I’ve enjoyed my experiment on Medium but I’ll be moving to substack, where I intend to be quite a bit more active.

If you’ve enjoyed what I’ve written here, hopefully you’ll follow along over there. I intend to keep all posts public so there isn’t really a need to become a paying subscriber, but I sure would appreciate it.

Follow along over here.


my beautiful bros

I was gifted a PS4 solely because I wanted — nay, needed — to play Final Fantasy XV. The game had been out long enough that I had heard the discourse howling about its inherent badness, the unutterable disappointment of my beautiful boys as if we were all my father staring at a listicle of my most enjoyable life choices, the narrative brokenness, the button mashingly terrible combat, the feverish nonsense of its final act, and, of course, the absolute disaster of Chapter 13. …


Matisse, Music 1939

People fetishize the Classics in a very specifically interesting way. Usually, these people who see Charles Dickens or James Joyce or Fyodor Dostoevsky as the best humanity has had to offer are the same types who will feel embarrassed for you when you bring up JRR Tolkien. They’ll especially view his belief that escapism is good as incomparably naïve and, well, embarrassing. Embarrassing for him for having said it. Embarrassing for you for having repeated it. And, lastly, of course, embarrassing for them for having had to witness you repeating it.

I get it. Elves are lame or maybe racist…


A sense of impending doom, of unnamable horror, beset me when, in 2011, The Office released Michael Scott into the wilds of the world beyond the fictional documentary. At this point, many of us had no trouble describing The Office as a series in decline. Losing Steve Carell seemed like an alarm the network set off letting us know they felt the same.

And then there were two more seasons.

What happens to a beloved world when it distorts?

We have a phrase to describe this: Jumping the shark. When the world crafted by a sitcom begins to collapse and…


Pokemon has been a part of my life since a kid my mom told me was my friend who I definitely did not want to be friends with asked me if I wanted to watch something cool. …


I was a child the first time I watched a plumber murder a shelled dragon on a bridge over fire. I was an older child the first time I watched a treegod infested by spiders die even though I killed the spidergod. I was a younger child again when I watched my older brother’s best friend fight a transdimensional nonlinear apocalyptic monster with a sword. I was older still when, during a commercial on Toonami, I saw a spiky haired maniac wield a sword impossibly heavy for his tiny arms. I was, once again, several years younger when the mechanics…


I never played the many previous God of War games. I’ve heard they’re fun and exciting and brutal fighting games — and I love fighting games — about the Greek pantheon — and I love dead gods — so I knew they were likely the kind of game I’d love to love to talk about because I’m the kind of insufferable fool who will tell you about why Orpheus birthed Shakespearean tragedy and gave shape to thousands of years of reckless romanticism. …


It’s April, 2021. The pandemic enters its seeming tenth year and my Johnson and Johnson vaccine — which got recalled today, the day after I received it — courses through my veins, muddying my ability to focus and drenching me in feverish sweat. I look out at my Minneapolis street, flurries of snow falling over grass greener than I’d expect beneath an endless grey sky. A few days ago, a cop — head of her city’s police union, no less — was recklessly unable to differentiate between her gun and her taser and murdered a young man named Daunte Wright…


THIS IS US

Playing ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ opened within me a shame that fictional violence had never provoked before

“It was that sense of space — the immensity of our smallness in the grandness of existence.” Painting: “The Red Tower” by Giorgio de Chirico. Oil on canvas, 1913.

The first time I thought of video game designer Fumito Ueda, I didn’t know his name. I was transitioning to that nebulous space between childhood and adulthood, where you’re both yet neither, where your body’s flooded with hormones and you can’t help but habitually avoid mirrors.

Watching the commercials bisecting Dragon Ball Z on Toonami, I heard a fire burning, a door opening, and a child entering what seemed like a large church. The boy had horns, or a helmet with horns, and a glowing white girl followed him. Then flashes of gameplay: the boy dragging the girl, fighting shadows…

S Mulcahy

Reviewing old things.

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