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Go on a virtual tour of Don Draper’s apartment

Don Draper, John Hamm’s suave protagonist in the dearly departed series Mad Men (2007-2015), didn’t so much as work in advertising as embody the field. At an instinctive level, he understood that aspirations wrapped up in objects need to be made tangible, and that advertising is a means to that end. The Draper home, then, was a central part of the man’s riddle. It wasn’t a showroom—no home ever is. Carpets don’t stay white forever. But if it wasn’t simply there to sell its contents, it was still there to sell an idea or a lifestyle or—failing all that—the man himself. That…


The time has come to drop Drake off his own album cover

In Aubrey “Drake” Graham’s home city of Toronto, there are only two seasons: Winter and Summer. “It’s a very unique place,” said the rapper in an interview with Zane Lowe on his Beats One radio show OVO Sound Radio. “You start to value your days a lot more, when seven months are spent in the icy cold.” Views, the “fourth” studio album from Drake, dropped on Apple Music and iTunes lat last Thursday night (after a blitzkrieg of two mixtapes in the past year alongside some summertime diss tracks and singles—but none of them official, of course). Views, as described…

Shapeshifter Biker

Become a shapeshifting road warrior in a Mad Max-style game

Last weekend, Renaud Forestié released a game called Shapeshifter Biker, a free-wheeling road movie mixed with shapeshifting mechanics. Shapeshifter Biker has you drive around a desert map on the lookout for animal power-ups that give you the ability to temporarily shapeshift into a variety of different animals—flying eagles or sheltered turtles. However, you are constantly being chased by ducks in large black cars who will stop at nothing to defeat you. The game was created as a part of the latest Ludum Dare game jam, which gave participants 48 hours to create games under the theme “Shapeshift,” which was clearly at the core of Renaud’s…


Run the world’s fastest tattoo parlor in Ten Second Tattoo

For a little while now, I’ve been contemplating whether or not I want to get a tattoo. It’s not that I have a particular idea for one in mind, so much as it is that I like the thought of using ink to assert my own bodily autonomy. I just have two issues stopping me from pulling the trigger. The first is that I can’t think of a design I want at the moment, let alone one I’ll like decades down the line. The second is that I worry about where I should go for such a permanent change. After playing…

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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esports arena Kirill Bashkirov

The search for a game to unite all esports fans

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. The genre-bending competitive games releasing in the next year have the potential to bring the usually divided fan bases of esports together. Many see esports as the next $1 billion sport, but getting there depends on a savvy intertwining of new titles and their diverse fan bases. If new gaming titles such as Blizzard’s Overwatch, Gearbox’s Battleborn and Epic Games’ Paragon are going to succeed as esports, industry insiders believe these titles have to evolve beyond popularity. “There is sort of a secret sauce when it comes to esports,” said Marcus Graham, Twitch’s director of Programming.…

Return of the Obra Dinn

Return Of The Obra Dinn’s historical fiction gets even eerier in new demo

Lucas Pope, of Papers Please (2013) fame, has been working on his new project, Return of the Obra Dinn, for nearly two years now. Back in October 2014, he released the first build of the game, which ran for 10 minutes in length and showed off its stylistic 1-bit rendering. Updates on the game’s progress since then have all arrived in the form of a devlog, except the latest, which comes with a new demo to play. It features a host of improvements, such as a new intro sequence with fully voiced dialogue, a remodeled top deck, a new flashback, a small…


The Nightmare Valley of The Source Engine

Upon walking into St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican with a close friend in January, our jaws simultaneously dropped. He had never seen anything like it before. As he gazed up at the infinitely mathematical marble and gold ceiling, he said, “I think this could be the only structure like this to exist outside of a dream.” But I had seen something like it before—in a videogame, and one that I remember today only through dreams. //// There are certain types of physical and geographical structures which, until just a few decades ago, could rarely be experienced within the realm of…

