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"Mazes and Labyrinths" Q&A, Interview Compendium!

This is the compendium of all of the interviews in "Mazes and Labyrinths," my Q&A series with speedrunners and Twitch streamers. I ask them about disempowerment inside Metroidvania and survival horror games, specifically how mazes and labyrinths, along and their historically "heavy" contents, are used to disempower players. 

This compendium contains all of the interviews for the series, as well as relevant links to my work on Metroidvania, FPS, and other videogames. For more information on my exact research goals for the series, and on Metroidvania and survivor horror and what they are as genres, please refer to the series abstract.

Note: When new interviews go live, this compendium will also be updated.

The Interviews

CScottyW: A speedrunner with world records in Metroid 1, Fusion and Zero Mission. Read our interview here.

Behemoth87: A speedrunner with world records in Metroid II, and previous records in Super Metroid. Read our interview here.

ShinyZeni: A speedrunner with previous records in Super Metroid. Read our interview here.

SBDWolf: A speedrunner with world records in Castlevania 1, Donkey Kong Country 2, and Cuphead[interview coming soon]

Posts on Metroidvania

"Revisiting My Masters' Thesis on Metroidvania—Our Ludic Masters: The Dominating Game Space": My master's thesis explored Metroidvania and Gothic spaces and how they dominate the player in a Gothic sense (terror, tacit tutorials, Gothic scenarios). I've recently expanded on this idea to account for how these games dominate the player in a ludic sense. Separate from the audiovisual themes, how do Metroidvania, as games to be played, dominate players? How is this meta-narrative reinforced by the gameworld as something to experience?

"Why I Submit: A Subby Gothicist's Attitudes on Metroidvania, Mommy Doms, and Sexual Persecution": My current PhD research extends Metroidvania domination into a BDSM framework, especially the relationship between the "mommy dom" (a female authority figure) and fem boy (a feminine male subject) as illustrated by the player, but also and the Metroidvania's signature combination of sex, danger and standard Gothic themes (fear of assault, imposter syndrome, sexual abuse).

"War Vaginas: Phallic Women, Vaginal Spaces and Archaic Mothers in Metroid": Metroid, as a franchise, is rife with sexual imagery and Gothic displays of power. This piece examines those in detail: the phallic women (re: martial, Amazonian), Archaic Mothers (re: Mother Brain, the xenomorph queen) and vaginal, womb-like spaces (castles, nests) Samus encounters in the Metroid franchise.


About me: My name is Nick van der Waard and I'm a Gothic ludologist. I primarily write reviews, Gothic analyses, and interviews. Because my main body of work is relatively vast, I've compiled it into a single compendium where I not only list my favorite works, I also summarize them. Check it out, here!

I'm an artist and a writer. If you're interested my work and are curious about illustrated or written commissions, please refer to my website for more information. If you want to contact me about a guest article, please use this contact form or reach out to me on Discord (vanderWaardart#5394)!

If you want to make donations, you can directly support my artwork on Patreon and my writing on Ko-Fi!