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The dizzying art of the cinematic zoom invades videogames

Zooms have long been the crux of dramatic filmmaking. Legendary director Alfred Hitchcock popularized the dizzying camera effect in his classic thriller Vertigo (to, obviously, envelop the viewer in a sense of vertigo). Afterwards, zooms became a trend among filmmakers seeking to add that extra depth of environmental distortion to a shot – sometimes even to comedic success. For videogames, the art of the cinematic zoom is harder to master. In most cases, the player has control over the camera, and cutscenes hardly ever implement such dramatic effects. In reaching, a game borne out of a recent Global Game Jam,…

Told No One

Secrets sit behind the devilish sound puzzles of Told No One

“You told no one, right?” This is the language we use when speaking of secrets. Something was found out and it must be kept as unknown as possible. It’s telling that Karachi-based artist NAWKSH uses these words to title his videogame Told No One. For it seems to be a tightly woven secret itself. It’s hiding something, perhaps many things, beyond the arcane rituals it tests you with. From the outside, Told No One seems simple enough. The description reads: “five short sound puzzles / interactive experiments in greyscale.” Sounds quite pleasant. But once you head inside it’s immediately clear that…

Spirit is a bone_ 8

Facial recognition lends itself to creepy digital portraits

You shouldn’t have to carry ID when you go to grab a coffee. Coffee is not a controlled substance, though it sure is wonderful (and possibly addictive). That does not stop nominally just societies from demanding that their citizens identify themselves while out and about. Inevitably, the burden of these policies is unevenly shouldered by different groups. This problem could easily solved by no longer demanding that citizens identify themselves at every turn. There are, however, two problems with such a proposal. First: Good luck getting municipal politicians and police forces to agree. Second: The elimination of identification requirements means…

Dangerous Golf

Dangerous Golf wields destruction as a middle finger to the rich

Golf is the sport for people with far too much time and money. The average length of one round is 4 hours; the average golf course is so large, there’s a particular vehicle designed to carry you across the field of play. Its archetypal depiction, in the collective human unconscious, will eternally be an old white man with a sun-visor and a cigar, making someone else carry his clubs from hole to hole. Golf is the sport of the one percent. why not turn anything into a golf course? Maybe it’s golf’s status as an activity of the elite that makes…

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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Even presidential campaigning is available in sweet, sweet VR

Don’t look now but Ted Cruz won the Republican vote in the Iowa caucus. (At the time of writing, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were on track to split Iowa’s Democratic delegates.) Or maybe you want to look. I don’t know you or your political views. At the very least it seems safe to bet that at some point during this interminable campaign, which is still very far from over, you have wanted to turn away from a candidate. Just for a second, for your sanity. Thanks to the magic of virtual reality, you can now turn your back on…

The Witness

This parody of The Witness is more accurate than you might think

Be warned, this article contains mild spoilers for the end of The Witness. /// Most of the people I know who have been playing The Witness since it came out a week ago have been doing so in the graces of midnight—”it’s an ideal late night game,” is the consensus. While loved ones are tucked up in bed, you can be quiet with The Witness, as it is quiet with you. There’s no music, no maddening rapid button-pressing, nothing to yelp at as it jumps out at you. And the mix of serene exploration and chewy puzzle-solving lends itself to…


Prepare to feed elastic bodies to the stylish Necropolis on March 17th

Last time we mentioned Necropolis, the gawp-worthy dungeon crawler wasn’t much more than a few entrancing gifs and a promise to sate our unending thirst for procedurally generated, spooky fantasy. Now there’s a set date at which you can start your death tally. Oh yes, Necropolis will release on March 17th, with pre-orders opening today. And a set release date isn’t all that Necropolis has gotten since we looked away—it also appears to have grown a sense of humor. Made by Harebrained Schemes, the creators of the Shadowrun games, Necropolis is a game about exploring a very dangerous tomb and getting killed a…


This videogame about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict makes peace uncomfortably achievable

