Spherical Constitution

A videogame about the physical pain of having a body

There really aren’t enough videogames about the physical constraints of the body. We have so many games about wonderful bodies: those that can jump high and run fast, that are shot at with bullets and cannonballs yet miraculously heal of all injury seconds later, bodies that move frictionless throughout the length of their virtual existence. Where are the aches and pains of aging? Where are the stretch marks and permanent pressures of contortion? It’s the inconsequential freedom of bodies in videogames that is often the greatest source of their fantasy. We would probably all act recklessly in reality if we…

A House of Many Doors

Weird fiction continues to invade videogames with A House of Many Doors

It was going fine until the Gangleman came. He arrived in the total darkness that my crew and I had been plunged into after the Heartlight had gone out. As Captain, I had made the decision to not sacrifice my own heart nor that of any of my crew to restore the light, and so we made haste towards the City of Keys, the closest refuge to our desperate position. That’s when he came, to the tune of “Gangleman, Gangleman,” a portentous poem written across the ages about his infamous acts of terror. And with that he stole one of my men…

Night Lights

Night Lights hides a whole other world behind its shadows

“Things are different at night.” A game based on this small sentence could go in any direction, really, but the most obvious path is probably towards horror. Not for Moscow-based game maker Artem Cheranev. He went with making a 2D puzzle game that uses light and shadow so you can move between different dimensions. Called Night Lights, each level in Cheranev’s upcoming game contains one or more spotlights that illuminate a small area in golden rays. Everything else is in darkness; a contrasting blue to the light’s beam. Sometimes you can use levers or pressure switches to turn the lights off, at…

Tokyo 42

At last, another excuse to stare at the beautiful metropolis of Tokyo 42

Apparently it’s not enough to simply sit and stare at the neat blocks of color that make up the future metropolis of Tokyo 42 (as I spent most of my time doing when I last wrote about it). We need to pay attention to what you can do in these elevated city islands too. That’s the focus of the latest video released by publisher Mode 7, who says “the game has attracted a bit of a following due to its art style, but now we really want to delve into the gameplay and show people that it plays as nicely as…

Euclidean Lands

Get ready for the twisty geometry of Euclidean Lands to arrive this year

One videogame that should be on your list of ones to watch in 2017 is, without a doubt, Euclidean Lands. It’s the work of Miro Straka, a Slovenian architecture student at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, who decided to make a puzzle game in his spare time. After a few years he’s coming to a close and is looking to get it out on mobile soon. You can immediately see the benefits of Straka making a videogame alongside his studies. Each level in Euclidean Lands is a diorama of shifting geometry; impossible feats of architectural complexity. A line…

The Flame in the Flood

Die along a river when The Flame in the Flood arrives on PS4 this month

If you haven’t played The Flame in the Flood yet then consider this a second chance. Today it was announced that it’ll be coming to PlayStation 4 on January 17th. And not only that, it’ll have some extra goodies to boot in order to justify calling it the “Complete Edition.” There aren’t too many extras to get excited about in this new package. It includes a director’s commentary, avatars, and a dynamic theme. Oh, and “gameplay enhancements,” which could mean anything, but given that the creators are being vague it’s likely just a bunch of small improvements that even people familiar with…

Future Unfolding

You can sprint across Future Unfolding’s dreamlike meadows very soon

Future Unfolding has looked good for a long time. We first spotted it almost three years ago when we naively said that it would be coming out in 2014. Not a chance. We’ve just entered 2017 and it’s still not out. But it will be out soon. In fact, its arrival is listed on Steam as “Early 2017.” If you haven’t yet recovered from your New Year’s Eve party, let me get you up to speed: that’s where we are right now. Andreas Zecher, one of the people making Future Unfolding, is already prepping for the drop. As far as can…

Do Not Feed The Monkeys

Ah, just what dystopian videogames need: acid humor

It’s no surprise that videogames are increasingly interested in matters of surveillance. After all, these days we can all feel like distant observers of each other’s lives, peeking in from the fringes provided by social media. There’s plenty of fiction from the 20th century that predicted our current circumstance: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), Brazil (1985), A Scanner Darkly (1977), and so on. Perhaps the only surprise is how willingly we submit our personal lives to the machines that are made to watch us. Last year, videogames got serious on the subject, with harrowing thrillers like Replica, Orwell, Inside, and Watch_Dogs 2,…


In Forgotten, you’re the horror inside the computer

“It’s now safe to turn off your computer.” Anyone who owned a PC in the ’90s should be familiar with this strange statement. It only appeared once you’d instructed the computer to shut down. But now it also serves as the ending to Sophia Park‘s new Twine game, Forgotten. It’s a fitting closure given that you spend your time inside an old computer with a nearly exhausted hard drive. When you leave you have destroyed the last remnants of a virtual world and the inhabitants that had spent years dwelling within. That final statement suggests that, after your cleansing (or destructive) act,…