Archive for the 'Video Games' Category

Super MAGFest this weekend!


I will be at Super MAGFest (Music and Gaming Festival) this weekend, Jan. 4-7, Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, MD, talking about two of my favorite things: writing and video games.

I will be participating in two panels:

The Retro Aesthetic and the Power of Abstraction
Friday Jan. 5, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
MAGES1 – Chesapeake G, H, I
Panelists: Vince Kuyatt, Luke Johnston, Oliver Surpless, E.C. Myers
Despite the gains in graphical capabilities, games continue to turn to the faux 8 and 16 bit aesthetics. Why is this, and how does this form impact our playing experience? Why is it that games like Five Nights at Freddy’s intentionally switch between 8-bit and 3D rendering for specific moments, and what effects does this create in the player? How would games like Lone Survivor, Undertale and Beat Cop function differently with a different aesthetic. What can we learn about using the retro aesthetic to create a powerful response in our players? Come listen to a panel discuss our favorite examples of retro game design, and why we continue to love this aesthetic.

Gaming Writers: Translating Gaming Culture Onto the Page
Sunday, Jan 7, 10-11 a.m.
FORGE – Baltimore 3, 4
Panelists: Meg Eden, TE Carter, Luke Johnston, Lynn Almengor, E.C. Myers
Writers will describe how games and gaming culture have inspired their original projects, how they break and subvert stereotypes about gaming culture, and why they turned to writing as a medium for translating their gaming experiences.

Let me know if you’ll be attending, and if you’d like to meet up, the best way to contact me is through Twitter. (I know, I can’t believe I wrote that either, but it’s true.)


buy 1985 today!

My new book, 1985: STORI3S FROM SØS, is out today! This slim edition collects three stories related to The Silence of Six series: “SOS”, which features Evan (R.I.P.); “DoubleThink”, which tells Penny’s story between The Silence of Six and Against All Silence; and 1985, a brand-new novella featuring Max’s parents as teenagers at Columbia University in New York City. You can buy it now only at Barnes & Noble. I’m immensely grateful that my publisher Adaptive allowed me to write these stories, and I’m very proud of them, so I hope you’ll check out the collection. If you enjoy them, or even if you didn’t, reviews are always appreciated.

To celebrate my book launch in true 1985 style, you’re invited to watch me play Gyromite for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), just like Brad and his friend Nick in 1985. Check out my YouTube Channel tomorrow night at 9 p.m. Eastern, where I’ll be playing the game (on an original console and tube TV!) and answering viewers’ questions live. Please consider subscribing for a reminder and if you like watching that sort of thing, because I play NES games just about every week.



Reference list for SOS

It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd

The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous by Gabriella Coleman

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Homeland by Cory Doctorow

The Circle by Dave Eggers

The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost

The PERSEF0NE series by Michelle Gagnon

This Machine Kills Secrets: How Wikileakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim to Free the World’s Information by Andy Greenberg

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald

The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding

The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That is Connecting the World by David Kirpatrick

The Vanishing by Tim Krabbé

The Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution by Steven Levy

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin D. Mitnick

The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security by Kevin D. Mitnick

The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers by Kevin D. Mitnick

We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency by Parmy Olson

Look Me in the Eye: My Life With Asperger’s by John Elder Robinson

Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon by Kim Zetter


The Fifth Estate (2013), directed by Brian Condon

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014), directed by Brian Knappenberger

Citizenfour (2014), directed by Laura Poitras

Hacker Wars (2014), directed by Vivien Lesnik Weisman

Deep Web (2015), directed by Alex Winter


embarrassingly late review of the original nexus 7

I’ve been promising to write up my thoughts on the original Google Nexus 7 tablet since it was released last July, but it always took a backseat to blogging about other things. With the Nexus 7 Mark II coming out this week, this post is as outdated as it could be, but I like to finish what I start (this post has been in draft form for at least six months). And if you’re considering getting the new Nexus 7, some of this may still be relevant.

The Nexus… From Star Trek VII

So when the original Nexus 7 was announced, I had been considering the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 as a birthday present to myself, primarily for use as a non-proprietary eReader. The prices and specifications were roughly equal for a picky but not-obsessive media consumer like me, but the Nexus 7 had a few other things going for it:

  • It was a Google device running the latest version of Google’s Android OS, with the promise of superior support and not needing to wait long for future updates.
  • The Nexus 7 was designed in partnership with Asus, which had produced my very first netbook (and perhaps the first true netbook), the Asus 7, which I was very happy with. I think I wrote a couple of novels on little Zim. (What? Don’t you name your devices?)
  • The Nexus 7 uses a standard micro-USB port for charging and connecting to a computer vs. a proprietary port for the Samsung.
  • The Nexus 7 had a slightly higher screen resolution, which was important since I intended to read on it.

Continue reading ’embarrassingly late review of the original nexus 7′


heading to princeton

Part of Quantum Coin is set in Princeton, N.J., so I’m looking forward to bringing the book there this Friday for an event called Buzz Pop: Connecting Teens with Books, Pop Culture, and Young Adult Authors.

liblogo2This program series at the West Windsor Branch of the Mercer County Library System is described as an informal discussion with teens and YA authors about books, music, movies, and TV shows — with snacks! I approve of all of these.

I’ll be joined by several other authors: Kit Grindstaff (The Flame in the Mist), Alissa Grosso (Shallow PondFerocity SummerPopular), and Evan Roskos (Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets). Books will be for sale! We will happily sign our names on things! Fun will be had!

I hope many teens in the area will be there. The event is free, but you should register here now to make sure there are enough snacks.

West Windsor Branch of the Mercer County Library
333 North Post Road
Princeton Junction, NJ 08550

Friday, July 19, 2013
3–4:30 p.m.

Many thanks to YA librarian Carolyn Aversano and the Friends of the West Windsor Library for inviting us! And thanks to K.M. Walton for connecting us. I’m looking forward to it!


PAX update

I ended up enjoying PAX East quite a lot, mostly because I was in great company. As usual, the Q&A with Mike and Jerry, the warped geniuses behind Penny Arcade, was entertaining and I loved the “Make a Strip” session, where the audience watched–and participated–while Jerry wrote the script and Mike drew a brilliant and bloody comic. With a superfluous pony as an added bonus! I could watch Mike draw all day, really.

Continue reading ‘PAX update’