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Showing posts from February, 2020

Visual Clutter in Brutal Doom/Project Brutality

With Doom Eternal's (2020) release so close, I wanted to write about Doom in general. This piece critiques a two famous "mods" in the Doom community: Brutal Doom, and Project Brutality (B&B). At times I wish they had vastly different titles to help distinguish them. As to the exact differences between them, I'll let someone else explain.

What matters, here, is their general purpose: to "improve" the classic experience by making the Doom games harder, faster, and... prettier—a worthy goal, but also where my complaints mostly lie. Having tried Project Brutality back in 2017 I remember enjoying it, largely because the build I was using—whether through its own status of incompletion or my inability to install the more dubious aspects—was generally in the graphical style of the original Doom engine. This means pixels; so no particle effects, transparency or motion blur, etc.


One problem I have with with B&B is their current treatment of projectiles, gore…

The Gothic in Metroid's Aesthetic, and a Super Metroid Remake?

I'd heard recently that a Super Metroid remake is in the works. I wanted to write about that, here, but also give my thoughts on remakes, and the idea as it pertains to the Gothic in videogames—specifically Metroid as a Gothic franchise.

Note: Written while listening to "Alien: Isolation ASMR."



Remakes are a curious business; they generally involve a great deal of reinvention, but try to preserve something in the bargain. For the Gothic, the thing being preserved is generally the "past." This falls in line with Metroid(1986-present). This sci-horror franchise might seem concerned with the so-called future. But it's also Gothic, fixated on the reimagined past.

This object can vary a lot, and has historically. For Walpole and the Neo-Gothic writers, the Gothic's sense of dislocated pastness came about through a cultivated aesthetic—of the medieval period distanced from actual history as it was understood in the 1700s; it took the form of castles, filled wi…

My Least Favorite Horror Movies?

I'm late with this post, and thought I'd give myself a little exercise this morning to try and speed things along. That is, what are my least favorite horror movies and why? To answer this question, I'll have to talk about movies more generally.


Unfortunately, if you asked me which movies these were by name, I wouldn't be able to tell you what they were. This is because, in my experience, even the so-called "worst movies of all time" generally have something to offer. Case in point, I grew up watching Plan Nine from Outer Space (1959). That movie is instantly special for having been such a horrible failure for all the right reasons. Yes, it's awful; but as Susan Sontag might put it, it fails in a way as to be enjoyed for the attempt, and for how seriously it was embarked upon.

So while I enjoy The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001), it almost pales in comparison to the movies it tries so hard to lampoon. It's aware, and trying to fail by emulating a fail…