I solved the Israeli-Palestinian situation over the weekend, and the experience didn’t fill me with hope for the future. Let’s backtrack a little: Benjamin Netanyahu is still Israel’s prime minister, Palestinian statehood is still far from a reality, and international pressure or support for any just outcome is lukewarm at best. All of which is to say, my solution could only exist in a fictional universe. And so it does—I was playing ImpactGames’ PeaceMaker: Israeli Palestinian Conflict, which was recently updated for iOS and Android. PeaceMaker tries to play down its fictional side. It is very much of this world,…


This Go student has become the Go master—and it’s a computer

If Go is mentioned in the US, it’s in the context of complicated games, or hard games, or games with some element of “purity.” It’s just white stones and black stones on a nineteen by nineteen board. You play by putting stones down, not moving them, if you surround your opponent’s stones they are “captured,” and that’s more or less it. Ostensibly, no game could be simpler. But if you’ve ever tried to learn how to play Go, you’ll know it feels a lot more like the spoiled-for-choice paralysis of staring at a blank page The board has 361 spaces,…


Here comes another horror game contender for the P.T. throne

One of the primary pleasures of European horror from the 70s is the sheer amount of wandering that takes place. In France you had erotica auteur Jean Rollin and his undead ingenues padding barefoot around mist-shrouded moors; in Italy, the more overtly perverse Dario Argento was stalking actresses through baroque ballet schools and haunted apartment complexes. Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) is full of luscious landscape photography and endless strolls through the wilderness.  Don’t Look Now, Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Psychic—there’s simply no end to the interminable, dreamy walks to nowhere that dominate these movies. Part of this is simply the nature of tension-building; for there…

The Desolate Hope

The many failures of the Five Nights At Freddy’s creator

On January 21, Scott Cawthon’s Five Nights at Freddy’s World (FNaF World), the surprisingly light-hearted role-playing followup to the popular horror series, was released on Steam, ahead of its announced February 19th release date. User reception was generally positive, but the drastic shift in style and tone left some fans confused, leading to an 87 percent user review rating. Not satisfied with an aggregated score of “very positive”, Cawthon pulled the game from Steam, promising to update it with new features and release it for free on Game Jolt once it was ready. In a post on Steam, Cawthon explained…

twofold inc

Twofold inc. makes matching tiles feel like shooting a gun

Who is this fumbling little alien? Looking like the offspring of Kang and Kodos, cyclopean and tentacled, working some dead-end 9-to-5. In space, nonetheless. And without a clue. No, really, who are you little dude? This alien’s job is to not know anything. It’s a tutorial alien that is stupefied by me as I work out how to play twofold inc. That’s right: inc. I’m working for a company in this game. Or, at least, this alien is supposed to be. But I’m doing its job for it. I suppose that’s fine. I mean, I don’t mind, not with the bleeps…

Angel Raphael

How to talk about videogames (if you’re blind)

One of the first things that people notice when they flip on their consoles are the catchy intro sequences; the flashy animations of the screen. Videogames have a quantified area around them that’s visual. After all, so many game elements are conveyed through visual means, such as objective markers and collectables. Usually, in a videogame review, these visual references will pop up. Pixels will be examined, judgments will be passed on art direction and the success of animated bodies. I, however, don’t review visuals at all. I have to look to different aspects of a videogame to make up for…


Train digital pets to eat eggplant in this cute game

Digital pets used to be the big craze. The late 1990s and early 2000s flourished with numerous digital pet-raising simulators. From the ubiquitous monster-collector RPG Pokémon, the digi-pet raiser website Neopets, the weird creatures within Tamagotchis, the loving pups of Nintendogs on the DS, as well as a slew of others—digital pets were everywhere. As time passed on, the digital pet raising fad mostly faded away (my rare Snow Cybunny on Neopets probably starving to death to this very day). In a modern day effort to reinvigorate the digital pet genre, smartphone game Pakka Pets was born. Pakka Pets bustles…