This is Overthinking Games, a blog that does exactly what it says in the name – think way too long and way too much about video games. Whether we’re exploring the complicated lore of Hollow Knight or talking about how XCOM 2‘s turn timers are good, actually, we can’t help but overanalyze, overdo, and yes, overthink anything and everything about video games.
Overthinking Games is run by Daniel Alexander, who has been playing games and overthinking them since 2014. He interned at an indie startup working on the writing team to develop plots and characters, and then moved onto TheGamer where he wrote about games and gaming culture. He currently writes for and manages Overthinking Games.
Analyses are, of course, the articles where we analyze video games – and we say analyze, we mean that we pick apart every element of a title and hold it under a microscope to find the beating heart of its themes and messages. You may think that some games simply don’t have enough going on to justify such an extreme treatment, to which we respond with “Have you seen the name of this site?” Every game is saying something, and we will overthink until we find it!
Mechanics as Storytelling
Every part of a game contributes to the whole experience, and that’s what we explore in the Mechanics as Storytelling series. These articles focus on specific gameplay aspects of games and deconstruct how they are used to tell a story. Some mechanics may provide just a little extra flair to an already developed plot, while others can re-contextualize entire stories – either way, we’re going to overthink everything about them!
Our reviews will take a little more explanation than our analyses and the Mechanics as Storytelling series. These articles, unlike the others, strive to avoid major spoilers regarding story and late game content. They also change and evolve as we get deeper into the games reviewed and gain a better understanding of their systems and stories.
An Overthinking Games review score is split among five categories – Gameplay, Originality, Accessibility, Look, and Story (or GOALS, because acronyms are fun). Each category is ranked from 1 to 5, with 3 being treated as an average score. Our intention is to better communicate a game’s quality by not relying on a single end total value.
Gameplay quality is based on how enjoyable the game is to play and how well its systems work together to create an entertaining experience. Originality is a bit more subjective and nebulous than the other categories and focuses on what new ideas and innovations a game brings to its genre. Accessibility examines the ways a game helps players understand it, be it through tutorials, helpful tooltips, and customization modes. Look is all about how a game, well, looks, which can include impressive graphics as well as general aesthetic and art design. Story naturally covers the game’s story, including the narrative itself along with any dialogue and voice acting.