My main body of work is vast; this compendium seeks not only to list my favorite pieces for people to read, but to organize them into different categories and provide summaries for each.
I've divided this compendium into five sections:
- About Me: This section includes posts I've written specifically about myself, or my areas of interest (casual or academic) and why I study them.
- Interview Series: This section details the numerous and lengthy interview series I've conducted over the years.
- Gothic Analyses: This section compiles the posts I've written that pointedly analyze Gothic themes in media.
- Reviews: This section lists some of my favorite reviews—those which I think are my best-written, or cover my favorite pieces of media.
- Guest Work: Work I've done for other websites.
About MeMy name is Nick van der Waard and I'm a Gothic ludologist. This means I study videogames in a Gothic sense, which is to say according to horror themes in the academic disciplines as tied to the everyday social practices those disciplines (and their target media) represent. To this, I have my MA in English Studies: The Gothic; I do independent research on Gothic sexuality and Metroidvania, but also speedrunning.
"Why I Submit: A Subby Gothicist's Attitudes on Metroidvania, Mommy Doms, and Sexual Persecution": This post outlines my current independent research (which I hope to expand into a PhD at some point) 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). I believe this relationship is illustrated by the player, but also the Metroidvania's signature combination of sex, danger and standard Gothic themes (fear of assault, imposter syndrome, sexual abuse, etc). I outline these themes, but also connect them to their real world counterparts.
"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 post examines those topics in detail, but especially the phallic women, Archaic Mothers; and vaginal, womb-like spaces that Samus constantly encounters.
"Hearing the Gothic Past": This article explores the darksynth sub-genre's relationship between music and horror in media at large.