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David OReilly’s next game reminds us we’re not the center of the universe

Everything wants you to question the scale of our world—and your place in it. Designer David OReilly used the game to expand on his first venture into the game space with Mountain (2014), wherein you’re able to inhabit the perspective of a mountain, a non-human thing. From there, he began experimenting with ways to connect a unique perspective to everything. Humans have the tendency to believe we’re the center of the universe—that we’re special—and we’ve felt that way for a while. It’s a “very old prescientific idea that we’re somehow the center,” OReilly told us in an interview, which will be printed…

it aint over
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Play with words in a videogame about weird idioms

English is a curious language. It’s deceptively easy to pick up, oversimplified and left bare by our lack of gendered nouns and relatively easy cases, but as anyone with a different mother tongue will tell you, mastering it is incredibly hard. It’s a carefree language that pays little heed to convention or regulation, preferring to wander and expound and run-on and twist itself in knots, all while remaining within the bounds of “correct” grammatical structure. We constantly ignore our standard sounds while stealing words from other languages and mangling theirs, too. And if that wasn’t enough, if the transgressions made…

Orbyss
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Orbyss brings the beauty of ribbon gymnastics to your phone

Super Hexagon (2012) has you think in hexagons, Orbyss in circles. Repeat that: Orbyss. Circles. Don’t stop there, either. You should chant this to yourself quietly—or just in your head—as you play Orbyss. You’re gonna need to. Circles, circles, circles. Loops, loops, loops. For if you don’t drill that command into your brain you shall fail. You’ll fail anyway, a lot, like every five seconds, but with a little persistence you can match the complex elegance of a ribbon-twirling rhythmic gymnast. That’s what Orbyss mimics as you get better at it too—a magical performance of flutters and twirls. It’s a game about…

glitched gif
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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…


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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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signal decay
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It’s you and your friends against mind-control tech in Signal Decay

The stealth strategy game Signal Decay, previously known as Squad of Saviors, has just made its way to Steam Greenlight. The premise is simple: you wake up one day and the rest of the world has come under the sway of some indomitable evil, so it’s up to you (and up to three of your friends!) to save humanity. Simple. But Signal Decay’s not content to just send you into the shadows and have that be that. Instead, Signal Decay takes relatively overdone tropes—cyberpunk world, mind control radio, lots of lurking around—and turns it into a strategic experience not unlike…

Flat Heroes
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Flat Heroes turns elegance into a deadly weapon

Flat Heroes is a game about squares in motion, literally. Flat Heroes is a multiplayer-focused game, one that has you controlling dynamic squares that move around a stage, dodging bullets until you can strategically rid the screen of enemies (preferably, all at once). The survival mode can be played with up to four players, either cooperatively or in a versus mode. It’s a simple premise that echoes other games like N++ (2015). But there’s a lot of cool tech running the scenes behind the flat curtain. the feeling of controlling the little square felt so great All the art in…

Our Own Storm
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Upcoming war game teaches compassion by having you play as your own killer

Lots of videogames depict war, ranging from the gung-ho realism of the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises, to the completely ridiculous Totally Accurate Battle Simulator. More often than not, these games make you believe you’re the ‘good guy’, even though you just killed a dozen ‘bad guys’ mercilessly to get to your objective. That’s why a small team of five people—James Earl Cox III, Joe Cox, Elliot Mahler, Denver Coulson, and Tyler Stark—decided to create a war game called Our Own Storm that puts you in the shoes of the person who kills you. It’s a way to humanize each character in war, giving you…

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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…

shogo-mobile-armor-division
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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…

head
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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,…

mi
Feature

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…