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Games provide me with a diverse range of miniature worlds to explore. I'm fascinated by the myriad of ways these microcosms recreate elements of reality. Even the most fantastical or abstract games stem from real world concepts when studied under the scope. Far from being mindless escapism, playing games prompts me to reflect on the concepts presented and how they inform my outlook.
Even as a child staring at a couple of blocky shapes on a screen, I found it very natural to project myself into virtual landscapes. I've never confused a game for reality, but they can be valuable and relevant to my daily life.
Maybe because of my background in ecology, I call these worlds created in games microcosms, and each takes inspiration from the real world on some level. They tap into my desires and inclinations, ranging from relaxation to overcoming challenges to living out a fantasy. They allow me to safely experience actions and ideas without being stuck with the outcomes.
Games emulate both mundane and bizarre elements of our lives, putting our world and thoughts under the microscope. They have the potential to depict the full range of human experience, emotion, culture and opinion.
In my Microcosm Gamer project I'm seeking out games that don't just mimic life but that break the mould in some way, and give me something new to think about. I most appreciate games that cause me to ponder meaningful concepts and emotions, and those are not always the games you might expect. A wide variety of ideas can come out of the themes, characters, stories and mechanics I encounter.
In my Microcosm game reviews I dial in on elements that reflect real life in miniature and that connect meaningfully with me. I look at games as life under the scope and am always on the lookout for how they can inform my reality.
As well as all this I'm also very interested in the experiences of other gamers, and like to hear other points of view. I'm happy to engage in friendly discussion and debate. So please feel free to post comments, message me on Twitter or Facebook, or visit my blog. I'm looking forward to discussing game experiences with all of you.
Here are my game reviews.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: