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Castles Made of Castles
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Castles Made of Castles lets you easily create complex architecture

There’s a sort of serene pleasure that comes from uniform design schemes. Whether it’s a car with two identical sides, a train that could be perfectly split in half, or a skyscraper in an evenly cubical shape; orderly architecture gives off a sense of harmony and pleasure to the viewer. These endeavors are testaments to the power of organization and stability. But why should we be confined to simply enjoying these designs as onlookers? Why not create our own? Nico Disseldorp’s online project Castles Made of Castles is a love letter to orderly architecture. Described as a “geometry toy,” Disseldorp’s…

frank ocean
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Style Savvy, Frank Ocean, and taking a break from reality

Life’s been busy and stressful. I have little time to unwind, well, aside from my nightly rounds of Overwatch. But this weekend was different. I had finished up most impending work and my partner was gone for the weekend, off on a spontaneous road trip with his best friend. For once, my apartment was quiet, at a standstill. The world was my oyster. So I spent my Saturday night the same way any twenty-something with rare free time and a 3DS might: by cracking open a beer, playing the newly-released Style Savvy: Fashion Forward, and, as luck would have it,…

enyo
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Indirect combat is all you’ll have to tackle ENYO’s labyrinth monsters

In an industry that likes to stab stuff almost as much as it likes to shoot people, an “indirect combat” game might seem a little out of place. In fact, the concept has more in common with puzzles than fighting games, as the inability to directly attack your opponent means that the player is forced to use the terrain and any abilities they might have to their advantage. It’s the same idea as forcing a spider to fall off a cracked wall in Lara Croft GO (2015): if you can’t approach them directly, lure them to another doom.   drag…

It-is-as-if-you-were-playing-chess-banner
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A game about pretending to play chess is all about performance

It really is as if you were playing chess, except Pippin Barr’s newest game It is as if you were playing chess doesn’t include a chess board. There are no pawns, Kings, or Queens. No pieces at all, really—just instructions. Move this dot here. Look here. Now here. Tilt your head and cringe. Move again. It is as if you were playing chess makes a game of pretending to play a game. “To the observer, it should look as though the player is genuinely playing some kind of game,” Pippin Barr writes. “In this case, the idea is for them to…


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Issue 9

Our relaunched magazine is here!

Kill Screen Issue 9 kicks off our all-new relaunch. Games are exploding into all sorts of weird new experiences and we’re on the ground to let you know what’s what. From deeply reported features on Lily Zone and the creators of Kentucky Route Zero to gorgeous original photography and illustrations, Issue 9 is a vibrant, accessible vision of videogame culture that we can’t wait for you to read.


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The Sexy Brutale
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The creators of Rime are also working on a murderous masquerade ball game

I have never attended a fancy socialite soirée before. On the chance occasion that my mind wanders as to what such experience would be like, my imagination inevitably concocts a scenario not unlike Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death (1842) mixed with a particularly fiendish round of Clue. A grand celebratory occasion equal parts bacchanalian and cockamamie. A new puzzle adventure announced by Tequila Works, called The Sexy Brutale, does little to disabuse me of this admittedly far-fetched fantasy, instead choosing to go all in on the inherent absurdity that permeates the glossy allure of high society. Set at…

Autobiographical Architecture
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A new autobiographical game that will be set in and around Doom II

I’ve never met JP LeBreton but I know him because he knows the original Doom series. He wrote what is probably the most insightful design analysis of the game back in 2010; before he became a level designer for BioShock (2007) he learned the craft with Doom‘s level editor (and then demade his BioShock level “Arcadia” in Doom II); and more recently he had the opportunity to talk at length with one of the original Doom creators John Romero about his work on the game. It does not surprise me when LeBreton tells me “Doom is this thread running through most of…

Lost Words
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Emotional upcoming platformer turns words into architecture

A child is standing on a scrap of paper. “This diary belongs to Izzy,” she says. As you move her across these words and to the next page, another set of words appear: “I never knew my mum. It was mostly gran who brought me up.” This is Lost Words. It’s a story-driven platformer being created by UK-based studio Sketchbook Games. Led by Mark Backler, a veteran designer who previously worked at EA and Lionhead Studios, the game explores the story of a young girl as she copes with life’s struggles including the illness of her grandmother. In Lost Words, Izzy’s…

liberty leading the people
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Systems thinking reveals the weaknesses of the current American revolution

