Category Archives: News

Games Are Better Than Life

I’ve been sorting through my inbox lately in pursuit of the elusive zero. As I’ve done so I’ve come across some disheartening things: business opportunities I missed or let languish, messages from people who played my games whom I never responded to, and personal communications that (with hindsight) I would have handled differently or continued longer.

At the same time, I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed II (which I put off for a long time due to the awful DRM, now improved). Its sidequests have grown tedious, so I’ve been soldiering through the game just to complete the plot, despite the fact that the story would be a disappointment even if I got it in a 25-cent used-book-store paperback.

So much of my real-life time is taken up with things that don’t leave me with anything lasting, while things that are actually important have languished. What does it mean when I can focus on the important part of a game, but I let life’s sidequests distract me from the central plot?

It means that games are better than life.
Continue reading Games Are Better Than Life

Passing the Ball Released

A screenshot from Passing the Ball showing a parent and child in a field of grass.My latest game, “Passing the Ball,” has gone live on the GDC Online website. It’s a game about parenting, playing catch, and digital safety for kids.

The good folks behind GDC Online, a professional conference for connected gaming, commissioned me to create a game for Web Wise Kids. Web Wise Kids is a really cool non-profit that provides curriculum materials and classroom video games for parents and teachers that focus on teaching kids to be their own first lines of defense against digital threats. They help prepare kids to avoid online bullying, viruses, and dangerous adults by teaching them how to safely surf the web and use other digital technologies. They use their own games to educate kids and encourage safe behavior without a lot of fear-mongering. You can donate to Web Wise Kids here.

I tried to make this game communicate a concept about how to protect kids by using game mechanics. I’m usually a story-focused person, but game rules are a great way to make a statement about the way the world works. I hope that you’ll play the game until you win, get the message I was trying to convey, and maybe even donate to Web Wise Kids!

Play “Passing the Ball” at GDC Online at Newgrounds.

Interview on Quote Unquote

A clip from a screenshot of my unreleased OssuarySteve Cook interviewed me for his great quotation and interview site Quote Unquote. In it he asks some good questions, including putting me on the spot regarding the pixelly aesthetic of a lot of my games.

I go back and forth on pixel art. A lot of people regard it as amateurish: a way to compensate for lack of drawing ability. Others dismiss it as nostalgia for childhood games. I think that there’s bad pixel art and amazing pixel art, and while there’s definitely nostalgia there, that very nostalgia can be useful for artistic purposes. My own pixel art isn’t anywhere close to the quality that many artists achieve, of course, but I think it’s passable for my purposes.

Pixel art is visual video game shorthand for an array of things: childishness, simplicity, or even a sort of wisdom born from history. It’s also the video game equivalent of cartooning. Pixel art stylizes and pointillizes, making its subjects more universal and accessible. It’s also a deliberate acknowledgement of the artificiality of the device being used. In a time where the iPhone’s Retina display resolution is at the upper limits of the human eye, pixel art exposes the underlying structure of the screen.

Anyway, enough rambling. Check out the interview, and read some of the other stuff on the site; there are a lot of cool things there! He also included some previously-unseen pieces of concept art and miscellany behind a link at the end of the article, if you’re interested.

Character Progression in F.E.A.R.

An enemy from F.E.A.R. seen through the scope of a sniper rifleI’ve resumed writing for GameSetWatch. My latest column just went live; it’s called Character Progression in F.E.A.R., and it’s about how increasing the player character’s options instead of increasing their strength can prevent a game from feeling flat.

F.E.A.R. was an odd game for me. The shooting part was fun and pretty and it was just the right amount of difficulty (or sometimes a bit too hard), but the rest of the game was… not very interesting. The horror elements rarely grabbed me, the story was almost pastiche, and the dramatic twists were clear to me after the first level. That’s not even bringing up one of the most offensive video game characters in recent memory. Hey, it’s a fat guy! And he’ll get bumbling clown music! And you’ll know that you’re about to meet him again when you see food wrappers scattered around. Seriously.

So while F.E.A.R. is technically advanced for its time and well-designed from a gameplay perspective, I was ready for it to be over about halfway through. And that’s never a situation you want a player to be in.

“A Ride Home” Released

I’ve just released “A Ride Home.” “A Ride Home” is a game about patience, futility, and walking. It’s my first finished experiment with Unity.

Morning again. Time to check the beacon.

You can play “A Ride Home” at Kongregate. Give it a rating if you like it!

3D is an interesting tool to work with. Unity is an amazing tool and its free version is totally worth checking out for anyone interested in dipping their toes into 3D. EDIT: This game was made entirely with the free version, along with free tools like Blender, GIMP, and Audacity.

Interviewed by Casual Girl Gamer

I got interviewed by Casual Girl Gamer. They asked me about various things, including art and success, and I gave them some information on my current projects that I’d never talked about publicly before.

Check out the interview on their site.

I enjoyed the interview, and I like doing interviews in general. They make me think about what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, and often my answers are a bit of a surprise even to myself. If you want to interview me for something, like your church newsletter or your Fortean literary periodical, you’re welcome to e-mail me at Gregory.Weir@gmail.com.

“The Day” Released


I just released “The Day” on ArmorGames.com. It’s a game about birthdays, trading cards, and war.

It’s Tia’s birthday, and she’s looking forward to beating all of her friends with the new card her dad gave her! Beat the other kids by choosing the right cards, and earn more cards until you’re the best of them all!

And don’t go into the woods, or the guards will kill you.

The game is an experiment in orthogonal goals.

Play “The Day” at Armor Games.

“Narthex” Released


I’ve finished up a little game that’s partially a test for a conversation engine I cooked up. It’s called “Narthex.”

After a long journey, you will reach the Narthex, the waiting place before the oracle. There you must wait until your time. Then you will be given the answer to a single question. This game has two endings. The second is not worth getting.

Play “Narthex” at Ludus Novus.

The Latest Death of Morim

I’ve written another short story. This one’s called “The Latest Death of Morim,” and it’s about life, death, and music.

Morim woke up with his lungs burning. His whole body was cold. His joints were stiff, so stiff that he couldn’t move. He struggled to remember, to somehow grasp with his mind where he had just been, to hold on to some detail. But there was nothing.

“That one was the hardest yet,” a voice said. “You almost stayed dead this time.”

Read “The Latest Death of Morim” here.