Hello, Kill Screen! Celebrating Twin Peaks and Deadly Premonition

Today I’m happy to introduce my first piece for Kill Screen: “How Twin Peaks finds new life in the world of Deadly Premonition.”

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As you can guess from the headline, the story links the popular nineties’ television show Twin Peaks to the cult hit video game Deadly Premonition, which got reprinted today as a director’s cut for PlayStation 3.

I’m obsessed with both fictions, so I had a lot of fun writing the article. It was cool getting some answers from the game’s designer, “Swery.” Big thanks to everyone who helped make the article so awesome and polished in its final form.

I’ve written about Twin Peaks before. Click here for a fun rundown of the best and worst characters and all their drama.

Awesome book cover Friday: Men and Cartoons

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another book cover pick for your pleasure. Today’s is Men and Cartoons: Stories by Jonathan Lethem.

Men and Cartoons

Here’s a description:

A boozy ex-military captain trapped in a mysterious vessel searches for his runaway son, an aging superhero settles into academia, and a professional “dystopianist” receives a visit from a suicidal sheep. Men and Cartoons contains eleven fantastical, amusing, and moving stories written in a dizzying array of styles that shows the remarkable range and power of Lethem’s vision. Sometimes firmly grounded in reality, and other times spinning off into utterly original imaginary worlds, this book brings together marvelous characters with incisive social commentary and thought provoking allegories.

I chose this cover because, well, I love anything to do with comics and cartoons, and this has a nice vintage feel about it. It looks like someone glued it together from scraps of newspaper.

Do you like it, or is it a little bit too old-looking for your tastes?

And what’s on everybody’s agenda this weekend? I’m finally taking a much-deserved break and kicking back with some good food and a whole lotta nothin’ this weekend. My boyfriend and I finished watching Twin Peaks, and holy god. Worst ending ever. EVER. So I’m dragging him out to the video store to find the prequel/sequel movie because there’s no way I can end on that note. It pretty much makes me want to do this:

I plan to get a little bit of reading and gaming in this weekend, too, because I’ve been wretchedly busy this week. I wrote an article every day for GamesBeat (one is going up today), did my other news as usual and my new Saturday mobile-games feature for GameZone (thanks, iPad!), and prepped my weekly comics article that’s going up this Sunday for Impulse. Whew! Lots going on. And I think I’ll have a book review up tomorrow for The Jazz Cage.

I’m pretty excited to be reviewing some cool games again soon — Double Fine’s The Cave and the new Sly Cooper if those names mean anything to you. And I received a pretty awesome email from the editor-in-chief of a website I had pitched to last year and never heard from. The site finally got around to looking at my pitch, and while it wasn’t for them, the EIC said he’d love to hear more from me. I’ll take that as a good step forward!

Anyway, I’m definitely not looking forward to meeting with my tax guy in February. No-siree.

Top 10 best and worst characters of Twin Peaks (and what they teach about writing)

Twin Peaks

OK, so I am obsessed with the TV drama Twin Peaks. If you’re not familiar with it, then you either weren’t old enough in 1990 or you haven’t discovered it on Netflix yet (get cracking). Part of it is because of how ridiculously similar designer Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro’s great game Deadly Premonition is to it, particularly the first season — seriously, I could compose a whole article about everything they share in common. But since this isn’t a video game blog, I wanted to tie it back to writing (duh).

The 10 best and worst characters change dramatically over the course of the show,* but they’re also extremely likeable or easily loathed. Some of them I’ve grouped into pairs. (Everyone knows Agent Cooper is awesome, so I’ve left him off this list.)

Here’s what we can learn from them, whether or not you watch the show.

Some slight spoilers ahead.

The five best

Ed Hurley and Norma Jennings

Twin Peaks Ed Norma

In a show filled with psychotic murderers, abusive husbands, rebellious teenagers, and good-clean cops (note: all stereotypes), you crave normal. The town of Twin Peaks is anything but. This is a drama, after all, so the sticky situations the characters constantly find themselves in are naturally overblown.

Ed and Norma — lifelong friends who love each other but could never be together — are the best example of the sense of stability that’s missing from most of the show. While characters like protagonist/FBI agent Dale Cooper are reliably moral and just, Ed and Norma aren’t perfect by most people’s standards. Like many on the show, they partake in adulterous behavior, but unlike the other characters, you don’t hate them for it. You might actually cheer them on.

Ben and Audrey Horne

Twin Peaks Ben Horne

I wanted to discuss businessman Ben Horne and his daughter Audrey together because of how their relationship grows. Ben’s not exactly a model guy — he’s kind of a scumbag — but I liked him more and more as the show went on. He has this vibe about him like he knows how incredibly weird and messed up the goings-on of Twin Peaks are even if he’s responsible for some of them. He might not be as a physically intimidating or calculating as some of the other characters (Hank and Catherine, for instance), but he always bounces back and adapts to fickle situations. When everyone else is super serious, you can count on Ben for some levity — and a reality check. A character doesn’t have to be a good guy for him to be likeable or relatable.

Twin Peaks Audrey

Audrey is just as admirable as her father, if in different ways. She starts out as this immature high schooler until her childish tricks almost get her killed. From then on, she’s no longer a little girl crying for daddy’s attention. She’s determined to grow up, learn the business, and earn her father’s (and everyone else’s) respect the hard way. I gotta love her for that. Believable growth is just as important for turning a unlikeable character into a favorite one.

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