Oxenfree: Review and Analysis

More video game reviews and analyses can be found here.

Note: Source for banner artwork can be found at this site discussing other potential media adaptations of the game.

Title: Oxenfree
Genre: 
Adventure/Exploration, Puzzle, Mystery, Horror
Developer: Night School Studio
Release Date: January 15, 2016

Oxenfree coverLet’s Player: ChristoperOdd
Date Started: 9/2/18
Date Finished: 9/5/18


A supernatural thriller about a group of friends who unwittingly open a ghostly rift.


With a heavy Stranger Things vibe and a female MC who’s a person of color, I couldn’t help but be drawn into this paranormal tale that starts out (like most) normally enough with a group of teenagers participating in a high school rite of passage that turns into a supernatural mystery involving secret subs, a lost crew, and a government cover up not dissimilar to The Philadelphia Experiment and Montauk.

Oxenfree, developed by Night School Studio and the brainchild of former Telltale and Disney employees, was released on January 16, 2016 accompanied by developmental documentaries and an alternative reality game (ARG), which allows players to interact with it in the real world, lending a creepier air to an already eerie narrative.   The atmospheric music, composed by scntfc, adds the perfect accompaniment to Alex and company’s exploration of the abandoned Edwards Island.  Along with the music, Morse code serves an integral part to understanding what happened here, though, as usual, the internet provides for those of us not savvy enough to be knowledgeable.

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The Sandman, Vol. 01: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman (The Sandman #1) (DNF)

Title: The Sandman, Vol. 01: Preludes & Nocturnes
Series Title: The Sandman
Author: Neil Gaiman
Artists: Various
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: April 4, 2018
Date DNF: April 15, 2018
Reading Duration: 9 days
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Supernatural, Horror, Mythology

The Sandman: Preludes & NocturnesPages: 240
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 1989
Media: Paperback (Library)


New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman’s transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision.

In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.


I’d been wanting to read this for years, and since many of my friends love Neil Gaiman, it’s been recommended to me a number of times.  In theory the graphic novel has everything I love: mythology re-workings, old gods, darkness, horror, death rituals, releasing something ancient and seemingly evil, and sleeping all the time.  You know…my typical Saturday.  I actually couldn’t get into Gaiman’s writing when I first attempted either American Gods or Neverwhere years ago, but I really liked Stardust and absolutely loved The Ocean at the End of the Lanefinding after I read those, I was able to stomach AG more easily.  I think I just needed to get used to his style.  There’s also a novel illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano, who was the concept artist for Final Fantasy.

Sandman illustrated by AmanoI think it was Amano more than anything that encouraged me to seek this series out, and I erroneously believed the artist illustrated the entirety of Sandman.  Had that been the case, I probably would’ve finished not only the first one, but read them all, despite my issues with the narrative.

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Gyo by Junji Ito (Gyo #1-2)

Title: Gyo
Series Title: Gyo
Author: Junji Ito
Date Added: September 14, 2017
Date Started: November 26, 2017
Date Finished: November 30, 2017
Reading Duration: 4 days
Genre: Manga, Science Fiction, Horror

Gyo coverPages: 400
Publisher: VIZ Media
Publication Date: September 2003
Media: Hardback (Library)


Something is rotten in Okinawa… The floating smell of death hangs over the island. What is it? A strange, legged fish appears on the scene… So begins Tadashi and Kaori’s spiral into the horror and stench of the sea. Here is the creepiest masterpiece of horror manga ever from the creator of Uzumaki, Junji Ito. Hold your breath until all is revealed.


Gyo is creepy story about dead bodies that remain active even within a state of advanced decay due to strange machines that attach to their bodies, powered by the gases of putrefaction.

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Dweller by Jeff Strand

Title: Dweller
Author: Jeff Strand
Date Added: February 13, 2017
Date Started: August 23, 2017
Date Finished: August 31, 2017
Reading Duration: 8 days
Genre: Fantasy, Horror

Pages: 292
Publication Date: April 1, 2010
Publisher: Leisure Books
Media: 
eBook/Kindle


When Toby Floren was eight years old, he discovered a monster living in the woods behind his house. A ghastly, frightening creature with claws, fangs, and a taste for human flesh. As he ran out of the forest, Toby felt that he’d been lucky to escape with his life.