Wood for the Trees

Lose yourself in the looping puzzles of a beautiful low-res forest

The first paper note in Wood for the Trees asks: “don’t you just love reading notes on lamp posts?” Images and icons present in other first-person Unity games like Slender (2012) or Andrew Shouldice’s Hide are on display here too. The same note makes reference to “a missing beloved one” addressed by some of the internal monologue, also presented as text on the screen. Built in two days for the 35th Ludum Dare game jam (the theme of which was “Shapeshift”) Wood for the Trees is pervaded by the awareness that it isn’t a game of entirely new ideas—but it’s better…


The broken promise of virtual reality

This is a preview of an article you can read on our new website dedicated to virtual reality, Versions. /// You don’t need a fancy games writer to tell you how few VR games are trickling out into the world these days. A quick perusal of the 2016 release calendar can give you that. Once the luster fades from the Oculus and Vive launch lineups, new converts to VR will find that there aren’t many games waiting in the wings until PlayStation VR arrives in the fall. This is not the end of the world. The games are coming eventually,…


Find peace with Sodzen, a game about watering a plant

I kill nearly every plant I touch, and over the years, I’ve wasted so much money on every plant imaginable in the hopes of finding the one species that can withstand my black thumb. But only now, with Sodzen, have I finally found my perfect plant. Sodzen is a low resolution, highly pixelated game submitted for #LowRezJam by Ottawa-based team SweetHeart Squad, which includes Sean LeBlanc, Ryan Bluth, Emma Thurlow, Cat Wong, Michael Hetman, and Ian Martin. The goal of Sodzen is simple: water the plant. You don’t have to water several plants (there is only a single plant), or…


Waiting Rooms is a building-sized game about the struggles of bureaucracy

When I left the Rubin Museum of Art’s Waiting Rooms exhibit, I had 14 yellow tickets, 24 pennies, and a form with a picture of a unicorn on it in my pocket. It sounds like the random hodgepodge of garbage a quirky Tina Fey character might carry, yes, but within the world of the exhibit, it was a veritable fortune. Created by architect Nathalie Pozzi and game designer Eric Zimmerman, Waiting Rooms is a building-sized game about bureaucracy. In it, the museum is divided into a series of nonlinear rooms, each with their own arbitrary task to complete as well as…


Creators of Never Alone to explore Ukrainian folklore in their next game

Never Alone (2014) is a game steeped in culture. Not just for videogames in the role of cultural accuracy, but in preserving the waning history of Alaskan Natives. The game, based on Alaskan Iñupiat (a hunter-gatherer indigenous people of Alaska) folklore, was an anomaly in the videogame space when it saw release. It was developed in an almost unheard-of collaborative effort between Upper One Games (the first indigenous-owned game developer and publisher in the U.S.) and the nonprofit group Cook Inlet Tribal Council. Both parties sought to develop a game that not only entertained players, but also enchanted them with education in a…


UNICEF combines 500 photos of war victims to give the refugee crisis a face

It’s difficult to grasp the meaning of a global refugee crisis. For much of the world this mass displacement is a moment on a newscast, a headline to be skimmed, a statistic to move us, but only briefly. UNICEF’s Sofia is the latest attempt to give us a deeper understanding. Sofia is a 3D animated girl created using 500 images of actual children from places affected by conflict, such as Ethiopia and Ukraine. The campaign worked with Getty Images, animators who worked on Planet of the Apes, Tintin (2011), and Avatar (2009), and the marketing agency Edelman Deportivo to culminate these images into a…

Binary Domain

Binary Domain and the importance of shooting robots

A third-person shooter in which you destroy thousands of robots using big guns and lots of bullets. That could be a description for both Binary Domain (2012) and Vanquish (2010). They’re both science-fiction and both published by SEGA. And each of them is styled in a way that might be described as “very Japanese.” But where Vanquish quickly gets old, Binary Domain is alive, vibrant, and keeps you hooked until its end. The difference is revealed in the characters. More specifically, it’s found in the cutscenes. As game-makers continue to explore new methods of interactive storytelling, I understand why cutscenes…