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The edge lands

Eerie adventure The Edgelands knows the power of sound design

Though often marginalized in favor of flashier words like “graphics” and “gameplay” and “fully-immersive-like-for-real-this-time,” sound design can be one of the most gripping parts of a game. Just ask anyone whose hackles are automatically raised at battle music from an RPG, or who’s spent sleepless nights ducking away from incorporeal whispers in a horror game. One of my all-time favorite moments in videogames was at the end of Kentucky Route Zero’s (2013) interlude The Entertainment, where the low buzz of electric lights is your one warning before the Hard Times boys come to collect. We often think of video games…


Sacramento is way too darn pretty

Sacramento is a fleeting memory, a transitory moment for one to enjoy before life resumes its course. Creator Delphine Fourneau—who also goes by the name Dziff—describes the game as ephemeral; it’s the best word I could find to describe it, too. The scenes in Sacramento are snippets of Fourneau’s own memories of a train journey taken across the United States. She didn’t intend the memories to be literal, however—that’s not what Sacramento is about. Rather, it’s about the “impressions of these ephemeral places that leave you these sweet pictures in the back of your mind,” she said. In Sacramento, players simply wander—or “drift aimlessly”—through…


Virginia learns from film to tell its interactive drama later this year

Dialogue is a major aspect of storytelling across every medium, but often a lack of dialogue can be as telling as spoken words. A glare or pained look can inform you of a character’s emotions and thoughts; entering a quiet room can build tension. Games like The Walking Dead (2012) and this year’s Oxenfree often give you the option to say nothing, to stay quiet, and the upcoming “interactive drama” Virginia features no dialogue at all. “To play it, you don’t feel like you’re in this strange world, like you walked into a library and everyone’s being incredibly hushed. It’s just the way…


Hungary is more than just a pit stop in Jalopy’s long-winding roadtrip

The borders are open; those traveling Jalopy’s Eastern Bloc during its Steam Early Access phase can now roll their Laika 601 into early ’90s Hungary. That brings Jalopy’s country count up to three—Germany, Czech and Slovak Federal Republic (now Czechoslovakia), and Hungary. With Hungary, developer Greg Pryjmachuk added subtle environmental cues to each territory in efforts to differentiate the three areas. He included things like country-branded goods—coffee in one region will look different from another, and cigarettes and sausages are now separately branded for each country. Likewise, gas stations will also “change visually” depending on the player’s location. The country held its first…

Recent News

Issue 8: Virtual Reality

Check out the most recent issue of Kill Screen’s print magazine!

Virtual Reality wasn’t a new idea when Palmer Luckey emerged from his garage with the Oculus Rift. In our newest print issue, we chose to take the long view and look at where VR came from and where it’s going: from battery-powered Victorian era gloves, to the films of David Cronenberg, to the impending backlash from parents and lawmakers, and beyond.

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State of Mind combines transhumanism and a low-poly look

It seems like every other week we’re hearing about a new game that wants to use robots, spaceships and/or the concept of a digital future to make a larger point about the world we live in. Many of these games work well; others, not so much. The genre oversaturation ensures that any new game checking off one or many of these boxes needs some way to stand out from the rest of the crowd. And, lo, a pretty, low-poly contender just pushed its way to the front. Upcoming adventure game State of Mind explores transhumanism by creating two separate worlds:…


Totally Accurate Battle Simulator will deliver the most (un)accurate warfare yet

From the medieval battlefields of Mount & Blade to the near-future combat of Call of Duty, we’ve seen war in videogames portrayed in myriad forms: the tactical control of Total War, the civilian perspective in This War of Mine (2014), the ground-level chaos of Battlefield. But Totally Accurate Battle Simulator promises to deliver the most accurate digital warfare yet. Surely that name doesn’t raise any alarms. Oh, so, perhaps it’s not the most accurate depiction of the battlefield, but it does look like the most vibrant and goofy take on chaotic combat this side of Gang Beasts. Developer Landfall Games is…

