Weekend Reading: The Cultural Icosystem

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 Story of Fumito Ueda, The style of game Originally published in 2005, but recently translated into English, this candid interview with Fumito Ueda draws the vivid creative and commercial lineage to classics like Ico (2001) and Shadow of…

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…


New Processors Give Mobile Gamers a Competitive Edge

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Players who traverse new games like Star Wars: Battlefront, retro games like Horizon Chase or virtual reality experiences are keen on having the best new processors and computing performance they can get. But for many gamers, having a computer that pushes their skills to a game’s limit is no longer enough, according to Mark Chang, gaming strategist on Intel’s performance notebook team. “It’s not just about playing the game anymore,” said Chang. “It’s also about sharing and engaging with the community and friends. That completes the gaming experience.” He pointed to the rise of…


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…


New game reminds us you can’t take the ‘disco’ out of ‘discomfort’

You can’t spell ‘discomfort’ without ‘disco.’ Or at least, that’s quite literally the scenario spelled out in game maker Fedor Balashav’s brief experimental title DISCO / DISCOMFORT . In DISCO / DISCOMFORT, the player enters a neon-flushed disco club in the midst of seemingly nowhere, an environment that quickly devolves into a sociophobia-driven nightmare. You, the player, are tasked with interacting with other people, but if only it were that simple. Not just looking at my faceless first-person character, they were looking at me Sociophobia is, by its dictionary definition, the fear of socializing. That means, the fear of social gatherings. The fear of…


Nostation, a game inspired by late-night train rides across China

In China, years ago, Bubble is riding a train late at night. “In the [past] the train was slow and dirty, it [would] take a long time to arrive at the destination,” they say. Bubble is far away from home and the train is almost entirely empty. “Just me alone,” Bubble tells me while recalling the memory. “Probably at 2 a.m. I opened the window and looked out, it [was] a fantastic feeling.” Bubble can’t describe the feeling further than that, other than saying it wasn’t loneliness, and it wasn’t fear, it was something else. The experience left a deep…


Videogames and the digital baroque

During the 17th century in Europe and her colonies, mankind was forcibly removed from the center of the universe and cast adrift in an indifferent cosmos devoid of greater purpose or meaning. This was accomplished not by any supernatural power but by advancements in technology, particularly optics: telescopes could chart the motions of previously obscure celestial bodies while microscopes could, for the first time, see the living cells that made up human bodies. Earth turned out not to be the center of the universe but one of many planets that orbited the Sun; an average star among countless others in…


An art book wants you to embrace your failures

To be an artist is to know failure. We know it intimately, in our smudges and our typos. We fear it, anxiously hesitating before we draw the second eye, afraid that we cannot replicate the perfection of the first. Failed It! by Erik Kessels challenges these feelings, arguing for the beauty of our mistakes. It’s part photobook, showcasing many beautiful and hilarious examples of imperfection across different creative mediums. But it’s also part guidebook, seeking to dispel our fear of mistakes and, in doing so, remove an obstacle to reaching our full potential as artists. While some of the photographs…


Internet Murder Revenge Fantasy is a first-hand look at growing up online

As a transgender girl growing up in the American Midwest, childhood was a lonely experience for me. I was still questioning so much of who I was, and at the time, there weren’t many resources out there to help me work through it. Transfeminist literature like Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl (2007) had yet to be published, and I had to resort to older and more unhelpful narratives instead, like a 1998 book a mother wrote about her daughter’s transition titled Mom, I Need to Be a Girl. Finding myself in a real-world culture that was unwilling to talk about LGBT issues for…