Writing


Below are a collection of articles, blog posts, and short features I have written for a variety of sources. If you’d like me to pitch for your publication, feel free to get in touch with me via email: michael.iantorno@gmail.com.


Ephemeral Games and Ambiguous Rights (Pause Button)

Since the advent of digital marketplaces, the idea of ownership has become somewhat enigmatic. Although new technologies offer us unprecedented access to game assets and algorithms – something that was nearly unheard of in the hard plastic days – sprawling End User License Agreements (EULA) and stringent Digital Rights Management (DRM) software are contesting and restricting our ownership. Browsing through a games library on Blizzard or Steam feels more like surfing the web than sifting through a collection. Every title has gained an amorphous quality, changing constantly through iterative patches and updates. In many ways we’ve relinquished control over the games we have purchased, as developers can add or subtract content on a whim. This raises a troubling question: do we even own the games that we play?..


Gloomhaven: Rip It Into Pieces (TAG Blog)

Over the first two play sessions of Gloomhaven, my group found themselves completely incapable of following one of the game’s core rules. Gloomhaven made a request of us that none of us were willing to complete – a blasphemous task that flew in the face of all of our previously acquired board game etiquette. It asked us to rip a card into pieces.

“What if someone else wanted to play the game after us?” “What if we needed the card again later?” These questions swirled around our heads, fueling our reluctance. Unable to take part in the willful destruction of a board game, a compromise was made: a card graveyard (in actuality a small cardboard box) in which all “ripped” cards were lain to rest. Placed at the corner of the gaming gable, it served as a reminder of our lack of killer instinct…


Adventures in 8.5×11 (InMediaRes)

Amateur pen-and-paper game design is certainly not a new phenomenon. Since Gary Gygax and David Arneson began their Blackmoor adventure in 1972 – fusing Chainmail medieval wargaming with Gygax’s established Fantasy Supplement – generations of gamers have meticulously crafted their own sprawling dungeons and fantastical campaign settings.

But what happens when you try to encapsulate a world’s worth of ideas onto a single sheet of 8.5×11 paper? Since 2009, the One Page Dungeon Contest has invited aspiring game designers to answer this question. By exploring this limited canvas, dozens have contributed to an immense collection of pen-and-paper adventures that are innovative in approach and economical in size…


Claim-Staking in Minecraft (TAG Blog)

Thursday June 14th marked the launch of TAG’s second Minecraft server, the Ludodrome! Following in the footsteps of the 2013-2016 iteration – which featured a custom modpack created and maintained by Joachim Despland – this version of the The Ludodrome utilizes the publically available FTB Revelation mod pack to provide an absolute deluge of building options for its players.

But before our crafty TAGsters strap on their jetpacks or attempt to discover the art of metallurgy they must first address a pressing concern: Where will they live?..