Critical Hits: An Indie Gaming Anthology

Design by Oh Hey Friend

Design by Oh Hey Friend

Gaming culture and game development have taken a front-seat in popular media. The children that grew up on Atari now have children of their own – a generational bridge that has certainly played a part in the growing credibility of gaming culture. More and more, the aesthetic potential of games is being explored and realised within other media, as interactive art installations grow in prevalence and publishers look to digital storytelling.

By its nature, gaming necessitates a different kind of involvement to cinema or literature, an involvement which in turn creates a strong sense of community through shared difficulties and aid given to overcome obstacles. Having grown with and adapted to its online market via community-focused initiatives like Steam, games themselves often feature online user forums, strengthening player involvement with the game and its world. The rise of the gaming industry, which towers over film business both in reach and sheer economic weight, has with its expansion born witness to the growth of the indie game world, and the cross-pollination within indie gaming subcultures.

From spatial design and existential fear, to the popularisation of roguelike games, to the representation of dating and an (in)complete history of walking sims, this collection of essays will bring together an international group of some of the most innovative gaming journalists and developers.

Watch this space!


Artwork by Imogen at Oh Hey Friend

Artwork by Imogen at Oh Hey Friend

Leo Devlin is a freelance writer, and regularly contributes to Totally Dublin on the subject of board, card and video games. He has also played hundreds of hours of Tetris, and sincerely believes that it is the pinnacle of human cultural achievement. 

Cara Ellison is a Scottish writer, game critic and video game narrative designer. She has written for the GuardianVICEKotakuPC GamerPaste Magazine and the New Statesman, wrote the best-named column in the world, S.EXE, at Rock Paper Shotgun, and had a regular opinion column atEurogamer. She was also co-writer on Charlie Brooker’s 'How Videogames Changed The World' for Channel Four television in the UK. Her writing and game narrative work has been featured in the New York Times and Wired, and she was one of the Guardian’s Top Ten Young People In Digital Media 2014. Currently she designs the narratives for video games.

Holly Gramazio is a freelance games designer living in London. She runs Matheson Marcault with Sophie Sampson, a games company engaging with history, physicality and public space. She started designing games after completing a PhD in online fiction in 2008, and also curates game events, including the Sandpit, a regular playtesting night for experimental work that ran for five years.

Soha Kareem is a co-Director of Dames Making Games, a Toronto-based initiative to encourage and support women and non-binary folks make and play games. She has exhibited artwork, written, and lectured about game design across North America. Her interests include open-source tools, DIY gamemaking, glitch photography, and interactive art. 

Katharine Neil is an ex-audio designer turned video game developer, and the creative force behind Alone in the Park.

Adam Smith is a video games journalist from Manchester and contributor to Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Zolani Stewart is a writer and video game critic. He is a contributor to ZEAL, and founding editor of The Arcade Review, a magazine on experimental games and digital art.

Austin Walker is a games critic, live streamer and editor of

Aidan Wall is an artist, musician, and writer from Dublin, Ireland. He graduated from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 2015 and is currently the Arts Editor of Totally Dublin magazine.