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A closer look at the clunky bots and boxy spaceships of The Signal From Tölva

Do you remember Sir, You Are Being Hunted for its breathtaking art and scenic landscapes? Or do you remember mostly harrowing chases through the moors as bemonacled automatons try to skin you for sport? We covered the studio’s newest game The Signal From Tölva last December, focusing on the stunning landscapes of the titular planet. Now, thanks to a video posted by the art team, we’ve gotten a better look at the pointedly clunky, resilient aesthetic of the machines that make up the world of Tölva, from the oil tanker equivalent of spaceships to robots that look like they were put together…

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Superhot VR’s new update challenges you to beat the game in 10 minutes

In our friends at Versions’ end of the year wrap-up of their favorite virtual reality interactions of 2016, Superhot VR stood out. Superhot VR takes after the bullet-time videogame it spawned from, except with one clear difference—as your actual head and body moved, as did time. This lends itself to a variety of great VR-bound interactions: punching people in the head and watching them shatter ever-slowly, catching a gun in mid-air. Yet one stood out above the rest for our list: ricocheting a minuscule bullet off a pistol. In an update to the Oculus Touch-exclusive game, Superhot VR is going to…

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VERSIONS 2017, Speaker Spotlight: Charlotte Furet

The F_T_R are an interdisciplinary design studio working at the intersection of speculation, imagination, prediction, and realization. On their website, they bid themselves as “Innovation Architects.” And as the creators of projects such as the haptic suit Skinterface and the digital display of bioluminescent bacteria Living Pixels, The F_T_R have lived up to that description. At our upcoming VERSIONS 2017 conference, Charlotte Furet, a designer at the F_T_R, will be a featured speaker during our “Sensing Stories” panel. Born and raised in Paris, Furet received her BA in Architecture from Barnard College and a dual masters in Innovation Design Engineering from…

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Serve up coffee to the dead in an upcoming anime-inspired visual novel

A long, long, long, long, long time ago (summer of last year), I was a barista. I was a barista for nearly three years, workin’ away at the same ol’ shop. Brewing tea, chatting with customers, and befriending regulars. When I played VA-11 Hall-A last year, a game that marketed itself as a “cyberpunk bartending action,” I felt the familiarity of working in the beverage-serving industry wash over me. In the upcoming Necrobarista, I imagine it might evoke a similar feeling. Announced this month at Visual;Conference, the Route 59 Games-developed Necrobarista is a visual novel about a cafe in Melbourne, Australia and…

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Explore a dark, sacred world inspired by Finnish folklore

In some beliefs and cultures, the separation of Earth and Heaven isn’t so cut and dry. In some, there’s an odd space that finds itself sandwiched in between: a point of connection between the ground we know and the sky, whether it’s materialized by a tree, a totem, a mountain, a pillar, or anything sculpted by nature or man. In Axis Mundi, a virtual reality game borne of the recent “waves”-themed Global Game Jam, the so-called connection between Earth and Heaven is a grim place. Designed in Finland by Hu’ng, Kalle, Essi Tommila, Antti Kytö, and Mirka for the Global Game…

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A VR short film has been nominated for an Academy Award

While last year the Emmy’s recognized the Oculus Story Studio short film Henry, this year another awards ceremony is taking notice of virtual reality—the Academy Awards. Pearl, a VR short from Google, has been nominated for the 2017 Academy Awards for Best Animated Short Film. Pearl, released in 2016, stands out among the 360-degree, mobile VR, and room-scale VR tales told by Google’s Spotlight Stories. The short is directed by Patrick Osborne, the same of the Oscar-winning short Feast, which screened before the Disney film Big Hero 6 in theaters. But Pearl is a different beast than Feast, because it plops the viewer directly…

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Nothing like a 2-bit beach, 8-bit sounds, and real sand to get in your shoes

I’m not a beach person. I don’t like when sand gets in my shoes. And I don’t like wearing sandals to avoid that very problem either. I live in San Francisco, where the beaches are notoriously windy and cold, not sun-kissed and surf-ready. When I think of beaches, I often wish I were thinking of something else. But Virtua Walker ‘87, a virtual reality game borne from last weekend’s Global Game Jam, imagines a different kind of beach—one that I might even fancy walking along. The 2-bit color limited Virtua Walker ‘87 was developed by the Scotland-based Robin Sloan, Paul…

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Chrome-tinged cats come to life in this colorful VR music video

Most virtual reality music videos feel the same. They’re all impressive on a technical level, rotating 360-degrees so viewers can take in all their surroundings. Yet little of them inject the most integral feature: interactivity. That is, except for Tyler Hurd, an animator known for injecting life into those typically stagnant virtual reality music videos and making them colorful, fun, and most of all—somewhat playable like a game. At the Tribeca Film Festival last year, the animator unleashed “Old Friend,” a zany, psychedelic dance party where the player shimmied alongside a cartoonish conductor. In Hurd’s follow-up, a collaboration with Viacom NEXT, interactivity roots…

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Explore Norse mythology in a captivating snow globe-bound puzzle game

From January 20th to the 22nd, the annual Global Game Jam blanketed the entire world as developers from every corner of every country quickly devised games. In total, 7217 games saw completion—which according to Global Game Jam, accounts to about 60 percent of Steam’s entire library. Some games were about knife-wielding crabs, others were calming vignettes, but every project found itself carefully crafted in accordance to a single theme: waves. In Australia-based developers Jennifer Scheurle, Gerard Delaney, and Emri Can Deniz’s entry, waves took shape in a familiar place: Norse mythology. The Serpent Cycle is a game of vignettes, taking place entirely within…