Ork
News

The Psygnosis generator will remind you how great game box art can be

Videogame box art is in a pretty awful state. This isn’t really news to anyone; it’s been like that for a while. In fact, since the days of the second generation of the 3D era, box art has been on a steady decline. That’s a long time, so long that you might have even forgotten what good box art looks like. Perhaps you don’t mind DOOM’s painfully generic marine, or Call of Duty’s yearly scraping of the bottom of the barrel for new poses men can hold guns in. It’s not that every bit of modern box art is bad per…

moon
News

One last tour of Destiny’s Cosmodrome

Heterotopias is a series of visual investigations into virtual spaces performed by writer and artist Gareth Damian Martin. /// There’s a set of stairs in my childhood house that I still climb like I was eight years old. It’s not something I do on purpose; it’s something ingrained, so that the moment I step on the first step my hands come instinctively down and I scramble up the carpeted ledges like a dog. It’s as if, through repetition, the space has ceased to be something true, objective, and has transformed into a series of emotional and psychological triggers, arranged in the precise configuration to…

capa
News

My experience as a virtual war photographer in Battlefield 1

Heterotopias is a series of visual investigations into virtual spaces performed by writer and artist Gareth Damian Martin. /// What makes a battlefield different from any other place? Our towns, cities, fields, and parks are all potential battlefields, with lines of sight, choke-points, defensible terrain and no man’s land, all waiting to be activated. But how do you design a battlefield, balance the distribution of buildings, the flow of landscape, the arrangement of forms? It started as an investigation. I would trawl the lone map of Battlefield 1‘s open beta to try to catalog the space custom made for its warfare. Stripping the game of its HUD…

disjointed
News

The disjointed Prague of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Heterotopias is a series of visual investigations into virtual spaces performed by writer and artist Gareth Damian Martin. /// To me, Prague has always felt like a city uniquely in communion with the past and future versions of itself. I remember my first visit, a local friend taking me to the once mysterious, now legendary Cross Club: an amorphous labyrinth of scrap metal occupying the lower floors and basement of a decaying, communist-era panelák. Stumbling past the ubiquitous leather-clad and shorn-headed bouncers into one of its dancefloors was like wandering into a William Gibson wonderland, bubbling tubes of mysterious green liquid and angular metal…

Inflorescence City Volume 2
News

Let Inflorescence City Vol. 2 flower before your eyes

What is a city? It’s a question we rarely consider: that word, city, being such a useful label for the dense, multi-layered, contradictory, opaque, ever-changing, utopic, perverse, magical, and mundane piles of decaying masonry where most of the world’s population spend their lives. A city can be a landscape, or a home, but it can also be an instrument, played by a multitude, a fiction re-enacted daily by its population. Describing a city is a fool’s game, as you can see, with most descriptions simultaneously too big and too small to encompass the idea of a city. But perhaps that…

frames
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Heterotopias: The domestic disorder of Uncharted 4

Heterotopias is a series of visual investigations into virtual spaces performed by writer and artist Gareth Damian Martin. /// There’s an unlikely thread of domesticity that runs through the heart of Uncharted 4, alongside the exoticism of its adventuring and the breezy violence of its combat. On three separate occasions the game puts us in a house, and asks us about its occupants, casting the player as an archaeologist not of rare antiquities, but the artefacts that tie a place to a person. The first of these houses, the marital home of Nathan and Elena Fisher, might be imagined as an ideal one; our…

No Man's Sky
Review

No Man’s Sky is a theater of processes

I remember making a mental note when I read that Sean Murray’s “favorite thing” in No Man’s Sky were the space station windows. On two separate occasions, he even went so far as to take people directly to the same window, as if it was one of the prime features of the game. “I’m going to show you the stupidest thing,” explained Murray to IGN, “A videogame window,” quickly adding “but it’s super-cool.” It seemed like a particularly odd thing for him to say. Here was Murray, the face of a game with 18 quintillion planets, a game whose selling…

Roadhog
News

An ode to Roadhog is an ode to ugliness

We love Overwatch. So we assembled 22 of our best writers and set them to work—a writer to jump into the skin (or robotic shell) of each character. The result is 22 odes. You can use the “Overwatch odes” tag to leaf through them all, or use the handy list at the bottom of this post. /// He may look like a figurine from the inevitable Disney Infinity Mad Max playset, but in live action he would be Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler (2008). He huffs his corpulent form across Overwatch’s maps like a chain-smoking asthmatic, grunting like a boar…

No Man's Sky
News

How to understand No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky is out. You’ll have to forgive me, but that feels like something worth saying. Not because the game is the second coming, or because it is “the last game” we’ll ever need, but because, even after all this time, it remains a game built in service of a tantalizing idea. When Sean Murray spoke to Kill Screen’s Jamin Warren earlier this year he put it simply: “the emotion that we wanted to get from people is that emotion of, ‘I have travelled to a place and discovered it.’” That idea, of true discovery in a digital world,…