Ariana Grande and the Subject of Vulnerability in Video Games


Over the past few weeks, I have been on a serious Ariana Grande bender. Though I’ve been a fan of hers since she released the trap-pop bop “Everyday“, her new album Thank U, Next has been playing from front-to-back in my headphones almost non-stop.

As much as I love every song on that album, one cut on the LP particularly stands out. Track 2, titled “needy”, speaks to the very core of how I approach the subject of love word-for-word, as flawed as it might be.

I’ma scream and shout for what I love
Passionate but I don’t give no f****
I admit that I’m a lil’ messed up
But I can hide it when I’m all dressed up
I’m obsessive and I love too hard
Good at overthinking with my heart
How you even think it got this far?

– Ariana Grande, “needy”

Having listened to this song about 100 times in a month, it got me thinking about the medium of video games. Are there any video games that I’ve played that speak to me in that same way? That cut right down to the very core of who I am, warts and all?

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Game Design Talk: Being Exposed in Stealth-Based Games

Not too long ago, I played Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay for the first time. I was really digging its first-person stealth action in theory, but the experience fell apart for me very quickly. I got to a point early on where Riddick had to fight his enemies in a head-on manner and it just did not work out well for me. Even when I lowered the difficulty to easy, I kept getting smoked by the computer. It seemed like when I was forced to defend myself in a non-stealthy way, Riddick was seemingly useless.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not good at stealth games. But I think there’s something to be said about the way stealth is implemented in games, particularly when a player has to fight outside the context of stealth.

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Dreams of Working in the Game-Making Industry

Do you have dreams of making video games? If so, are you actively honing your skills? Or are your dreams simmering in the back of your mind till the time comes?

There was a brief moment in time as a kid when I listed “video game maker” as one of my dream jobs. Though I had no idea what the process of making a video game entailed, it seemed like a logical occupation to aim for because of my love for the medium. I sort of wish I could tell you that my story ends happily ever after with the dream game-making job (whatever that means), but my story may at least be blog post worthy.

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In Defense of Japanese Hamburgers

Not too long ago, I played Ninja Gaiden II on the XBOX 360. Though I had a number of problems with it, I would never criticize it for not being “western” enough. Apparently, Team Ninja didn’t feel the same way. They tried to infuse their franchise with elements considered to be western, which proved to be a failure for Ninja Gaiden III.

In an interview with Gamasutra, Team Ninja head Yosuke Hayashi explained what happened.

“It seems like we made a Japanese hamburger for the west…Maybe as a Japanese developer, we need to make good Japanese food … and that’s what people are wanting from a Japanese developer.”

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Check Out My Editorial Piece “May The Lesser Man Win” Now on

Up now on Splitkick is my first editorial piece for them entitled “May the Lesser Man Win: Parallels Between Boxing’s Latest Debacle and Modern-Day Fighting Game Design“. The idea for the piece has been floating around in my head for awhile, but the recent bout between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley ultimately was the catalyst for me pulling those ideas into a fully-formed piece. If an op-ed piece about the role of field-leveling mechanics in fighting games is something of interest to you, definitely head over to Splitkick to check it out!

This is also my first piece as a Staff Writer, which Splitkick announced officially in their one-year anniversary celebration post. Thanks to everyone on the Splitkick team for embracing me as one of their own. It’s been a pleasure working with Splitkick and I’m looking forward our future endeavours!

Game Design Talk: Video Games With Slow Starts

I’m currently in the process of playing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Zelda games have been the subject of much debate in terms of game design, but today I’d like to focus on one particular aspect of the game. The first 90 minutes to two hours of that game are slow. Painfully slow. As a Zelda fan, I’m willing to ‘tough it out’ through the intro piece of the game for the sweet, meaty filling, but it shouldn’t ever have to be this way for any game.

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