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Hacknet Labyrinths RicerScreen

One of the most authentic hacking simulators is getting an expansion

The videogame and hacking simulator Hacknet has been praised over and over again for its dedication to realism since it arrived last year. The whole game is viewed through an interface, and the player’s tasks are all as close to actual hacking as possible, using real unix commands. It’s not a game that’s interested in babying you, but that’s all the more appropriate for the subject matter. In the original game, you were tasked posthumously by another hacker to look into his own death, piecing the plot together through careful investigation and lines of code. Now, Hacknet is getting even more…


Malkia, a game about the struggles of an African businesswoman

HELP: The Game is a recent project that saw 11 videogame studios—including Angry Birds creator Rovio and the studio behind the upcoming Dead Island 2, Sumo Digital—team up with the WarChild organization. The idea was for each studio to design a game that could then be bundled and sold together. All the earnings from the game bundle go directly to aid African children. Out of the games in that bundle, one of those to stand out is called Malkia, and was made by Sports Interactive Studios. It’s set in the imaginary world of Kovi but takes real-world inspiration from countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic…


The wordless beauty of Pan-Pan

There are no words in Pan-Pan—just bubbling variations of boops and beeps. After crash landing on Pan-Pan’s colorful low-poly world, you’ll be introduced to a bunch of little dudes with bushy ‘staches. They’ve come to your aid after the crash, and despite there being a language barrier, they’re trying to fix your ship. But you’ll have to help. Scattered through Pan-Pan’s knotted puzzles are the pieces needed to fuel your ship and head home. Curiosity is the language in Pan-Pan. It’s a curiosity powered by the world’s design. Developer Spelkraft uses a visual language to express its intentions; it’s not always…

Pokemon Bones

Look upon the terror of Pokémon Bones

Pokémon don’t have internal organs. At least, that’s what Miles Peyton—a Fine Arts and Computer Science student at Carnegie Mellon—found out when he pulled the skin back on different character models from Pokémon X and Pokémon Y (2013) exposing “skin balloons without flesh or internal organs.” Peyton told me his project, appropriately named Pokémon Bones, is about how 3D models are just hollow, balloon-like representations of things. Using the site The Models Resource, a community-run website where users upload models and assets they’ve ripped from games, he wanted to look at the armature of each Pokémon, the skeleton that determines…

Recent News

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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LGBTQ Archive

New grant gives the LGBTQ Game Archive official backing

Adrienne Shaw, an assistant professor in Temple University’s Department of Media Studies and Production, has been working on LGBTQ issues in videogames for over a decade now. But there was an assumption she made about the field that led her down her most recent path. Every time she would talk about her work, someone would inevitably ask her about the history of LGBTQ content in videogames. She assumed someone else would have taken on the task of archiving such work, but she was wrong. “Every time I wanted to teach about or talk about LGBTQ game content holistically, I felt…


The disjointed Prague of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Heterotopias is a series of visual investigations into virtual spaces performed by writer and artist Gareth Damian Martin. /// To me, Prague has always felt like a city uniquely in communion with the past and future versions of itself. I remember my first visit, a local friend taking me to the once mysterious, now legendary Cross Club: an amorphous labyrinth of scrap metal occupying the lower floors and basement of a decaying, communist-era panelák. Stumbling past the ubiquitous leather-clad and shorn-headed bouncers into one of its dancefloors was like wandering into a William Gibson wonderland, bubbling tubes of mysterious green liquid and angular metal…

the lion's song franz

You’ll want to pay close attention to The Lion’s Song’s second episode

Episode one of The Lion’s Song, titled “Silence,” focused on the timid composer Wilma’s struggle to overcome creative block while secluded in a cabin in the Alps. The forthcoming second episode, “Anthology,” moves on from Wilma’s story, but it won’t leave her behind. Anthology switches protagonists to follow Franz Markert, a painter back in Vienna who can see different “layers” of his subject’s personalities. A brief trailer shows him making cheerful conversation with one of his subjects, inquiring about his childhood as a ghostly figure appears by him, presumably one of the “layers” that Franz is channeling. Earlier, a snippet of…

