Bullet Dive is a series deconstructing the elements of shoot-em-ups. This episode originally appeared in video form.

For this episode of Bullet Dive, I took some questions from people I know on what’s keeping them from getting into the shoot-em-up genre, and what are good places to start. You’ll find the questions and responses in written form below:

Em via Twitter:

Completed scripts from unfinished game of the year videos

As part of my efforts to wind down, I’m cleaning out writing for work that’s been left in an incomplete state. These scripts were intended to be made into many short form videos, but I overreached and was not able to complete the videos despite writing and recording the scripts.

The videos that have been completed can be found in this playlist:

2018 has been long. When it started I was literally in a different place, with a different job, living a very different life. I was basically a different person. …

An incomplete introduction to Frame Rate as an aesthetic tool

Frame Rate, alternatively known as Frames per Second or FPS for short (not to be confused with the common abbreviation for First Person Shooters), is at its most basic is the number still images displayed per second to give the illusion of movement. The arbitrary measurement doesn’t matter — instead it’s the different qualities each standard imbues upon a work’s aesthetic that are useful.

I’ll be using a lot of comparisons to film here, since games doesn’t have established language to talk about the aesthetics of frame rate, and film it is a similar technology focused medium that provides the…

An introduction to videogames as art objects

my contribution to A E S T H E T I C videogame objects


Does this mean anything to you?

To some it’s a meaningless jumble of numbers and letters. To others, it’s an ideological battleground. Those numbers become a way to quantify the quality of a piece of artwork, and the competence of the artists who created it.

These numbers are the measurements, or some would say standards, for frame rate and resolution in the modern age. No doubt, there is a ridiculous, antagonistic culture around what a certain part of the audience believes is the ideal number that…

A meditation on the identity of contemporary Japan

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidora: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack!, or GMK as it’s referred to by fans, is the third film in the Godzilla Millenium anthology series, acting as a follow up to the original film, with a cheeky nod to Tristar’s 1998 film. Hot off of Daei Film’s successful reboot of the Gamera films it brings on the same team to give Godzilla a similar treatment.

GMK carries the signature of the team’s previous work: an atmosphere of mysticism with a touch of psuedo-science, a rousing score from composer Koh Ohtani and strong leading women (including the second female…

Why Godzilla?

In the American pop consciousness, Godzilla holds a particular reputation. One for absurd melodrama, rubber suits , and model cities. Casual conversations about Godzilla tend to devolve into surface chatter about the poor special effects or English dubbing, setting them strictly in the realm of fodder for Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Godzilla, and Japanese kaiju films in general, have been relegated to juvenile entertainment, no doubt assisted by its association with Power Rangers, Saban’s reworking of Japan’s other major tokusatsu export, Super Sentai.

Defenses of Godzilla feel almost as dismissive, laughing at anyone who would try to find worthwhile stories…

The invisible complexities of an easily dismissed genre

The Ninja Warriors Once Again screenshot
The Ninja Warriors Once Again

Beat-em-ups, brawlers, hack-n-slash, belt scrollers: whatever you want to call ’em, this genre is host to some of my all time favorite games. But it’s also a genre that’s thought about as outdated, shallow and repetitive — a style of game that’s too simple to exist today. Modern brawlers tend to lean on RPG elements to make up for this perceived simplicity, while 3D entries continued to influence and evolve into games like Devil May Cry, God of War (ugh) and even Yakuza. You could even trace a direct lineage from certain arcade games to the Yakuza series.

Godzilla! Arcade games! Aesthetics! Softcore…porn?

A rundown of possible topics to cover in the future. If you’re a Patron of mine you can also vote on which topic you’d like to see me cover first! I’ve reposted it here so that everyone can take a look at the topics and see if they find any of them interesting.


A multi-part series about how framerate and resolution can change the aesthetics of games. …

This year has gone on forever. When it started I was literally in a different place, with a different job and basically a different person. In real, measurable terms January was a lifetime ago.

What didn’t change is that great fucking games have not stopped coming out. Don’t believe what anyone tells you, there was a new interesting game out every month this year, if not every week. I constantly struggled to both get my hands on everything I wanted to check out. At one point I had over 60 tabs on my phone full of promising titles that I’ve…

God of War concept art

Contains spoilers of God of War. This story is part of Deorbital’s God of War feature series, part of an effort to raise funds for a new year of publication. Get the details here.

After becoming the the template for a whole generation of brawlers, God of War isn’t sure what it means to bring a new entry into the modern day. So its answer is to become an unholy amalgam of every action game design trend of the last 15 years. But unable to be satisfied with being an imitator it draws attention to itself. …

amr al-aaser

Editor-in-Chief of @deorbital and @clickbliss. artist. writer. Egyptian-Filipino American.

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