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GLITCHED will break the fourth wall just to be your friend

You’ve lived in the same town all your life, a tiny idyllic village well removed from the world beyond its borders. Life is simple but reassuring in the way of a well-maintained schedule or a checked-off to-do list, and you have very little to want or desire beyond it. You’re content to tread well-worn paths with your best friend and ask nothing else of life. One day, in flagrant defiance of all established patterns, your friend says that he’s going away—reasons unknown, motive mysterious. The night before his departure he disappears, and you look up at the sky, and see…

Indigo Child
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Chat with lonely ghosts in Indigo Child

In the 80s and 90s, “indigo children” were a topic out of New Age philosophy that gained some mainstream popularity. The idea was that certain gifted children might possess unusual or paranormal abilities. It’s the kind of thing that would have made for a good X-Files episode, or if you’re developer Metkis, it makes for a good short game. Indigo Child is about talking to ghosts, but it has an air of melancholy you won’t find in Wadjet Eye’s Blackwell series, despite the shared premise of a character who can talk to ghosts in order to help them find peace…

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The glitch noise and cassette tape nostalgia of Nico Antwerp’s new album

“In the crowd of a subway station, commuters stand on the platform of an impersonal world, in a situation that may well stand as epitome of modern high-tech civilisation.” This is what Nico Antwerp had to say about the inspiration behind “music for jostling commuters,” a 2:32 track set for release later this year on audio cassette. Antwerp is a frequent collaborator with visual artists (see his work on Dreamland) and the collaboration with Benjamin Sammon marries the similarities of their craft. Antwerp’s music carries with it the strains of the -wave and -punk internet subgenres that have come before…

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Sit down and hack into the analog world of Quadrilateral Cowboy

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. QUADRILATERAL COWBOY (Windows) BY BLENDO GAMES From the maker of Gravity Bone (2008) and Thirty Flights of Loving (2012), Quadrilateral Cowboy (affectionately nicknamed Quad Cow) is the latest vignette game from Brendon Chung of Blendo Games. A story told in the same world as Thirty Flights of Loving, this one focuses on the effects of technology in our experience of culture, careers, relationships, and privacy. Combining the aesthetics and mentality of Y2K with the badass heists of Oceans Eleven, Quadrilateral Cowboy invites players to…


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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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Gravity Rush 2 promises “new heights” when it drops this December

Gravity Rush (2012) centered on Kat’s self-discovery and personal growth. Gravity Rush 2—which was just announced for release on December 2—is about exploring Kat’s depth and maturity. A new trailer, released early last week, explores the “new heights” Kat and Raven will come to explore in the Gravity Rush sequel. It’s a glimpse into the massive new world introduced in Gravity Rush 2; a world that promises to take the player and Kat from a tourist to a traveler. There will also be a “bevy of new characters,” including Angel, who’s seen swooping in to help Kat in the new…

Crisis Theory
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New videogame gives you a tough course in capitalist theory

Colonialism, public debt, expropriation. These are what Karl Marx called primitive forms of accumulation; the spark that ignited the flame of capitalism. In David Cribb’s Crisis Theory, you are that flame. You are the spirit of capitalism. Capitalism, as outlined by Marx, is defined by the accumulation of capital—that is, pursuing profit, and at whatever cost necessary. Cribb’s new game is a representation of that process. First, there is the initial investment of capital into labor power or a means of production. Combined with technology, a commodity is created; a commodity that must be purchased by workers or capitalists if…

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The videogame that helped popularize Japanese mecha in the west

In the early 2000s, the Japanese government started to evaluate the value of the country’s popular culture industry following international successes in anime/manga such as Pokémon and Dragonball, videogames like Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda and Super Mario series, and films including Spirited Away (2001) and Ringu (1998). Realizing that its cultural influence expanded despite the economic setbacks of the Lost Decade (from 1991 to 2000), Japan sought to promote the idea of ‘Cool Japan’, an expression of its emergent status as a cultural superpower. For the next dozen years, the Japanese government made use of its soft power and ‘Cool Japan’ strategy to boost cultural…

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Protest your innocence in a new nonlinear courtroom drama

Bohemian Killing, released last week on Steam, is a game about being guilty. More specifically, it’s a game about being guilty and then convincing a court of law that you’re not. A courtroom drama that wants to avoid both Phoenix Wright camp and Law & Order plodding dullness, the main draw of the game is not discovering who committed murder or why, but instead constructing a lie believable—or not—enough to exonerate yourself. Your past is known; your testimony is malleable, and eager to be manipulated. If a blatant lie won’t do, sift through the evidence and twist it to your own…

SEGA Corruption
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Enter a dreamland of glitchy, corrupted videogames

Two fighters behind a curtain of pea green. A bobsled dives into a sea of broken pixels, tumbling into a geode-like fractured structure far removed from the icy-whiteness of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002. The frenetic golden glory of Fantastic Dizzy (1991). These and more make up the Tumblr blog known as Corruption as Art, a compilation of classic videogame glitches that promises “art through computer generated chaos.” “I was originally drawn into doing this by my desire for tinkering and watching things fall apart, not by any sort of aesthetic,” the creator of Corruption as Art…

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TextureWriter might be the best interactive fiction tool for beginners

Header image by Paul Downey An announcement on Twitter last week revealed a new piece of software called TextureWriter, which supposedly makes creating interactive fiction easier than ever. Joining other IF (interactive fiction) tools like Twine and Inform, TextureWriter offers a different and more intuitive way to navigate through a story. Like Twine and Inform, TextureWriter doesn’t require any coding knowledge to create a story. But it also incorporates a much more user-friendly interface than the others, using a simple click and drag button prompt called an “interaction word.” Interactive fiction simulates environments where players can choose different paths for characters,…

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Weekend Reading: The Republican National Comic Convention

While we at Kill Screen love to bring you our own crop of game critique and perspective, there are many articles on games, technology, and art around the web that are worth reading and sharing. So that is why this weekly reading list exists, bringing light to some of the articles that have captured our attention, and should also capture yours. /// The Man Who Spent 30 Years in the Rainforest Preserving the Music of the Bayaka, Emiko Jozuka, Motherboard Around 10 years ago, a DJ and Oxford grad stumbled upon a thousand hours of recordings in the famous Pitt…

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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:…

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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
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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…