Author: merritt k

  • The Web Game I’ve Been Playing Daily for Almost Two Decades

    The Web Game I’ve Been Playing Daily for Almost Two Decades

    This piece originally appeared at Fanbyte in April 2022. It was in my senior year of high school that NationStates swept my friend group. A simple browser game where you make decisions that contribute to the political and social contours of a fictional country, it was a fun diversion for a few weeks until something else online…

  • ‘Crosscountry Canada’ Was My Oregon Trail

    ‘Crosscountry Canada’ Was My Oregon Trail

    This piece originally appeared at Fanbyte in April 2022. When I first moved to the US in the late 2000s, I’d occasionally hear people talking about an old game they played in school called Oregon Trail. I had no idea what it was, because in Canada — or in Ontario, at least — nobody I knew…

  • Video & Arcade Top 10 Was Twitch Before Twitch

    Video & Arcade Top 10 Was Twitch Before Twitch

    This piece originally appeared at Fanbyte in May 2022. Video games weren’t nearly as much of a part of the culture back in the 90s as they are now. Seeing someone playing a game on TV was a big deal — so an entire show about people playing games was huge. Americans had Nick Arcade, which I…

  • ‘Creatures’ Was the Grown-Up Virtual Pet

    ‘Creatures’ Was the Grown-Up Virtual Pet

    I mostly wasn’t allowed pets when I was a kid. My sister and I wanted a puppy or cat, but our parents always said no. We thought this was our mother was allergic, but that turned out to simply be a front for the true reason she didn’t want an animal in the house —…

  • The Alone Sword is a Lost Ode to a Lost Game

    The Alone Sword is a Lost Ode to a Lost Game

    This piece originally appeared at Fanbyte in March 2022. There’s something about the early Zelda games that captured the imagination of anyone who encountered them as a kid. More than many other games of the 80s and early 90s, they presented a wide world full of possibility and adventure — so it’s no surprise that many of…

  • The Nice-ification of the Hobby Shop

    The Nice-ification of the Hobby Shop

    In the last few months of 2022, I started playing Magic: The Gathering again for the first time in about a decade. I got into it with Arena, the fully-digital version of the game, but then began going to weekly drafts at a local game store in Brooklyn. I haven’t spent much time in game or hobby stores…

  • Star Control III is a Beautiful Trainwreck

    Star Control III is a Beautiful Trainwreck

    Star Control II, often called one of the greatest computer games of all time, recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. For those who aren’t familiar, the game sees you take on the role of a starship captain tasked with uniting a number of alien races against a genocidal species of giant centipedes called the Kohr-Ah. You…

  • LAN Party

    LAN Party

    For some time now, I’ve been working on a photo book called LAN Party. It began as an off-the-cuff joke tweet about wanting a coffee table book full of photos of awkward, Y2K-era teens staging elaborate in-person Counter-Strike and Starcraft battles and the response was enough for me to take the idea to a publisher. The book is now fully…

  • Pivot to Web

    Pivot to Web

    Illustrated by Ike Whitehead, written by Eric Thurm and me. All arachnid-themed superheroes are the property of their rights holders.

  • A Conversation With Zophar of Zophar’s Domain

    A Conversation With Zophar of Zophar’s Domain

    I spoke to Zophar earlier this year for the Forgotten Worlds episode on emulation in the early 2000s, but not much of the conversation made in it into the video. Here is the full interview, which paints a detailed picture of the development of Zophar’s Domain in the late 1990s. merritt: How did you get…