Frog Days
News

A videogame about exploring the virtual worlds of 1995

Nostalgia for 1990s graphics and the decade’s range of operating systems is hellfire right now. It’s hot as shit and we can’t get enough it. Hence projects like Windows93 exist. Videogames, too, are increasingly incorporating or fully mimicking the early days of consumer-focused computer technology. Take a look at skeleton flower,  Solitaire.exe, Her Story, and Emily is Away for starters. We’re all growing up while desperately clawing back through the years to get one last sip on that fluorescent pink curly straw and throw gunge at each other. The 1990s it is not, but goddamn if we can’t pretend it is.…

Monument Valley
News

Monument Valley’s illusory architecture could become a Lego set

Monument Valley (2014) and Lego. It just feels right, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s that the puzzle game’s isometric perspective gives us the privileged view of god games, in which we build and destroy. Or perhaps more simply it’s the attention the game draws towards it brightly colored geometric mazes, eager for us to prod and spin them. Either way, there’s something about Monument Valley that makes it ripe for a transformation into modular Lego blocks. Now, there’s actually a chance of that happening. The first step towards this end goal has been made through the proposal of a Monument Valley set over…

Portal 2
News

Portal 2 experiment results in beautiful wormhole art

Dear Chell, Where have you gone? This is your fault. You chose this path. The Aperture Science testing environment has been proven entirely safe for each test subject. Yet your typical violent behavior towards the equipment has proven that false. I’d just like to point out that you were given every opportunity to succeed. There was even going to be a party for you. There was going to be cake. Are you dead? I told you: When you’re dead I will be still alive. I said that. Remember? I warned you. I did. It was not a lie. Now you…

The Malware Museum
News

The beautiful destruction of old-school malware

Malware. Blech! We hate malware. And so we should—deleting files, maliciously clogging up our desktops, turning our browsers into never-ending adverts. But it’s so boring and irritating these days. At least back in the 1980s and 1990s you could take a step back and admire both the technical and artistic achievement of malware before it ate your computer. If you’re not familiar with the malware of yesteryear then, fret not, you needn’t miss out. The internet archivists at archive.org have teamed up with self-professed “malware adventurer” Mikko Hypponnen to provide The Malware Museum. It’s a collection of malware programs that…

Told No One
News

Secrets sit behind the devilish sound puzzles of Told No One

“You told no one, right?” This is the language we use when speaking of secrets. Something was found out and it must be kept as unknown as possible. It’s telling that Karachi-based artist NAWKSH uses these words to title his videogame Told No One. For it seems to be a tightly woven secret itself. It’s hiding something, perhaps many things, beyond the arcane rituals it tests you with. From the outside, Told No One seems simple enough. The description reads: “five short sound puzzles / interactive experiments in greyscale.” Sounds quite pleasant. But once you head inside it’s immediately clear that…

Videogame memory
News

The bot that dreams of forgotten videogames

Memory and videogames is a complicated crossroads. Not least because there’s a minimum of three types of memory meeting at this particular intersection. The most obvious one is personal memory: we remember the games we played over the years and attach emotions, physical locations, the music we were listening to at the time, and more to them. The second might be called technical or virtual memory, referring to the memory that videogames themselves contain. This is the RAM (random-access memory), the ROM (read-only memory), the immaterial saved data on hard drives and memory cards of old. Third is the cultural…

Knights and Bikes
News

Knights and Bikes weaves a tale of childhood, medieval legends, and geese

It’s strange to me that Knights and Bikes is set in the 1980s on a remote (fictional) island off the cold coast of Cornwall, UK. It’s a place where I spent some of my childhood, exploring damp sea caves when the tide was out and mostly being terrified of the pulsating purple jellyfish all around. There are the legends, too: the Beast of Bodmin Moor is the one that haunted me, a supposed wild cat that roams the Cornish grasslands, always conveniently out-of-sight so that cameras only capture a black shape with piercing eyes. There’s also a history of druids and…

The Witness
News

This parody of The Witness is more accurate than you might think

Be warned, this article contains mild spoilers for the end of The Witness. /// Most of the people I know who have been playing The Witness since it came out a week ago have been doing so in the graces of midnight—”it’s an ideal late night game,” is the consensus. While loved ones are tucked up in bed, you can be quiet with The Witness, as it is quiet with you. There’s no music, no maddening rapid button-pressing, nothing to yelp at as it jumps out at you. And the mix of serene exploration and chewy puzzle-solving lends itself to…

twofold inc
News

Twofold inc. makes matching tiles feel like shooting a gun

Who is this fumbling little alien? Looking like the offspring of Kang and Kodos, cyclopean and tentacled, working some dead-end 9-to-5. In space, nonetheless. And without a clue. No, really, who are you little dude? This alien’s job is to not know anything. It’s a tutorial alien that is stupefied by me as I work out how to play twofold inc. That’s right: inc. I’m working for a company in this game. Or, at least, this alien is supposed to be. But I’m doing its job for it. I suppose that’s fine. I mean, I don’t mind, not with the bleeps…