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2015. What a year. What a show.

What happened in 2015? It was a bit of a blur to me. 2015 seems to me now like an office block halfway up a skyscraper that a giant gorilla threw me through at 200mph. I smashed through the glass on one side, had enough time to glance at the shocked faces of the 9to5ers as I hurtled by in mid-air, then had to immediately brace myself for the glass on the other side. It’s been the kind of year that, now I look back on it, I find myself saying out loud: “REALLY?! I wrote that this year?! Blimey!” Everything feels like a long, long time ago. Or it feels like it happened yesterday. There is no in between.

My only measure of time these days is the dates on the articles I wrote and how misaligned they are with how long I feel it was I wrote those pieces. One particular article I thought I had written a few months ago is dated all the way back to February. E L E V E N.  M O N T H S.  A G O. What the heck is that about?!

Anyway, here we are, December 31st 2015, even though in my brain we’re somewhere back in July when it was almost warm and not pissing it down outside constantly (not even a shiver of snow, I mean, come on Britain!). And as the only thing I have to share are my articles at the moment — yep, still single, surprise surprise — let’s do that. You never asked for a list of the articles I enjoyed writing the most this year but you’re getting it. I’m throwing it down your gob with a can of out-of-control spray cream and a dozen firecrackers. Eat it up with your New Year cheer, I insist.

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Intimacy, New and Old

The idea of intimacy used to exist in my mind solely as a physical act. I’m referring to myself as a teenager, mostly. Back then, when intimacy occupied my hormonal mind, it was measured by contact alone. It was a new currency to explore. Sometimes it could be frightening. But most of the time it was comforting and felt healthy for my well being. This has changed recently.

I tried to explain to my mother today how my mind feels as if it has solidified in the past couple of years. No longer is the cerebral a liquid, it is confident with a new firmness; I am adult of mind. I read the other day that your brain is, generally, fully developed by the age of twenty four. I feel this (I am twenty five now). I always hold my head up to scan the surroundings of the street so as to be aware, and not enclosed as before. I make decisions quickly and with utter thought, for myself, and others if in a group. I am informed and sure of myself with my mind leading the way above all. I take everything in. Processing and learning is constant and its own pleasure.

With this, my understanding and capability of intimacy feels significantly expanded, but more than that, it’s as if a new branch has sprouted that didn’t exist before. I know when a touch on the shoulder, or a cheek, should be refrained for the other person’s comfort, interjecting my own primordial impulses. Accidents run in fast-motion inside my head before they’ve happened. If I were a father I’d be protecting a clumsy child with this developed cognition. People almost feel codified to me, as if I have gained a working comprehension of the meaning behind all expressions, the highly gesticulated and the subtle. But I’m also aware enough to know not to think I can use any of this knowledge to truly understand a person, or even connect with them on any level, necessarily. To do that takes time, conversation, and yes, intimacy.

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Exsanguinating 2014

Woah, this year has been really long! Usually, I’d be reciting the words of my parents on the last day of the year – the one of reflection – when they tell me that each year passes by quicker as you age, but nope, not this time.

I left Indie Statik back on January 22nd, and it already feels as if that was something that happened to a different Chris Priestman, one from another dimension. A lot happened to me this year, now that I look back on it, and most of it for the better, at least for my well being.

(Below I write about personal stuff, if you’d rather read about some of my favourite work I’ve done this year then scroll down to THINGS I DID THAT WERE OK)

First off, my circumstances have changed dramatically and, finally, after four years I feel as if I have accomplished some of what you might call My Career Goals (yeah, whatever). I moved out my parents’ house for the third time and, finally, it feels like a proper and confident move rather than a temporary or arbitrary decision. Being able to do this was down to making some decent money from my writing this year, which was one of my new year’s resolutions, so hurrah, woo hoo, well done.

I guess it’s worth going over that in a little more detail, so…

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2014 Selection

Usually, at the end of the year, I’ll put together a list of my favourite smaller games that I’ve got around to playing on whatever website I’m working for. But this year is slightly different as I’m not able to publish my personal list of games (although it’s never entirely personal) on a single publication. So this blog of mine is acting as a sufficient stand-in this time around.

It’s a large list, as it always is, and I haven’t written anything about any of the games, i.e. why I picked it as one of my favourites of 2014. But I have split the list into two. The first lot are my favourite games, while the ones below the threshold are ones I’ve also enjoyed and think deserve a shout out (there’s many more of those!).

Obviously, if you know my taste at all, the games below tend to be strange and short for the most part. There are some skeleton games — of course there are — a number of first-person exploration games, and quite a few idiosyncratic 2D adventures, and some I couldn’t even label. Of course, there are plenty other games that I could mention (maybe even some I’ve forgotten) but I have to draw the line somewhere…

Anyway, that’s it, the list is below. Knock yourself out!

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Help me help you

Apparently, I hate free time. I’m now writing news every weekday for three different online publications, or websites–if I’m being less fancy about the whole thing.

They are:

  • Pocket Gamer
  • Kill Screen
  • Siliconera

Aside from those, I’m also running Warp Door, and sharing games on there as soon as and when I get the chance. So, technically, it’s four websites that I’m physically attached to by what feels like the majority of my brain.

Part of this means I get a lot of people trying to contact me about their games. Not all of it is of interest to me, at least, not in terms of writing about it. So I want to try to delineate what kind of thing I’m looking for, specifically, for each website. This will hopefully help anyone looking to contact me about their game and will also aid me in finding these games and stories that I’m after.

Doing this probably won’t change much, but I’m also writing this up just to get everything clear in my head, so it has other benefits.

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Unorthodox tips on getting the attention of games press

The video above is a presentation put together by John Polson of Indie Fund (previously EiC of IndieGames.com) on the topic of unorthodox ways to reach the press. He presented it with this video at the Full Indie Summit in Vancouver on August 10th.

John asked me to be a part of the video by writing on the two topics he wanted to cover. Not everything I wrote was included in the video as expected, but I thought that I would put it here, in this post, just in case anyone was interested in reading it. You should also watch the video for opinions and advice on these topics from the likes of Patrick Klepek (Giant Bomb), Jess Conditt (Joystiq), Tracey Lien (Polygon), Mary Kish (GameSpot), Chloi Rad (Pocket Gamer), Jamin Warren (Kill Screen), Justin McElroy (Polygon), Justin Davis (IGN), and John himself.

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How I got to where I am today

I received an email the other day asking for advice regarding how someone can get into a paying position writing about games. Despite not getting paid much, really, I am a person in that position, hence this person asked.

I wrote them a long email that probably didn’t help them much, but it does go over how hard it was for me to get where I am today, so I thought it would be appropriate for this blog. I’ve covered up the person’s identity for their own sake. I’ve also edited what I wrote to them and added some extra bits in where I feel appropriate.

The main point I try to make is that there isn’t really any advice I can give that’s going to be that handy. It certainly isn’t healthy to follow what I did. I also acknowledge briefly, but want to emphasize it here, that not everyone has an equal chance at getting into these jobs. It’s long been known that being white and male gives you more of a chance of getting into these positions. Basically: I don’t mean to imply that anyone can do what I did and get a job.

I’d also love it if anyone actually had some good advice on the topic at hand (I certainly don’t have much) that they’d like to drop in the comments section. Even if no one else does, I’d like to read anything you’d have to suggest!

The email conversation I had with the person is below (as said, with some edits).

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