Critical Hits is a Kickstarted collection of original essays from the finest independent video game journalists and developers, launched in November 2016.
Critical Hits: An Indie Gaming Anthology is a collection of some of the most vibrant, insightful and unusual voices in independent gaming journalism and development, exploring everything from spatial design and existential fear, to the digitisation of female care and the representation of mothering, real-life games played in urban spaces, to the promise held by procedurally generated worlds.
A Kickstarter that ran through March 2016 funded the printing of and distribution of this book.
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.
Dámhín McKeown is an artist, game maker, and writer based in Dublin, Ireland. He has moved from fine art and curation to video games, and has produced a number of interactive fiction and web based works. He is a Saggitarius-Capricorn cusp and he loves his mom a lot.
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 Guardian, VICE, Kotaku, PC Gamer, Paste Magazine and the New Statesman. She wrote the best-named column in the world, S.EXE, at Rock Paper Shotgun, and had a regular opinion column at Eurogamer. 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 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.
Joe Griffin is a journalist and author whose work has appeared in over a dozen outlets around the world, including The Irish Times, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, Total Film and gamesTM. Joe's favourite modern videogame is Limbo, his favourite Die Hard is the first one, his favourite colour is blue, his favourite Stone is Jagger and his favourite Stooge is Curly.
Owen Harris is a game designer, VR designer and love of all things playful. When not working on DEEP, he designs games and VR experiences for others. He has spoken all over Ireland and Europe about games, virtual reality and the intersection of health and playful experiences. He is a founder of IMIRT, and organisation set up to improve the quality and visibility of Irish games, and runs the local community game design event dubLUDO. His mission is to bring about an increased awareness of the playfulness in everyday life.
Katharine Neil has worked in various game development roles (design, programming, audio, and writing) since 1998 in both the AAA console industry and in indie games. In 2004 she co-founded Freeplay, Australia's annual indie game development festival. She is best known for her role as creative director of the controversial early social impact game Escape From Woomera.is an ex-audio designer turned video game developer, and the creative force behind Alone in the Park.
Emilie Reed is a researcher of art, videogames, and technology currently pursuing a PhD at Abertay University. Coming from a background in History of Art and Museum Studies, her primary focus is examining the history generated by exhibitions of digital games in museum and gallery spaces, and developing new curatorial approaches based on these findings. Her current interests include overlooked game histories, including educational games and artists’ CD-ROMs, as well as speedrunning, DIY cultures and software making game creation more accessible. She keeps a blog at emreed.net and also curates GroupShowGames.tumblr.com, a monthly collection drawing similarities between traditional art, software art and games. She has 12.5 million bells in her Animal Crossing: New Leaf bank account and 100% achievements in Hatoful Boyfriend.
Austin Walker is an erstwhile academic and writer whose work focuses on the intersections of play, labor, and culture. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Waypoint, VICE's Guide to Gaming. His work has previously been featured on Giant Bomb, Paste, The New Statesman, Kotaku, and elsewhere.is a games critic, live streamer and an editor of giantbomb.com.
Aidan Wall (born 1990) is an artist, musician, writer and game designer from Dublin, Ireland. Their research interests include the overlaps between play and work, particularly in relation to how video game systems might reflect modes of existence under neoliberal capitalism. Aidan leads a research driven practice whose output takes the form of critical essays, publications, videos, fiction, lectures, performances, and tabletop games. They are a student of Critical Studies at Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam.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.