t observe the rules, the game loses coherence and, if pushed far enough, ceases to be a game… Conversely, ‘mechanic’ is distant and impersonal, implies something that happens as a natural consequence of something else occurring… and will behave consistently regardless of the nature of the input: An intentional tap, a malfunctioning space bar, or a cat walking on your keyboard are all interpreted by the game mechanics the same way, without bias.”


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