MADE
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The MADE, or the importance of games console history you can touch

About 30 miles northeast of the Frank Gehry-designed campuses and complexes where competing cloud environments are designed, there’s an Oakland museum full of game cartridges. You can see the sign from the highway: The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE). That the sign is visible from the highway is a big reason for an uptick in attendance since the museum’s February 2016 re-opening, I’m told, and this seems right to me. In the San Francisco Bay, where programming cultures abound and history is cast as something to be disrupted, forgotten, discarded, the MADE idiosyncratically contrasts the irresistible narratives playing…

Solace State
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Look out for Solace State, a game about ideological division in a daunting sci-fi city

The world of Solace State opens up before me, its buildings cross-cut and becoming transparent as Chloe, a “woman of many [identities] who gets caught up in a journey of dissent, deception and redemption” navigates a foreign, 21st century cosmopolitan city-state. “An isometric camera cuts in, and you’re hacking into the building,” says Tanya Kan, the lead designer and founder of Vivid Foundry as she demonstrates Solace State for me. “It’s a way of depicting open-societies, or of trying to reveal more of the world.” As 2D art is overlaid on 3D environments, I’m reminded of origami: detailed, delicate, intricate. Compartmentalized facets combining…

Dear Esther
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More people will soon be able to play The Chinese Room’s poetic videogames

Very soon, thousands more will have the opportunity to get lonely with a videogame in the most beautiful way. Yes, The Chinese Room is bringing both its poetic narrative games, Dear Esther (2012) and last year’s Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, to new platforms—the former is coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, while the latter makes its way to PC. Other than a few pleasant additional touches, like a developer’s commentary for Dear Esther and a few bug fixes, the games will remain essentially unchanged. That means each of these games will, once again, invite you into their virtual…