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Along Came Humans wants to make colonization great again

What if Spore (2008) hadn’t been a complete and total letdown? What if Sim City took to the stars, with colorful aesthetics a la Kerbal Space Program (2015) and a friendlier, simplified interface? What if a smart, streamlined game could offer you all of that and more? Along Came Humans, created by Tim Aksu of Pelican Punch Studios, is promising that. The goal is simple: colonize a planet. Then colonize another planet to bolster aforementioned planet’s diminishing resources. Streamline. Reorganize. Rinse. Repeat. According to Asku, your colonies will demand a larger variety—as well as a higher quality—of goods as they expand. Your job…


Here it is, the latest nostalgia ploy for the Tsum Tsum generation

One of my favorite things to see compared are Funko POP! figures (of the United States) with Good Smile’s Nendoroids (of Japan). The two are at once comparable—both being a popular series of uniformly designed figures—but also incomparable. POP!s are chibi (small), cheap, and most of all: ugly. While Nendoroids are also chibi, a bit more pricey, and most of all: actually really cute. When put side by side, the cuter figure is always clear. I’ve always taken it as a sign that my fellow Americans don’t know what cute means. But with World of Final Fantasy, the latest JRPG clout…

Depression Presented Ludically in the Style of a Videogame

Representing depression through game mechanics

There is a point in the depths of depression where you will begin to drown in your garbage. I don’t mean that as metaphor—I mean literal garbage. Unwashed dishes, dirty laundry, bags of trash, boxes from take-out for all the times you couldn’t find the energy to cook (which is every time). And, of course, so many empty wine vessels that you feel tempted to lie—even to yourself—about how many there actually are. In Depression Presented Ludically in the Style of a Videogame this is the point where you fall off the screen. the eerily slow fall back into the abyss…


Battlefield 1’s tiny handgun is here to humiliate you

Picture this: you’re in the Battlefield 1 open beta. Chaos is happening all around you. Buildings are falling, gunshots are whizzing past your ear, narrowly missing. The fear of an airstrike or mustard gas bombing always looms in the background. As the action crescendos, an enemy jumps out of a bush, and kills you with a gun no bigger than a credit card. A fucking Kolibri. The 2mm Kolibri is a very real, very tiny handgun—first manufactured in 1910, it remains the world’s smallest centerfire cartridge. The name Kolibri literally means hummingbird, although I would argue here that the gun’s…

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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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…

Doom 2 Four Site 300 hour screenshot

One Doom fan, 300 hours, and one gargantuan level

The first time I ever made a Doom map I simply created a few rooms and hallways, then added a couple of enemies and some ammo. But Ben Mansell created something a little more complex with his first Doom map. After 300 hours and over a year spent on it, Mansell is ready to unleash Four Site into the world. A map so large it will take most players two to three hours to complete. Four Site is massive—essentially four decent-sized Doom maps put together. Each section has its own look and feel, and the pacing is unlike many modern Doom maps…

Small Radios Big Televisions

Small Radios Big Televisions finds the beauty in machine glitches

Small Radios Big Televisions, a game about the joys of broken analog tech, is coming to PlayStation 4 and PC on November 8th. Mostly, it wants you to collect cassettes and play them in a tape recorder: special attention is given to the tape sliding into the tray, the chik of it being locked in, the reel slowly spinning to unwind its contents. For someone who remembers doing this over and over as a child bored in their room, it’s a sensual few seconds; the familiar choreography plugging straight into the spectral residue of fond memories. But that’s only the beginning.…

Hidden Folks

Get lost (and found) in the playful world of Hidden Folks

When game designer Adriaan de Jongh (of Bounden fame) stumbled upon Sylvain Tegroeg’s work, he was mesmerized. Tegroeg’s black-and-white illustrations showed a tiny world brimming with folks going about their lives. Every nook and cranny told a story. “I was staring at them for 10 minutes,” recalled de Jongh. “They already had this feeling that there’s this big world … with lots of things happening.” Jokingly, de Jongh suggested they should make a game around it. Inspired, he cobbled together art “stolen” from Tegroeg’s website, creating a “really bad” interactive prototype where you can zoom in and out as well…

A Normal Lost Phone

Videogame invites you to discover someone through their lost phone

You find a phone on the ground outside. You look around, but there’s no one in sight. Hoping that there will be some information to help you contact the owner, you turn the phone on. This is where the preview for A Normal Lost Phone starts. Immediately, four messages pop up on the phone, sent over the last couple hours from the owner’s dad. “Where are you?”; “Where did you go?” Accidental Queens, the collective that created A Normal Lost Phone, list Her Story (2015), Gone Home (2013), and Life is Strange (2015) as their main inspirations. It feels most strongly…