Mr. Robot

The Mr. Robot game will make you paranoid

I have a confession to make. I’ve spent the last few days hacking other people. It started innocently enough with a simple request. Soon, these requests became more complex. Now I find myself in an endless pit I can’t escape. One guy is threatening me. A mysterious group may or may not be after me. To top it off, I think I might have ruined someone’s childhood. Have I gone too far? Is someone out to get me? I shouldn’t have picked up that phone. As my phone’s screen darkens and the credits roll, I’m brought back to reality. Thankfully,…

Olympics Shinzo Abe

You shouldn’t be surprised that the Japanese PM dressed up as Mario

So at this point you likely saw what happened during the Olympics closing event. Yeah, I know. At first glance, it seems like an unnecessary commercial incursion in an already saturated Olympic event. Nintendo, a $42 billion-dollar videogame company, needs no additional exposure, especially of the heels of the success of Pokémon Go. This is an opportunity for Japan to shine a light on any number of different cultural contributions and instead, we get Shinzō Abe emerging from a warp pipe with Mario’s plumber cap. Don’t get me wrong—videogames are important, but truly important enough to be the key signifier for…


Venineth promises nothing but ancient alien landscapes

Venineth’s internet presence is currently composed of three narrative-less videos, a handful of screenshots, and a loose description of an exploration-based puzzle game. Besides that, what you’ll be doing in its world is unknown. Their website mentions “ancient alien technology,” but the worlds that have been shown so far are barren but for a few beams of blue light. There are no characters, at least that have been shown so far, and no words, just a pinball-esque reference point for the player—you literally play as a ball—that rolls gently around the desert. It pushes one of the blue lights to…


We don’t deserve Doggo

There are many things that separate the common Canis Lupus from the beloved “doggo.” Since the rise of meme culture in the late ‘aughts, dogs have become their de-facto mascot: sniffing, fraternizing, and bumbling their way through life. Many will be familiar with the gargantuan Facebook communities “Dogspotting” and “Cool Dog Group” (the latter of which has less rules and regulations), which pride themselves on spotting the most eccentric and adorable canines all over the world. All in all, every dog is a doggo: it’s an endearing title that highlights their goofiness and pureness of heart. Humanity doesn’t deserve dogs.…


Hey, perhaps don’t set your game in “fantasy primitive africa”

Where and when is the “fantasy primitive africa” of upcoming survival game Voodoo? “You will be one of the founders of civilization,” says Brain in the Box, the Italian studio behind it. Bear in mind that the first humans popped up in East Africa around 250,000 thousand years ago, and civilization has its roots in Mesopotamia and Egypt around 14,000 years ago—not much fantasy there. The trailer for the game also includes the bow and arrow, metal tools, and tribal masks. Having these all in the same place is a collapsing of time that we haven’t had written history long enough to…


Nearly 10 years in the making, there’s still plenty of reason to care about Owlboy

Owlboy, which has been in the making since 2007, was at one point a joke. It sat alongside Fez (2012) as retro-sentimental platformers by independent studios that promised a lot, but seemed fated to never come out. “Do you reckon Owlboy will come out next year?” someone might ask. “Haha, yeah right,” might be the reply. Fez did eventually come out after five years of waiting, but Owlboy didn’t—it’s been nearly a decade now. When Jo-Remi Madsen of the Norway-based D-Pad Studio tells me it’s “OWLBOY TIME,” I presume that it is a joke. The concept of Owlboy Time is more a unit…

Return of the Obra Dinn

Stare upon the ghostly faces of Return of the Obra Dinn

One could almost consider exploring history a form of puzzle solving. Extrapolating facts and events through ruins and artifacts and documents, putting together a cohesive story through the remnants of times. Lucas Pope’s upcoming Return of the Obra Dinn, his narrative-driven follow-up to Paper’s Please (2013), is a game that encompasses that process. A mystery of a lost ship pieced together by discovered documents and flashbacks triggered by the remains on board. In Pope’s latest updates in his TIGSource devlog, those documents and artifacts are slowly taking shape. Recent GIFs show the lengthy manifest, revealing the crew names, their roles, and…