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Tuesday, 25 September 2018


Eagle-eyed readers will remember I occasionally mention working on video games. In truth, I don't have a lot of time to do this at the moment, but I still try and enter game jams (prompts/challenges) so as to give myself a kick up the bum to actually finish something. The latest one I entered was A GAME BY IT'S COVER, which tasks you to pick a fake Famicom game cartridge and create an actual game for it.

I choose RED EYE: A JOURNEY THROUGH HELL by Brent Ashe [Instagram / Twitter].

His description is pretty succinct and felt really easy to do, so I did it! --> 

An endless journey through Hell. You pilot an airliner between fiery rock formations as demons hurl pitchforks of damnation. Pick up and drop off your accursed passengers as you ferry them to their final destination. We love to die, and it shows.

You can give it a whiz via https://atomic-toilet.itch.io/red-eye either in your browser or by downloading to your computer. It's pretty difficult, but it is possible to "win", hopefully in a way that doesn't betray the whole 'endless journey' aspect. Hint: there are 30 Passengers, but you can't/don't need to save them all.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018


Hello! I know it's been a while; please excuse me. I started a new job teaching English here in Colombia and the schedule's a bit bananas, plus I moved house and we all know how messy that can get.

Anyway! I haven't really had time to do much creative stuff for a while now, but that doesn't mean I don't have some irons in the fire. Those who regularly point their eyeballs at this blog will know I submitted my most recent novel, A WRETCHED PLACE, to a publisher last year. Well, this weekend they requested the full manuscript! Nothing like seeing an email from a publisher, thinking "Oh well, here's another rejecOH WHAT?!" Fingers crossed they like it enough to move forward with it...!!!

That's it for now, but I intend to pop back on here later this week with news about some other re-ignited projects. HOWZAT?!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018


This post is actually going to be about game design!

I started teaching myself how to code in 2016, but my various efforts dropped off when I moved to Colombia (since I was busy having an actual social life for the first time in two years!). However, I did enjoy it, so last month I determined to try and make the most of my current free time by getting back into it. I've signed up for a game jam (which are regular competitions/prompts to make a game) with the theme GHOSTS and am making decent headway with my entry for that. You can eyeball a short video of the "cursed Atari 2600 game" I'm working on here: INSTARGHGRAMZ

But something that is closely tied to making games is the same thing that's closely tied to writing, for me: listening to music. Ever since I read that James O'Barr used to listen to music to get him in the mood when creating THE CROW (particularly Joy Division, early Pitchshifter [aka Pitch Shifter] and a bunch of other bands I also like) I decided that I would do the same - this was wwaaaaayyyyy back in the mid-to-late nineties, but it's a practice I've kept up ever since. And quite often the music does influence or otherwise inspire whatever I write (I have quite a few published stories out there containing music-related easter eggs).

For some time now, I've been listening to less and less metal and metal-adjacent music (unless it's heavy/mental, like Converge) and more and more electronica - especially really dark, heavy Berlin-influenced stuff. At the moment, I'm utterly in love with this particular song:

Mainly because it, for me, perfectly captures the feeling of impending doom, closely followed by some form of actual apocalyptic terror as the beat fully kicks in. Suffice to say, I've been listening to it a lot lately, and I think it's helping shape my current game idea (you're a park ranger trapped in continuously-shifting woods as dark forces hunt you, with strong themes of inescapable fate and futility).

Music is, for me, one of the most powerful and immediate expressions of art a person can make, so I fully appreciate anyone that can distill any form of strong emotion and/or theme into five minutes, whether those minutes are clanking industrial beatz or some catchy pop song. And I mean real emotion, too, not the dimestore schmaltz of many acoustic singer/songwriters. Love is easy to write about (badly, I mean) - give me stories about how we're all doomed no matter what we do. Sure, this is bleak but I find that sort of thing far more interesting.

And on that note (music pun!) and to end, here's another recent song I can't get enough of: