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What makes a great game?

For me, it’s the memories.

My friends and I have been gaming for over thirty five years. We’ve seen a lot. Like childhood memories, certain moments stayed with me. When I think back on my years of gaming the same ones stand out every time.

These are five of them.

I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I did reliving them.

5. Whisper of the Worm, Destiny 2

For such a social game, Destiny 2 sure made me feel lonely.

I played it at a time when I was estranged from my…

When mental illness turns my life into a battlefield, here’s what helps

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There’s a lot going on.

If there’s one my thing mental illness is, it’s overwhelming. My underlying condition is a general that operates far out of my reach, ready to launch a blitzkrieg at any moment. It sends in the troops — trouble at work, trouble with money, damaged and ruined relationships, doubts about therapy, loneliness — with the competence of a seasoned war veteran until my meager defenses are weak and beleaguered.


Throughout my life dealing with mental illness in the moment — when I’m on the field dodging salvos from the general — I felt weak and…

How a childhood of emotional abuse shaped my gaming habits

As a child, my bedroom was my secret base. It was a place where I could barricade myself and be safe from Dad.

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I didn’t like my Dad. Most of the time he was an abusive alcoholic. But I did learn some important, helpful lessons from him. One of them was the joy of reading.

Dad read voraciously. He spent half my childhood on the couch, his nose in a book and his gigantic, dual-volume Reader’s Digest dictionary close at hand. Reading was the one thing he approved of, that he wouldn’t tease me or yell at me for doing, so I read as much as possible.

For him it was Wilbur Smith and Ken Follett and Edward Rutherford. He liked historical fiction…

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The lawn looks wonderful today.

And you better stay off it.

I’m 41 years old. I’ve been gaming since the eighties. Atari, Commodore 64 (long live Zork!), NES: you get the idea.

I’ve seen a lot of change in the industry, in how games are made, marketed, and played. After thirty five years of gaming, I’ve come to a get-off-my-lawn truth about the state of video games in 2021:

It sucks.

Games-as-service, seasonal models, microtransactions…bah! It’s all junk that’s reduced the quality of games and destroyed once noble companies.

*hikes up suspenders and glares at lawn*

In my day, publishers…

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“This attack won’t bring my man back, the pastor right. But since I popped I know my man got the drop in the afterlife.”

It’s a cold November night in New York, 1993. Snow devils swirl and chase each other over the sidewalk. The wind is gusty and bitter.

The neighbourhood is empty.

No one with any common sense is out after dark.

A man hunches in his coat as he walks up the street, pulls the fabric close to ward off the chill. …

Image from Pixabay

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child.

I read voraciously from an early age and was naturally adept at putting words together. From kindergarten to university teachers and professors would consistently present my stories and essays to the rest of the class.

I wish I was encouraged beyond that natural ability, to work at and practice writing. I wish someone had cared enough about me to foster that ability.

Alas, that wasn’t the environment I grew up in.

I was emotionally abused. I had an unstable father who took out his moods on me. I was…

Musings on a beloved company I no longer recognize

Haunting. From the second the game boots up, that’s the feeling. I wander through an occupied city void of human life. Its streets are filled with hostile, intelligent aliens intent on hunting me down and destroying humanity.

Lessons from 40 years of living with bipolar disorder

Image from Pixabay

Laura looks at the clock. She’s been at the library for the last three hours. She’s prepped for her psych exam, finished her Classics assignment, and spent a half hour wandering aimlessly through the aisles. There’s nothing left for her to do. She can’t stall anymore.

She has to go home.

She sighs and packs up her books. She catches the bus. She gets more nervous the closer she gets to her stop.

The bus grinds to a halt with a squeak and a hiss of the brakes. She gets off and pauses as the bus moves on, wishing she…

Peter G. Penton

Grew up in Tilting, Newfoundland. Father. Reader. MUN veteran. Ex-smoker. Mental illness survivor.

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