Welcome to the magnificent circus critique!




In super hexagon we become part of a larger body, where the central hexagon's beats become the heart of all. Everything in the game revolves around this hexagon, even the player, it marks the rhythm of life, with every mutation the whole universe changes.
When did a game strip away the player of the arrogance they're so comfortable in?
There is only one circle in super hexagon, everything is made of angles, this circle is drawn by the player's movements, that incessantly dances around the circle, as a planet in orbit. Yes, it is an entrancing experience, in a way, and that comes with dangers, but it is one that goes against the zeitgeist of empowering the player, of making them come over and over again. Super hexagon has no time for lies, no time for you, it is an entity that lives on its own and you can try to be part of it for a brief time, and when it works, when you are in tune to this larger than life being, even if it's a second, you successfully are inhabiting a place, becoming something else.
"To become something else" is such a well-known idea in videogames by now, it seems: become spider man, become Link, become this or the other; but no game explores the idea like super hexagon, and no game shows that becoming something else, while still being yourself, is not exactly something that you can achieve with the pulse of a button, but only temporarily and, shit, almost painfully.
The hard-edged critic, December 2019

I hate sea-side resorts; tiny little towns, they are, usually made so that one can drive by them without noticing they're there - unless you're a pasty, white, tourist looking for a hole to hide in for a week-end or two, of course. Menton, however, is an exception precisely in that it is not the architectural equivalent of a gummy bear - a singular, beige, tasteless, gummy bear. Its pastel-coloured houses, huddled against each other like so many anxious tourists, impatiently waiting for the beach to open on a busy Sunday morning do make an impression on you. They all feel deeply uncomfortable, squeezed against each other with their shoulders contracted as much as humanly (housily?) possible. It's definitely striking. Then again, I apparently did visit Menton and have no recollection of it, only stumbling upon it again while looking at Russian physicians. So there's that. What I'm saying is: take what I said with a grain of salt; I'm sure it's just as grating and uniquely abrasive as any other coastal town.
A strong C+.

By a pasty, white, tourist looking for a hole to hide in for a week-end or two, 3,000 B.C.E., Ancient Mesopotamia

On whether or not Sonic the Hedgehog would be circumcised.

Q: Does Sonic the hedgehog have a penis?

A: The fact that there is some sort of un-reciprocated sexual tension between Sonic and Amy, whilst not conclusive evidence of such a penis, does hint that it is a possibility.

Q: Would a hedgehog be circumcised?

A: A Hedgehog would not be circumcised. An anthropomorphic hedgehog, on the other hand, could, beyond a superficial similarity to human beings, adopt some of their customs, such as circumcision.

Q: Could Sonic the Hedgehog be circumcised?

A: Sonic the Hedgehog is a Japanese character. He is, however, modelled after the american lifestyle, as is hinted by his choice of clothing (or lack thereof?). Since circumcision is an American tradition, Sonic could very well be eligible for such a thing.

Q: Would Sonic the Hedgehog be circumcised?

A: Sonic the hedgehog is, however, a symbol of iconoclasty and counter-culture. Circumcision being, fundamentally, a conservative American tradition, one could reasonably expect Sonic the Hedgehog to shirk from it.

Q: Does Sonic the Hedgehog have a say in his own circumcision?

A: Although circumcision is, usually, performed at a very early age, Sonic could -even as an infant- go fast. It is therefore reasonable to assume that he could run out of the doctor's office before the operation took place or vibrate his penis at such incredibly high frequencies so as to phase through matter and, consequently, through the blade.

Q: Is Sonic the Hedgehog circumcised?

A: No, he is not.

By Theophilus the Younger, Anno Domini 145


Gossamer is a pretty straight forward experience to me, and that's actually real good.
Walking simulators sometimes tend to be overly grandiose, famous ones, like The Beginners Guide or even Gone Home (that I otherwise really like) never know when to shut up; there's been good, honest games out there like Proteus or Walking Simulator a Month that coincidentally have a very close relationship with music (maybe because both forms of art do not require narrative to express themselves? or maybe because of Kanaga's idea of games as musical isntruments, as toys). Gossamer like these two great games relies in the interrogation of the player expressed by silence ("In the art of not signifying without falling in insignificance" I once wrote, somewhere).

You appear, somewhere and you ought to move; where do I go? what will I do when my path reaches an end? The questions never reach a definitive answer. However, the ingenuity of Gossamer comes from the isometric perspective, reminding me of the few old games I've played and of RTS games. But the beauty isn't in the nostalgia or the raprochement this game has with those genres, but in how it fundamentally changes the walking simulator feel.
You see, most of Walking Simulator a Month, and Proteus, relies on what you can glimpse at a distance, not about the beauty of the objects themselves, but rather you looking at something far away and wondering what will it look like up close, and how you're gonna turn back once you're there and look at the place you started: it's more about space and the movement of your character in it, traversing these ruins, these worlds, than the beauty of the objects themselves. Gossamer completely changes this; by changing the perspective there is no "far away" to look at, no path you can follow (even if it is you that made it), sure, you can decide to move all up west, but that isn't because of the world, because of an actual belief, just because... well you gotta do something, right?

Gossamer reminds me of that moment in the Library of Babel when the main character decides to just constantly move in one direction to prove that the library is not infinite, instead of searching for truth, as we understand it, written in letters, they find truth in their traversing of the library, be it physical or spiritual. Even if that truth is the finitude of knowledge

Gossamer doesn't let you inhabit its fragmented world, you cannot construct a full image of its world and find meaning in it, and by changing the movement keys, from the typical wasd set to point and click, every step you take is a hassle, even if its a straight forward line. And it also plays with that special relationship with music, by making it so that every step is a little sound that perturbes the otherwise dreamlike, sometimes almost religious (but still fragmented) music.
I give it a Lemon out of Peach

What is it about cypresses that is so appealing? I just don't get it. December 2019