Revolution is a big word these days. We’re hearing about it a lot on social media, on all things, but its use in modern times is always tinged with the recent memory of the Arab Spring, and before it the color revolutions and aftereffects of the Revolutions of 1989. Now it has crept into American politics with the 2016 election season. Nicky Case, who has previously worked with systems thinking, recently blogged about their attempt to dissect what actually happens in revolutions, through systems thinking. These outcomes would be revolutionary if they were possible The word “revolution” has been widely…

Solitaire
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Windows Solitaire cards are invading the real world, pixels and all

Prepare for one of the most famous deck of cards to hit a felted table near you: retailer AreaWare is releasing an IRL deck of playing cards patterned after the Solitaire decks from Windows 3. Designed in partnership with the deck’s original designer Susan Kare, the Solitaire cards feature the iconic 16 VGA color palette and pixel graphics that inspired many an afternoon of procrastination. Ware got back into that 90s frame of mind Solitaire was bundled with Windows 3, and designed to “soothe people intimidated by the operating system.” With its simple black, red and yellow color scheme—included with…

frames
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Heterotopias: The domestic disorder of Uncharted 4

Heterotopias is a series of visual investigations into virtual spaces performed by writer and artist Gareth Damian Martin. /// There’s an unlikely thread of domesticity that runs through the heart of Uncharted 4, alongside the exoticism of its adventuring and the breezy violence of its combat. On three separate occasions the game puts us in a house, and asks us about its occupants, casting the player as an archaeologist not of rare antiquities, but the artefacts that tie a place to a person. The first of these houses, the marital home of Nathan and Elena Fisher, might be imagined as an ideal one; our…

2+YhgR
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Which Passover Plague Are You? is a real question and a real game

Anyone who had the misfortune of going through bible school will know the story: the Jewish people spent generations in slavery, tortured at the hands of great Pharaohs, before God inflicted 10 plagues upon Egypt to free his ill-treated servants. What wasn’t covered in the Abrahamic texts, though, were questions like, what would be the soundtrack to your plague? Or, what’s your revenge color? What would you do with the power of a god? Designed by Veve Jaffa, Which Passover Plague Are You? tasks you with the seemingly simple decision of how you, a human representative hand-picked by the big guy himself, will…

bmas06
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Three burly men will set out on a gentle adventure with you next month

Just hearing the name Burly Men at Sea—along with watching its trailers, filled to the brim with a bouncing, benevolent brawniness–effectively communicates what it’s like to play the game. You embark on a journey as not one, not two, but three Brothers Beard, who put the lumbersexual hipster trend to shame. Heeding the call of the blue siren, you join them as they gallivant across the sea and a storybook of various Norwegian haunts. “We knew we were making Burly Men at Sea before we knew what it would be,” said co-creator David Condolora. “We had that name in our head before we even started making…

03
Feature

The invisible women of videogames

When I was a young girl, I read an anecdote about Lara Croft—it said that her iconic look was created when her designer wanted to enlarge her breasts by 50 percent but accidentally entered 150 percent in the window. When he saw the effect he decided that it was great and that’s how the heroine should look—and thus the legend was born. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s plausible, and the fact that it is tells us something about female characters in videogames, and how we think about women in general. Or maybe—how we look at them. It’s…

Investigations no truce
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How No Truce With The Furies is pushing videogame writing further

No Truce With The Furies, in addition to being an oil painting come to life, is a game with a very high standard for writing. Developer Fortress Occident boasts a published science-fiction author in its writing team, and the game cites as inspirations text-heavy Infinity Engine games like Planescape: Torment (1999) and the original Fallout (1997). The detail an isometric perspective allows means the studio is able to go significantly more in depth than other games, but the conventions of the medium—long paragraphs of dialogue, often clicking through multiple choices with one character, and passages of narrative removed from gameplay—can be…