About Me

My name’s Jonathan Cullen. You can call me Johnny.

This is a place where I write sometimes and also have other things of mine to show. A majority of what’s blogged here is about games, but there might be some off-beat stuff from time to time, like music and films. Or other things.

I’m a freelance video games journalist (Eurogamer/VG247/Official PlayStation Magazine UK/Kotaku/GameDaily.biz among others) from Derry, Northern Ireland.

In addition, I hosted the award-nominated podcast My Favourite Game, where folks from the games industry talk of their favourite game and the experiences they’ve had playing games growing up that have impacted their career in the games industry.

I also authored Level Up, a book about video games released in November 2017 that is aimed at those new to the medium, both old and young alike.

I’m a massive obsessive on all things Naughty Dog, Hideo Kojima, Radiohead, Jonsi & Alex, Imogen Heap, Lost in Translation, The Social Network, La La Land, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Arrested Development, 24 and wrestling (Bayley and Johnny Gargano mark).

PS: The name ‘StokkseyriBoy’ comes from two things. One, the name of an village in Iceland. And two, the main context for me, the name of my favourite song ever by Jonsi (of Sigur Rós fame) and Alex Sommers.

You can find here a taste of some of the works I’ve done over the years, from my time at VG247 and freelance writing. If you want more of what I’ve done, email me and I’d be happy to oblige.

Feature 1 – How Journey only truly made sense when almost everything had been cut (Eurogamer) [A making of piece of thatgamecompany’s Journey]

“Jenova Chen, the co-founder of Thatgamecompany and creative director of Journey, played a lot of World of Warcraft during grad school. And he always knew that he wanted to make an MMO one day – a form of games that are synonymous, rightly or wrongly, with scope and scale.

“And yet when Chen started to make games, the games his studio turned out tended to be small – or at least they seemed small, before you got properly into them. In Flow, you are a tiny amoeba or some such, swimming about in the watery deep. In Flower, you are a handful of petals riding the winds. These games are beautiful, but, they remain compact – nothing like the sprawl of a Warcraft.”

More here

Feature 2 – The Best of Us (Official PlayStation Magazine UK #100) [A post-mortem look on The Last of Us with Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann]

“What’s the legacy of The Last Of Us? A year after its release on PS3 and with Remastered now out on PS4, it’s a question that’s appearing more and more in discussions about the game. To people like you and I, it’s one of the best games ever made. But let’s come back to that and instead return to 2009. After Uncharted 2: Among Thieves shipped and got all the success it deserved, it was time for something new at Naughty Dog.

“Game director Bruce Straley and lead game designer Neil Druckmann would split off to start a second team. Straley would still be game director, while Druckmann would become creative director. Even then, this wouldn’t be the first time the studio would attempt a two-team effort.”

More here, here and here.

Feature 3 – How can great game design be taught? (Kotaku) [A long-form read on games academia]

“Some of the games industry’s most talented and experienced designers are making the leap from game development to academia. But how do you teach the art of making games?”

More here

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