Years later, Toby finds comfort with the creature. It’s his own special secret–something that nobody else in the world knows about. Somebody to talk to. Somebody to confide in. Sure, Toby has concerns about his own sanity, but really, what boy wouldn’t want to be best friends with a monster in the woods, especially if he’s being tormented by bullies? The creature, who he names Owen, may be the answer to his problems…

From Jeff Strand, the author of PRESSURE, comes the story of a macabre, decades-long friendship. A relationship that will last their entire lives, through times of happiness, tragedy, love, loss, madness, and complete darkness.


I almost gave up on this one (even though it’s pretty much like Harry and the Hendersons…if Harry was a flesh-eating monster).  There was a lot of bullshit victim blaming and bullying that was played off as “just the way it is” or “boys will be boys.” *gag*  One of the greatest follies is the deep set idea that if you’re being bullied, you need to handle it yourself.  It’s a core tenet of many 80’s and 90’s movies.  I mean, there’s literally a series called Revenge of the Nerds (which has more problems than just this concept) where reciprocity is the name of the game.  It cultivates an almost hazing culture where children are expected to “take their lumps” because of the falsehood that it “makes you a better person” (whatever the fuck that means), but the fact of the matter is, it’s okay to go to an adult if you’re dealing with that.  That’s literally their (or I suppose our) job: to aid and educate the younger generation.  So this idea:

But there was a code of honor at Orange Leaf High: you didn’t rat out your peers.

is horse shit.  There’s no honor in it, BUT given the era this story occurs in (the 80’s/90’s), it’s an understandable sentiment.  Once I put myself in that place,  the vibe of the writing began to resonate with me, and I realized a great deal of my reluctance had to do with being able to identify with the bullying Toby endured far too well.

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The Witch’s House

More video game reviews can be found here.

Genre: Puzzle/Horror
Developer: Fummy
Release Date: October 3, 2012
Let’s Player: Cryaotic
Recommended By: Lost to the Aether

The Witch’s House is an indie horror puzzler built using RPG Maker VX.  This gives it the look and sprites of a 90s JRPG, which seems adorable until you’re killed by a teddy bear.

This is only the first of many jump scares that did their job with me, because I’m a wuss puss.  You will die.  You will die a lot while playing this game.

This screen will become all too familiar.

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Locke & Key, Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key #1)

Title: Locke & Key, Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
Series Title: Locke & Key
Author: Joe Hill
Illustrator: Gabriel Rodriguez
Date Added: September 28, 2016
Date Started: July 3, 2017
Date Finished: July 15, 2017
Reading Duration: 12 days
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural/Paranormal, Graphic Novel
Recommended By: Cupcakes and Machetes

Pages: 168
Publication Date: September 29, 2008
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Media: Paperback


Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all…

 This book had some big shoes to fill since the last graphic novel series I finished was Saga (and I’m still impatiently waiting for Volume 8 to come out in January).  Once I became used to the different art style though, I realized the excellent creepiness of the story.  The beginning is a bit confusing with how it jumps back and forth between the then and now, a very important distinction since the demarcation is a horrendously tragic event.  There’s some obfuscation on who the central character of the story is going to be, and though there’s a little bit of point of view switching, the protagonist is most decidedly Bode (whose name I’m not sure how to pronounce.  As is?  Boh-dee?) instead of his older brother who captures more of the focus at the beginning, but is much more of a minor character with Kinsey, the sister, filling a more important role in both the present and the past.

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Question of the Week: 10/23/16

<–Question of the Week: 10/16/16          Question of the Week: 10/30/16–>

The Question of the Week is posted every Sunday and will consist of a question followed by my answer and explanation to the same.  Some questions will only require a simple answer that could potentially be followed by an explanation.  Many questions will be writer oriented, but not all.  Everyone is encouraged to answer in the comments and discussions/follow up questions are more than welcome!

What’s the scariest movie you’ve ever seen?

*******SPOILERS FOR THE RING*******

I’m trying to think up Halloween type questions I haven’t already answered in my Halloween Fun Time post hehe.  While there was a question about scary movies, it didn’t get specific, and also while I did ask favorite Halloween/Halloween type movies, that doesn’t necessarily mean the scariest.  The scariest movie I’ve ever seen, the movie that made me stop watching scary movies is The Ring.

Hell to the no

Hell to the no

I saw this movie back in college with a bunch of friends.  Our university had a theater that would show fairly recent films (which is how I first saw Titanic), and we figured why not.  This lackadaisical decision would cost me.  I hid against my one friend’s shoulder through the majority of the film.

The horror started when the one girl Katie was found dead in the closet with an absolutely horrified expression distorting her gruesome corpse.  She looked as if she’d drowned and started to rot in water (…), but I said my “Nope,” at the part with the horses.  When animals are that terrified of something, you know it’s bad.

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