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One game creator’s way to overcome depression? Make an uplifting game

The blinds are drawn. The room is dark and quiet. It’s past noon, and you’re still in bed. Your eyes are fixated on the carpet, bland and beige. The walls are white and bare, the furniture is hard and stiff. What is supposed to be a safe and comfortable space feels more like a prison—you are trapped. You haven’t showered yet, and your stomach reminds you that it needs attention. Your body is screaming at you to get up. Get out of bed. There’s work to be done. But moving is a chore. The signals that travelled to your brain…

NYU Game Center

NYU Game Center’s new scholarship targets women game designers

Famously, the videogame space can be an unpleasant place for women. From professional game designers to the most casual game players, women have repeatedly encountered a two-fold problem when exploring the world of videogames: our experiences are continuously ignored (often accused of being “fakes”) and suffering a slew of personal attacks. Last week, the NYU Game Center, the Game Design program within the Tisch School of the Arts, announced the Barlovento Scholarship for Women in Games. It’s aimed at women who wish to pursue a graduate degree in game design. The scholarship is funded by the Barlovento Foundation, whose founder, Vanessa Briceño,…

ei wada

Japanese artist creates music with obsolete technology

A lot of newer music has been deemed inane and ridiculous for sounding like broken technology. Dubstep’s sound, for example, has been compared to the sound of hitting a metal pole with a chainsaw, the sound of robots dying, the sound of a root canal. According to Wendy’s: “Dubstep sounds like a broken Frosty machine.” Dubstep sounds like a broken Frosty machine. — Wendy's (@Wendys) March 6, 2012 However, artist Ei Wada embraces the sounds of the old and broken with music that repurposes obsolete fans, TVs, and radios by turning them into instruments. Wada’s work with such technology tends…

Project Tingler

Show your support for next year’s smuttiest FMV game

The Chuck Tingle adventure game is now looking to be “Kickstarted in the Butt.” If you’re not familiar with Chuck Tingle this will all come as quite a shock. He is perhaps the internet’s best supplier of smut, writing short erotica with titles like “My Ass Is Haunted By The Gay Unicorn Colonel” and “Pounded In The Butt By My Own Butt.” I promise you this is real (and I can also promise you that it is glorious). Earlier this year, game maker Zoe Quinn hit up Chuck Tingle over Twitter, asking if he’d like to make a game with her.…

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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Framed 2 will bring more comic-panel shuffling to videogames

Acclaimed noir puzzle game Framed was touted for its ingenuity, taking elements of comic-book panel design and implementing them into its videogame format. Much of the story, then, existed outside of Framed‘s panels, allowing players to fill in the blanks. Lead designer Joshua Boggs attributes this idea to Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics (1993): “The level of detail and investigation [McCloud] does in Understanding Comics was absolutely pivotal for Framed, and still is to this day.” Announced last week, Framed 2 will be released in early 2017, acting as a prequel to the first game. Panel switching is an important element in Framed 2, too, but it won’t be exactly the same. “For Framed 2, we’ve…

The Chess Players

Kill Screen is looking for a new Editorial Director

Yesterday, Kill Screen‘s Editorial Director, Clayton Purdom, announced his departure in the only way he knows how. We’re sad to see him go. But that does mean we’re now looking to fill that gap he has left behind. In short, we’re looking for someone who can steer the ship of all of Kill Screen‘s editorial properties going forward. Come make us awesome! That includes our print magazine, the Kill Screen website, and its sister sites, Versions and The Meta. They’ll also help to direct the events related to those three websites as well as any other creative projects the team dives…


Karma. Incarnation 1 doesn’t hold back on the psychedelia

In AuraLab’s Karma. Incarnation 1, I’m controlling Pip. Or rather, I’m directing Pip along his journey. Pip is a worm-like creature, but he wasn’t always that way. Once upon a time, he was merely a lost soul. After his lover gets captured by an elusive Unknown Evil, Pip ventures off alone into a surreal world to get her back. But then he’s reincarnated accidentally as a worm, not a dragon as originally planned. And now here we are, Pip and I, bargaining with a dancing creature to trade a flower lei for the snowflake-encrusted light bulb I need that’s hanging on…

