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Kanye West’s videogame is gonna be very Kanye West

Yesterday, Kanye West debuted his new album, The Life of Pablo, at Madison Square Garden. The “listening event” is a long-standing power-move in the most entrenched corners of the record industry—a complementary-wine-and-shrimp sort of affair, where people stand around and maybe take notes on a record while the artist either stares at them intently or, like, falls asleep in a corner, surrounded by well-wishers. Ye’s event represents a reinvention of the form for the Spotify era, turning an insiders-only thing into a streaming-platform cosign, a fashion show, a free, democratized listening event, and an actual documentary of how boring and weird…


Unfold the inner heart of solids in this zen-like puzzle game

Clint Siu went to a lakeside bench in the middle of the Swedish woods almost every day for two months, writing ideas and designing puzzles. It was June 2015 and Siu had moved to Stugan, the Swedish non-profit accelerator that started last year, to work on _PRISM, a zen-like minimalistic game in which players unfold the external layers of solids by solving puzzles and try to reach their center. As an American artist who used to work in Hollywood making FX for movies like World War Z (2013) and TV shows like Cosmos (2014), Siu found that being next to nature and away from the constant noise of big…


The creator of QWOP now wants to mess with your eyes

I can’t trust my eyeballs right now. Just typing this black font onto this white space is steeped in something my body recognizes as danger. I think I see snakes wrestling across the gaps between the words. No, it’s worse than that. Oh god. You might laugh, or you might be outright confused right now, but I can guarantee that in a few minutes you will know what I’m going through. I’ve just played through QWOP (2008) creator Bennett Foddy’s Zebra, which he plainly describes as “another little game.” It is not just another little game. It’s the devil in stripes and…

Dwarf Fortress

There’s now a bot that can play Dwarf Fortress for you

In some ways, you can think of a community as a machine—some members grow food products to be turned into meals, which then feed the members responsible for producing raw materials, so they can serve others that may hone those materials into goods that represent economic viability. With more members and more land, the community-machine expands its ability to produce, maybe infinitely. And “infinite” is a useful word to a person looking at Dwarf Fortress (2006) for the first time—it’s hard to communicate just how much information there is in one session. It’s not technically infinite, but the average new world has…

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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Upcoming mass surveillance game asks if you’d really pull a Snowden

What would you do with the national security (read: espionage) apparatus at your fingertips: Would you defend civil liberties or use the reams of information collected each day to satisfy your own ends? Need to Know, the debut title from Australian developers Monomyth Games which is raising funds on Kickstarter as of today, is in large part concerned with this question. You play as a worker in an intelligence agency and your decision to prioritize either the greater good or your own shapes the game’s narrative structure. The game, however, is not really about you, the intelligence worker. It is…

Portal 2

Portal 2 experiment results in beautiful wormhole art

Dear Chell, Where have you gone? This is your fault. You chose this path. The Aperture Science testing environment has been proven entirely safe for each test subject. Yet your typical violent behavior towards the equipment has proven that false. I’d just like to point out that you were given every opportunity to succeed. There was even going to be a party for you. There was going to be cake. Are you dead? I told you: When you’re dead I will be still alive. I said that. Remember? I warned you. I did. It was not a lie. Now you…


Firewatch: Come for the beauty, stay for the eeriness

Firewatch gets it. Beauty alone isn’t enough to carry an experience. There needs to be some grit, a bit of dirt, conflict even, to elevate a videogame (hell, any piece of art) from the whimsical to something more. I have a problem with 2009’s Flower and 2013’s Proteus precisely because there isn’t anything to offset that serene beauty, their new-age hokum. But in Firewatch, no matter how gorgeous that sunset or night sky is, there’s always a thick sense of dread. Something to unsettle you. Something to make you tense up. I’m not talking bump-in-the-night, Blair-Witch, voodoo nonsense either. Forget…


Eastshade will let you paint its idyllic landscapes as you explore

Hark, another open world, first-person game in which you traverse picturesque natural environments! That is both slightly unfair to Eastshade, a PC game that is currently in the making, and factually beyond reproach. Eastshade, as with many games before it, is all of those things, but it is also endearingly meta. You play as a painter who wanders through natural vistas in search of inspiration. That shouldn’t be too hard to come by, as the game offers stunning visuals, but there is still the not insignificant matter of framing. As you go about your business, you can stop to paint…

The Malware Museum

The beautiful destruction of old-school malware

Malware. Blech! We hate malware. And so we should—deleting files, maliciously clogging up our desktops, turning our browsers into never-ending adverts. But it’s so boring and irritating these days. At least back in the 1980s and 1990s you could take a step back and admire both the technical and artistic achievement of malware before it ate your computer. If you’re not familiar with the malware of yesteryear then, fret not, you needn’t miss out. The internet archivists at have teamed up with self-professed “malware adventurer” Mikko Hypponnen to provide The Malware Museum. It’s a collection of malware programs that…


Burn in hell, Yarny

A videogame called Unravel will be released tomorrow. It may be a good game, and it is certainly a good-looking one, with a soft focus and hazy depth of field; tree leaves rustle convincingly and thick snowflakes pile up as the camera pans ever right-ward. It appears to make use of this tactile world for a series of physics-based puzzles, like moving rocks to get up on ledges and creating makeshift vines with which to soar across little ponds. These may be very clever puzzles, building toward a resolution that is very satisfying, but I will never know, because I will never…


The aliens in Somerville definitely don’t come in peace

“If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the American Indians.” That quote belongs, unfortunately, to one of the greatest minds of our age, Stephen Hawking. It’s not an uncommon sentiment, of course; popular entertainment has been driving home this idea since Orson Welles’ famous War of the Worlds (1938) broadcast. And it’s Welles that has clear influence on the visuals of Somerville, an upcoming sci-fi game: huge black monoliths loom over a rural community, spitting out all manner of neon terrors…

evening of modern dance 2

QWOP goes avant-garde in this silly dancing game

I’ll admit upfront that I’m a terrible dancer. Not the kind of terrible that is actually cute. I’m talking the real, awkward kind of terrible. I blame it on being tall. It’s just not easy to make limbs in these proportions move cohesively the way I’d like them to. Maybe that’s why An Evening of Modern Dance caught my attention—it’s easy to see a bit of myself in its hilariously floundering dancers. An Evening of Modern Dance follows in the tumbling footsteps of QWOP (2008) and Octodad (2010), this time bringing ragdoll physics to the stage. Made for Ludum Dare 32 by…


Role-playing games are just like medieval oral culture

You’re woken from your slumber by the piercing cries of a man in agony and the splintering of wood. The room is dark, though the glowing embers in the grate cast a dull glow across rapidly moving shapes. All about you is pandemonium: guttural panicked sounds of man and beast. Its stench strikes your attention before you realize it’s stood beside you but in the fire’s dying glow you can see the heft of a large arm reaching out to grab you. Roll for initiative. /// Hwaet. This word—usually translated as “listen”—marks the opening of Beowulf, one of the rarest…


Screensaver jam results in a colorful throwback to the ’90s

You don’t really see screensavers all that often anymore. I know that when my computer enters sleep mode, I just have it set to display a black screen. It’s the same thing for all my friends as well as most offices I’ve visited since turning 13-years-old. Maybe it’s a consequence of our modern habit of leaving our computers on at all times, since if your computer is constantly sitting asleep in the background, having it display a bright or showy screensaver is just distracting. Or maybe it’s because we don’t need screensavers to protect our displays from burn-in images anymore,…