Video Games











Ronnie James Video Games

Last Thursday night Antonia and I were watching the video for Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games.” Antonia pointed out that it was one of the first earnest video game songs she could recall — as most songs about arcade attractions are parody’s or novelty songs; campy cantos to clanging coins.

So, we Googled “video game songs.” While not every song or video on this Kotaku list is as compelling as the next, I recommend sampling every one of these finds — they range from early rap to Kraftwerk-ian synth scores to disco funk to…er…Joe Walsh.

To get you started, here are a few of my favorites…

Check out this mysterious 1980’s duo with their take on “Video Games.”








Can you handle performing a mind-scope of your subconscious? Create a mind map of your bio-energy? Become part of the first generation in know how to control your own nervous system? Just pop in the floppy disc:

Timothy Leary designed MIND MIRROR for Electronic Arts in 1985. MIND MIRROR empowers users with psychometric routines of the type Dr. Leary pioneered earlier in his career in a funny and insightful role-playing game. MIND MIRROR is both a game and a self-coaching tool. Play as yourself, someone else, an object, or even an idea to gain the clarity of MIND MIRROR.


Neil Gaiman, everyone’s favorite comics author, once again pushes into other media territories with his first video game, “Wayward Manor,” reports Mashable: Horror-fantasy icon and best-selling author Neil Gaiman is stepping into…


From the moment you enter The Room you’re hypnotized by the allure, the magick, the mystery… in a darkened room where faint amber light slips through a tiny window and a small…



Last May, Anita Sarkeesian–founder of Feminist Frequency–launched a Kickstarter for a video series about “stereotypes of female characters” in video games. The description begins, “I love playing video games but I’m regularly disappointed in the limited and limiting ways women are represented. “

With an initial goal of $6,000, it ultimately raised $158,922 from 6,967 backers. While this outcome speaks to the level of interest, Sarkeesian has written about receiving a “torrent of misogyny and hate speech” and “intimidation and harassment” from the gaming community.


Atlantic Cities describes the 8-bit-style smartphone game RIOT, a thought-provoking attempt to capture the liminal state which occurs during uprisings when order breaks down. I’d rather have my kids playing this than a game which makes them Navy SEALs:

“Riot” is a developing project in Italy that’s led by film-and-game director Leonard Menchiari, who previously did cinematography for “Half-Life” creator Valve Corporation. The atmospheric little simulator of bedlam, which runs on iOS or Android phones, is inspired by real-life political turmoil from around the globe.

There’s a hefty element of strategy involved, with the player taking on either the role of the agitators or the truncheoned legions of police trying to maintain order.

The developers have received modest funding so far on their Indiegogo page. If they collect enough cash, they hope to enrich the simulator by traveling to the sites of recent uprisings in Greece, Egypt and Italy to interview people involved in the conflicts.



The best late-night console game of all time? Lovely Sweet Dream (LSD) Dream Emulator was released in Japan in 1998 by Playstation. There is no way to win or lose, and no defined tasks  — except to explore one’s subconscious, set to a trip-hop-jazz soundtrack:

There are many strange environments in this world, and one way to travel through them is by foot. Bumping into people, animals, or special objects usually results in a stranger dream. The number of “days” are kept track of. As the player progresses, the pattern on walls and the form of the player may transmute. Occasionally the player may come across a man in a gray trench coat, commonly referred to as the “Gray Man” or the “Shadow Man”. He walks in one direction only. Getting too close to him will make the screen flash, the man will disappear.