El Hijo

El Hijo could be the spaghetti-western of your dreams

A man in black, little more than an extension of the flat shadow of the umbrella he carries, rides across an open desert. On his saddle sits a naked boy—a wide brimmed hat his only protection against the burning sun. The pair stop at a post, a marker, and the man places the boy on the sand. “You are seven today. You are a man now,” he tells his son. “Bury your first toy and the portrait of your mother.” This is how Alejandro’s Jodorowsky’s infamous surrealist western, El Topo (1970) begins. This moment of becoming prefaces a spiritual journey for both…


Farewell posts are for herbs

There are two ways that writers on the internet announce career changes: either by tweeting about how they found out they got laid off, or by publishing a grandiloquent “farewell post.” You know the type: endlessly generous, ruminative, peppered with musings on the industry and hyperlinks to the writer’s greatest hits. It is a way to assemble a legacy. “Stay tuned for my next adventure!” these posts conclude, shared on Twitter with “CRYING” or “THIS WAS DIFFICULT” or “Announcement!” It is a grand exercise in personal branding, writ in humblebraggery, and it is for herbs. Today, though, is my last…


Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel Kim is now a videogame too

Rudyard Kipling is a complicated figure. On the one hand, you have the arch-colonialist, the author of the poem “The White Man’s Burden,” and an all-around fan of Empire and the progress it supposedly represented. The man who spoke of subjected populations as “Half-devil and half-child,” and celebrated the bloody project of colonialism as a way to uplift the natives of India, the Philippines, and Africa to (British) civilization. But then there’s Kim (1901), the story of a young British orphan raised as an Indian native. At once a children’s story, a travel narrative, and a genuine work of joy…

The Game: The Game

A new dating sim highlights the pickup artist’s ugly game of seduction

The dating sim has been experiencing something of a reexamining of late, finding itself in the broader public eye as iterations upon its core tenants are warped, distorted, and pushed past their typical use cases. Whereas dating sims were once predominantly focused around a male protagonist trying to date—and eventually have sex with—beautiful women, the modern dating sim is unbounded. It rejects the notion that a potential partner is hetrosexual (Kindred Spirits on the Roof and Don’t Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain’t Your Story), “perfect” (Katawa Shoujo), or a human at all (Hatoful Boyfriend and Hot Date). The…


Orwell wants you to spy on people over the next few weeks

Part of the national security Safety Plan in Orwell’s world is a program that employs citizens to spy on other citizens. Aptly, it’s called Orwell. As a government spy in the game’s world, you’ll be able to scour others media presence—and chat conversations—for suspicious information. Creator Osmotic Studios started rolling out the five part story last week; the first came on October 20, with the second coming on October 27. Episode three follows on November 3, with four coming on November 10, and the final installment on November 17. “The weekly release structure is a nod to the thriller nature of the game,” publisher…


The Invisible Hand wants to make trading exciting, but also boring

Working as a trader used to be a glamorous—if also morally dubious—job. Note the use of the past tense in that sentence: Wall Street (1987), with its yelling into phones and power-suits, power-lunches, and power-everything-else is a thing of the past. It’s not for nothing that the most exciting cultural portrayal of traders in recent years, Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), is set in the recent past. What happened? In short: math and computers. The balance of power shifted from those executing trades to those who created the models on which those trades were based. In The Hidden Role…


Jason Rohrer’s next game is a twisted take on child rearing

Jason Rohrer’s last game, the home defense MMO The Castle Doctrine (2014), revolved around protecting what’s yours: your family, your wealth accumulated through rounds of burglary, your carefully designed web of traps and defense. It was a ruthless world, a merciless place where your measure of success is how good you were at dismantling other’s work and stealing their goods. So it seems ironic that his next game (working title One Life) starts you off as completely defenseless and reliant on the kindness of online strangers. Enter the world in Rohrer’s currently unnamed MMO, and you find yourself birthed to…