Post-Apocalyptic Abramovic Method Game
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In the post-apocalypse, there will still be performance art

Back in 2013, Lady Gaga quit smoking by employing the “Abramovic Method” during a three-day retreat in New York. It led to this extraordinary (and NSFW) video, in which Gaga is seen chanting into an empty room, stood blindfolded in a river to feel the rain drops against her skin, and getting intimate with a big block of ice while completely naked. The video achieved what it was supposed to: encouraging everyone who watched it and the public-at-large to question what this peculiar Method she went through was. The “Abramovic Method” is named after its creator, famed artist and self-proclaimed “grandmother…

Lioness
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The first eerie footage of Lioness beams in from another dimension

Zak Ayles isn’t budging. Sure, he’s released the first footage of his upcoming game Lioness at last, but it’s warped and degraded to the point that you have to squint your eyes and rewind it a few times to make any sense of it. In fact, it seems as if Ayles has transmitted the footage to a CRT monitor or, if not that, made an effort to replicate the look of one so that it judders, the scanlines tumbling about, the colors probably much more psychedelic than they actually are. As you can see below, the video is titled “retrograde”…

Lieve Oma
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Lieve Oma, a poetic game about appreciating your grandma

Dedicated to grandmas everywhere, Lieve Oma (translated from the Dutch as “Dear Grandma”) is a game that speaks to the way we come to associate places in the world with the loved ones we once shared them with. Creator Florian Veltman has now released it on itch.io after having spent the past few months arranging the trees and rivers of the game’s forest to his liking—an act that he previously told me felt akin to grafting a portrait of his own grandma. “Not because of the ‘autumnal sunset colours’, but because despite what it may evoke on the surface, everything still seems…

Tokyo 42
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Tokyo 42 takes cyberpunk fiction to its prettiest city yet

Tokyo 42 is cyberpunk in all but look. Its future vision of Japan’s bustling capital city has none of the dead skies and drug-addled misery of William Gibson’s Chiba City, nor the clustered smokestacks and commercial traffic of Blade Runner‘s (1982) Los Angeles. Yet, it’s a game that has you running through the Tokyo population as an assassin—in both single player and multiplayer modes—popping off targets with grenades and sniper rifles, able to change your skin (presumably a cyborg ability) to blend back in with the crowds. The brief description of the game’s story also tells us that you’ll “uncover a dark…

Engare
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Engare, a videogame about the mathematical beauty of Islamic art

Iranian game maker Mahdi Bahrami is the kind of person who answers a question with more questions. I don’t think he can stop himself. “What will happen if I add a short line to one of the tiles in a mosque?” he asks me. “If we take into account the tiling rules of the mosque, what would the whole wall look like after we add the line? What if we change the rules? What would the mosque ceiling look like?” I don’t know. But for Bahrami, that’s entirely the point—his upcoming puzzle game Engare is about exploring this unknown space and…

Cartas
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Cartas captures the terror of immigration in the 19th century

Julian Palacios, the Milan-based creator of Cartas, describes it as being “a short narrative game about the journey of a man adrift.” It is, in fact, more specific than that, it being bookended by letters written by immigrants who traveled to Argentina at the end of the 19th century. The game seems most concerned with depicting the dysphoria and disappointment of immigration, particularly as it’s described in the letter that is read aloud at its beginning—that of open hostility, constant alienation, racial abuse, feeling alone in an unfamiliar land. It captures all this through abstract, dreamlike segments that see you…

SNES code injection
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The hacker pulling off SNES glitches that only machines were supposed to do

We’re at a time when artificial intelligence is not only mimicking human behavior but surpassing it. The common story now is one of a previously human-exclusive activity—usually labor or a sport—being performed better by a machine programmed to perfect it. That’s why it might feel like we’re on the verge of everything tipping into the robots’ favor: the many technological warnings of science-fiction coming true (Skynet in 1984’s The Terminator, etc). Perhaps this is why Seth Bling does what he does. He’s something of a videogame engineer and hacker who, among other things, specializes in completing tasks that only machines were thought…

San Andreas Deer Cam
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What the 24-hour deer cam in GTA V tells us about the game

There is a wild deer wandering the paved streets of San Andreas, the fictional city of Grand Theft Auto V (2013), freely roaming the 100 square miles of gangland and beaches. By “wild” I don’t mean that this creature is merely not of civilized society—a wild beast—I mean that it doesn’t fit in with the autonomy of the game’s programmed virtuality. Like the player might be a “wild” integer in the game’s system, chasing their own goals, operating on thoughts and desires that aren’t produced by the game’s code, so too is this deer. It is, in fact, an artificial…

Eveline
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A videogame that tricks you into reading literature

The puzzle island of The Witness, released back in January, contains a theater in which you can unlock and watch movie clips. Among the documentaries and interviews about science progression and spiritual awakening is the last 10 minutes of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia (1983). Since it’s been discovered, chatter has spread across the internet from people first discovering the Russian film-maker, not just hoping to discuss what the Nostalghia clip could mean in the context of The Witness, but also showing an appreciation for the artistry of the film’s ending too. In this case, the game has acted as conduit, introducing its players to…