Joe Bernardi


Feel Something Real: The Dogme 95-Inspired Battle For the Heart Of Live Action Role-Playing

A feature for HopesandFears about the school of Scandinavian Live-Action Role-Playing that revolves around an improvisatory, almost post-structural dedication to scene and mood, rather than the popular conception of nerds yelling the names of spells at each other.

Why I Keep Playing this “Boring” Simulator Game

A feature for HopesandFears about games that simulate real-life tedium (farming a field, driving a long-haul truck) with strangely high fidelity. What might we get out of this tedium? Why do people find these games so compelling?

Michael Jordan Saves the World: Chaos In the Windy City

A feature originally written for The Classical's digital magazine about Chaos In the Windy City, a mostly-forgotten Super Nintendo game starring Michael Jordan in which he runs through haunted houses, gets injured by giant anthropomorphic whistles, and gets electrocuted a lot, but doesn't play any actual basketball. It’s weird that one of the most dominant athletes of all time stars in a video game where he can fall into a pit of acid and die, basically.

Choose Your Own Adventure-Maker: Twine and the Art of Personal Games

A feature for about the scene surrounding Twine, an easy-to-use program that has been helping people create strange, cool, often-highly personal hypertext games.

Born Rivals with Miles Klee

A talk between noted novelist and Internet Guy Miles Klee and me for BlackBook magazine. Klee and I fight with each other about writing and I show everyone my ZZ Top tattoo.

Hey Hey: Head and The Monkees’ Attempt to Get Cool

An essay about Head, the extremely bizarre, Jack Nicholson-penned film starring The Monkees, for Bright Wall Dark Room. The film portrays the band at what was then a strange pop-cultural crossroads: Teenybopper darlings willing to sacrifice their careers for a shot at what they saw as real artistic credibility.

LCD Television Reviews

Occasionally, I answer short writing prompts from my friends. I’m not sure why I named this project that.

Alpaca: Evolution Review

A review of the iOS game Alpaca Evolution for Paste Magazine. Alpaca Evolution is free, and it is barely a game, but it is really repetitive and gross. In my review, I used that weird combination of qualities as a springboard to talk about the way games exploit humans' hard-wired relationship to toil.


This past May, I was asked to participate in a reading in Boston. The theme of the reading was “Dwellings,” so I wrote a short personal essay about each of the three cities I’ve lived in: Bristol, Connecticut, Boston, Massachusetts, and New York City.

“What We ________ Is Secret” or “How Do You Like Them Iceages”

Some thoughts on subcultural tourism, trends within trends, and the band Iceage’s ascent to (very relatively) widespread popularity.


WebSafe 2k16

A literary/graphic project exploring our memories of the pre-broadband Internet and related technologies. The project uses Lynda Weinman’s Web Safe color palette as a field of reference constraining a large and heterogeneous archive of personal recollections: 216 authors wrote 216 words each, inspired by a specific color in the web safe range. Beginning 2/16/16, one piece was published daily.

New York City Mayor’s Office

A tumblr for the NYC Mayor’s office. By day, the colors of the site’s banner are derived from the current color of the sky here in New York City. By night, they change according to NYC’s current time and temperature.

Ruined By Its Fans

An experiment I conducted with a couple of colleagues regarding if and how obsessive fans can ruin our perception of something we might ordinarily like. Despite being completely unscientific, it somehow ended up being passed around by such reputable outlets as Metafilter and The Hairpin. Twitter user @mikerugnetta went so far as to call it “possibly the most accurate data the internet has ever produced.” Created using Sinatra, DataMapper, and NoSQL, with some front-end assistance by Isotope.

Ramones Haiku Generator

Generate random haiku from the first three Ramones albums. It’s true that haiku don’t have to be in the traditional 5-7-5 format, but the Ramones have always appealed to my purist sensibilities, so syllable counting can be toggled on or off at the user’s leisure.

Dialogue Talk

A site for a nonprofit interview series, with an emphasis placed on creating a robust but easy-to-update backend in WordPress that allowed for multiple MP3 excerpts per interview, multi-part MP3 excerpts, and footnotes within posts.