It was the eve of Brexit finally being passed when I reluctantly agreed. Perhaps, in fact, that was the apocalyptic sign I had overlooked. The public policy student who tapped me on Grindr soon thereafter suggested indie-coffeehouse Tinderbox as a meeting point, indicating that this date might not be typical. Worst case scenario would be that he merely ticked the hot hipster kind-of-a-douchebag (that I foolishly coveted despite inherent incompatibility).

To his credit I was slightly amused at his would-be star fucker stories, such as exchanging lewd DMs with a particular Drag Race alumni, but I zoned out somewhere between…


Final Fantasy’s first ever all female main cast.

With its unabashed and loving homage to Sailor Moon and the franchise’s first time casting of three female main protagonists, I intuited the joy to be found in 2004’s Final Fantasy X-2 as being closest to queerness as I could ever expect in gaming at that time. As a teenager becoming increasingly strident with their sexuality and androgyny, I was excited for the potential cultural shift the game might signal for predominant heteronorms in the JRPG genre.

But alarm bells rang early: at that point, female leads were all too scarce in the genre and those which were written fairly…


There are spoilers from Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater strewn in this feature.

In what is essentially the origins story of Big Boss under his initial CO, Naked Snake, Metal Gear Solid’s third entry is often considered an evocative watermark of the series. Hideo Kojima’s follow up to the divisive socio-political themes in Sons of Liberty was something completely left field. Snake Eater dialled down philosophical exposition on science and technology in favour of presenting a deceptive pastiche of a 60s Cold War spy thriller with a winking homage to James Bond. While providing self-deprecating anachronisms of Sons of Liberty’s


In retrospect: a very philosophical video game.

Almost twenty years later, Sons of Liberty is the one Metal Gear Solid entry on which I remain undecided is taking the piss. You might consider it the video game equivalent of Inception. Simultaneously maddening and ingenious, the sheer scope of social and political commentary that Hideo Kojima attempted to create at the turn of the early millennium is impressive if nothing else. Sons of Liberty was memetic in ways before memes escalated into the pantheon of pop culture like Vines and TikTok. It’s a game with idiosyncrasies that gradually make more sense in retrospect.

In the aftermath of the…

Stuart Gough

Utter geek who can and will write about anything.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store