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Pop music’s greatest unasked question, answered. (I wrote this at 1 AM.)

In 1987, Scottish rock duo The Proclaimers released their most beloved song, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” a rousing declaration of bonds that cannot be broken by mere geographic distance.

Fifteen years later, American pop singer-songwriter Vanessa Carlton took it upon herself to one-up the Scots when her single “A Thousand Miles” rocketed up the charts in 2002.

At first glance, it would seem that Carlton would walk further for her love of you. A thousand miles is twice as far as five hundred, you may say! …


Or: How playing a video game for three months has made me a healthier, happier person

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This is the first time in my life I've actually looked forward to exercise.

I've never been physically fit. I'm generally in good health, sure, but I've been overweight most of my life, and exercise has always been a scary, difficult thing for me. Pretty much all of my hobbies and interests involve sitting indoors — video games, movies, TV, writing, reading — and I've never been able to find a way of exercising that I can keep up with or get motivated to do long-term. …


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The Lego Movie, dir. Phil Lord & Chris Miller, 2014

Inception (2010)

It’s possible that no single movie has influenced film culture more in the last decade than Inception. You can see its fingerprints on movies with mind-bending visuals like Doctor Strange, hear its voice in the “BWAAAAM” of every third action movie trailer. Heck, all the memes it’s spouted should be proof enough of its cultural clout.

There’s a reason for all this, and that’s because it’s really good. Some of the characters are a bit flat and the aesthetic can feel sort of clinical and dull at times, but Inception’s flaws are far outweighed by its inventiveness, its masterful editing and use of time, its beautiful production design and cinematography, Hans Zimmer’s iconic-to-the-point-of-memeability score, a set of excellent performances by Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, and Ellen Page, and a story whose multilayered high-concept mechanics don’t get in the way of a sincere emotional core. It’s Christopher Nolan’s best non-Batman movie if you ask me. …


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The 2010s represent such a huge portion of my life. At 24 years old, that means this decade encompassed everything from my middle school graduation to my first jobs post-college. I basically grew up and learned who I was in the 2010s.

As a lifelong geek, I’ve spent a lot of time processing my growth and experiences through the media I consume. This series of blogposts is my attempt to summarize my thoughts on the games, movies, shows, and music defined this decade for me. For some of them, it’s a recounting of my personal experience with the art, and for others, it’s a summary of why I think they’re important within the greater context of this decade. …


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I almost always have one or two major problems with the games I call my favorites. I think the Dishonored games have dull voice acting, dialogue writing, and character animation. I think the gunplay in Prey is pretty clumsy and not fun, and that the endings are pretty brief and weak. I think most of the airship section of Batman: Arkham Knight is tedious and boring. (Then there’s The Witness, a game I might call my favorite ever if not for the dozens of things that enrage me about it.) For these games, what I love about them more than makes up for the qualities that frustrate me. This is also the case for Outer Wilds, which I just finished. …


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Image by ActionVance on Unsplash

I have a condition called Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD. I am not an expert on mental health or mental illnesses, or even GAD in particular. I do know what it’s like for me, though.

Sometimes it’s a constant nagging feeling that something is wrong, putting me in a fight-or-flight mode, even though logically I know everything is fine. Other times it’s a tightness in my chest that makes it hard to breathe. I tend to be more sensitive to stressors, and when someone around me is exhibiting some negative emotion, I soak it up like a sponge. …


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Promotional art for Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the Nintendo 3DS

It’s been almost exactly a year since I graduated college, and suffice it to say I’m not where I wanted to be by this point. The past twelve months have had a lot of ups and downs — I’ve had a couple different part-time retail jobs, but all my attempts to break into any sort of full-time, entry-level position in a creative industry have been met with either form rejection letters or complete silence. I created an alternative controller project and got to present it at GDC, meeting lots of cool people and attending some great talks along the way, but it hasn’t yet helped my career pursuits as I’d hoped. …


What it is, what you should know, and why you should watch it

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I was very much a latecomer to The Clone Wars. Despite the fact that I grew up at the exact perfect time to be indoctrinated by the prequels — I was three and a half when The Phantom Menace came out — the CG animated show (and its 2D predecessor, which we’ll get to later) never really grabbed my attention. But once Disney came around to buy Lucasfilm and kick the Star Wars franchise back into high gear, I decided to give it another shot, to see if I had been missing anything worthwhile all this time.

I had.

Don’t get me wrong, TCW has had its fair share of rough patches, especially near the show’s beginning. It also didn’t help that the first few episodes of the show was released in theaters and marketed as a full-fledged, self-contained movie. But despite its issues, Lucasfilm’s unprecedentedly ambitious animated series The Clone Wars quickly grew into a mature, thrilling, thoughtful piece of television that could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best parts of the live-action saga. …


The Beginner’s Guide is a game I have some very complex feelings about. I touched on this briefly at the end of my “Favorite Games of 2015” post, but it wasn’t until now, two years later, that I’ve finally felt able to articulate how it made me feel. Here is my review/retrospective, originally posted on Steam. (Disclaimer: this will likely make very little sense unless you’ve played the game. Sorry about that.)

The Beginner’s Guide starts with a promise. A promise that the developer will be as open with us as he can be if we are willing to open ourselves up to listen. And I did listen. This game enthralled me, because it was bold and unafraid to do things differently. I wasn’t sure what the point was, exactly, but I trusted that Davey Wreden had something to say, something worth saying, and that he was speaking with a sincere voice. …


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A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend a games writing workshop in San Francisco by the creative department at Telltale Games, just a few blocks from the Moscone Center and this year’s Game Developers Conference. It was a week of firsts for me — first trip across the country by myself, first GDC, first time my writing was recognized by creative professionals as having worth. But the most revelatory thing about this trip was the surreal feeling that came with seeing adults talk about game development in a professional setting. The night I arrived in San Francisco, after checking into my hotel and changing out of my sweaty travel clothes, I decided to walk to the convention center and get a feel for the area. Within five minutes of going outside, I overheard a conversation between a few young developers about how they should spend their evening. This was about an hour after the Game Developers Choice Awards, so many GDC attendees were at various after parties in the area, put on for badge holders and invitees. …

About

Jack Ford

Writer, game designer, filmmaker. UT Austin RTF ’18. Indecisive. He/him. jack-ford.com

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