Dear Esther

Dear Esther is being turned into a live musical performance

Fans of The Chinese Room will want to keep a slot open in their diaries. The Barbican has teamed up with the studio to put together a live performance of their game Dear Esther (2012) on October 14th. The performance will coincide with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 re-releases of the game. Dear Esther was part of the birth of a new genre of videogames, the walking simulator/exploration game/look-em-up (delete as applicable.) It is, it’s fair to say, a landmark in games, and this chance to experience it live isn’t one to be missed. “A deserted landscape, memories of…

trump cardss

American politics are imploding so you better back Trump Cards

The Republican National Convention, in the midst of the chaos that has been this election, has officially nominated Donald Trump as their candidate for President of the United States of America. This isn’t a Simpsons joke, though it was, once. It’s the world we live in, somehow. While you contemplate that, biting your nails and staring across the room at the drawer you’re pretty sure your passport is in, consider this: there may still be a way to make this election fun and games. Not the actual election, of course, because this election is a nightmare, we live in a…


Sunless Sea director’s next game is all about crafting new, cultish words

In what he is entitling “devlog zero,” Alexis Kennedy—former CEO of interactive fiction developer Failbetter Games and creative director of the astounding Sunless Sea (2015)—has announced his newest project: Cultist Simulator. Kennedy describes the project as follows: “Cultist Simulator is AdVenture Capitalist meets single-player Fallen London meets Doodle God, set in the NOON world that I’m going to build my next game in.” It’s a crafting game for English language nerds, allowing you the ability to combine words by their meaning into new words that take elements of the old and incorporate them into a wholly new product. At its…

No Man's Sky

The apocalyptic fandom of No Man’s Sky

According to American evangelist Harold Camping, the Rapture was supposed to have occurred on May 21, 2011—the date was moved back five months to October when nothing happened. Apocalyptic preacher Ronald Weinland predicted that the world would end on September 30, 2008. This date was also revised to May 27, 2012, and then May 19, 2013. In a similar vein, No Man’s Sky was supposed to have been released on June 21, 2016—that particular rapture was pushed back to August 9. Though the fact of fandom is hardly unique to No Man’s Sky, the degree of devotion the game’s fans…

Laser Disco Defenders

The ’70s disco aesthetic gets some videogame love

Laser Disco Defenders is defined by ‘70s Star Wars knock-offs—the kookier, the better. We’re talking films like Star Crash (1979) and Buck Rogers (1979); movies that might as well have had their robot characters made out of tinfoil. Only, for the purposes of describing the game, imagine those movies set to a fly disco soundtrack, daddio. Creator Alexander Birke had always been interested in creating a videogame with a b-movie feel, and disco felt like a natural pairing. After all, Star Wars’s success in the ‘70s catapulted science fiction to the forefront, and even disco got in on it. Hence we have…


Get ready to build a relationship with an emotional AI this September

Last time we heard about Event[0] was back in February 2015 with a 20-minute playable demo. That was a while ago, so it’s understandable that we now have a new trailer and a confirmed September 2016 release date (plus, it’s being backed by Indie Fund now). Léonard Carpentier, the producer of Event[0] said that the team has used that old demo to help flesh out the responses from Kaizen, the AI operator on the game’s spacecraft, so the experience can be as convincing as possible.    To recap, in Event[0], you play the sole crew member of an AI-operated spacecraft named Nautilus. Kaizen…

independence mo

A new game pays tribute to the many unfortunate deaths of Oregon Trail

Juegos Rancheros’s Mystic Western game jam, held between June 16th and June 30th, was a beautifully prolific two-week international event that gave birth to 50 games about the West and the weird things that happen within it. Alongside projects like Black Gold and To West was Independence, Missouri, an off-kilter prototype from Pippin Barr, previously known for experiments like Game Studies and Sisyphus: The Game. A retelling of an unsuccessful session of the classic educational game Oregon Trail (1971), it’s appropriately mystic, and definitely Western. Now Barr’s releasing it proper. Independence, Missouri, for the purposes of the game, is a tiny…

Great Fire of 1666

Great Fire of London recreated in Minecraft, complete with blaze

Header image: © Museum of London, created by Blockworks. /// The history of a city is littered with fires. Smaller ones that take down neighborhoods and large-scale disasters that change the landscape. The Great Fire of London in 1666 was such a fire. It destroyed the medieval City of London, incinerating the homes of 70,000 of the City’s 80,000 inhabitants. The fire was so bad, one of the factors credited to its quenching was the Tower of London garrison using gunpowder to halt the spread east. Your fire has gotten out of hand when you have to fight it with gunpowder.…