wheels of aurelia (race)
Review

Wheels of Aurelia sputters onto the race track

Elevator pitches have the benefit of being ideas rather than actual things in the real world. With the right pitch just about anything can sound promising. Take communism, for instance—a system that, on paper, reads like an egalitarian haven, promising equality, fairness, and a stable life for everyone. It often doesn’t play out so well when put into practice, but the idea captivates so much that it lead to countless wars, dictatorships, and deaths. Wheels of Aurelia, set in a 1970s Italy reeling from feminism, communism, revolution, and terrorism, sounds better as an idea than it plays. You are Lella,…

Blair-Witch-2016-1
News

The new Blair Witch deserves to be left in a corner to die

The Blair Witch is back, and—this time—she’s coming for your drones. That pretty much sums up the new Blair Witch sequel from series-fresh director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett. It wears the skin of the witch we know and love from the seminal 1999 found-footage film, from creepy twine stick figures to stone cairns. But set in 2014, and targeted at a 2016 millennial audience, it features YouTube videos rather than VHS tapes, high-waisted pants rather than grunge sweaters, and GoPros rather than grainy night vision. I wanted—no, I tried—to like Blair Witch. To me, the backlash over the original’s morally…

sleep no more
News

Are videogames ruining Sleep No More?

She should have died hereafter; There would have been a time for such a word. — To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury Signifying nothing. -Macbeth Nestled in the deep dark corners of Chelsea,…

bmas06
News

Three burly men will set out on a gentle adventure with you next month

Just hearing the name Burly Men at Sea—along with watching its trailers, filled to the brim with a bouncing, benevolent brawniness–effectively communicates what it’s like to play the game. You embark on a journey as not one, not two, but three Brothers Beard, who put the lumbersexual hipster trend to shame. Heeding the call of the blue siren, you join them as they gallivant across the sea and a storybook of various Norwegian haunts. “We knew we were making Burly Men at Sea before we knew what it would be,” said co-creator David Condolora. “We had that name in our head before we even started making…

Zarya
News

Zarya makes Mother Russia her bitch

We love Overwatch. And 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 use the handy list at the bottom. /// Zarya’s existence in Overwatch began as an apology or, more accurately, as reparation for videogames ignoring the existence of plus-sized bodies (particularly of the female variety). After fans called Blizzard out for a stringent lack of diversity in their female body types a couple years ago, they…

Vampyr
News

Blood fetishists rejoice: the Vampyr E3 trailer understands you

The vast majority of videogames harbor a raging, barely concealable boner for violence. But it takes a special kind of violent videogame to step over that fine line into the realm of fetish porn: where violence is used for neither shock nor gore nor anything remotely resembling reality. Rather, the videogame snuff film aims to entice that primal, buried part of your sexuality that lusts after something without knowing whether you want to consume it, have sex with it, kill it, or some combination of all three. That’s the Vampyr E3 trailer in a nut shell: the loving caress of a CGI-ed blood stream splattering across your face with the warm tenderness of a paramour. While certainly not the most expected followup from…

Jak and Daxter
Feature

Jak and Daxter: the Search for Player Two

This article is part of PS2 Week, a full week celebrating the 2000 PlayStation 2 console. To see other articles, go here. /// I hear him pad up next to me before I feel his whiskers tickle my ankles. A wet, impatient nudge tells me to hurry up already—there’s something I should see up ahead. Won over, I look down. “What is it, Dax?” His ears perk at my response before immediately shooting down to the ground with the rest of his body. Head low, eyes steady, he slinks forward to his new objective with laser focus. But, after reaching…

5
News

The adorably grotesque world of Push Me Pull You arrives next month

As you can surmise from the title, Push Me Pull You (PMPY) is about the delightful tension between polar opposite forces. Even the world behind this couch co-op game is simultaneously the same and exact opposite of our own world. Because, you see, PMPY is populated by a very similar society with one key difference: people are joined at the waist to one another, turning the populace into a squirming pile of two-headed mutant tube creatures. Despite the body horror this image suggests, PMPY depicts a utopian society built around play, diversity, and a strong sense of community. For all its grotesqueness, this society of skin worms seems endlessly more charming and self-loving than our own. The bond struck between each one—quite literally unbreakable—is…

Planet-licker
News

Planet Licker, a game that you play with your tongue

By far the most innocent game with the smuttiest implications at GDC this year was the alternative controller entry entitled Planet Licker. In the game’s fiction, you are a monster who eats planets made of popsicles. As the player IRL, you are also a popsicle-licking monster of sorts, only instead of planets your tongue is manhandling an edible controller. Planet Licker not only puts your tongue to the test; it’s also a race against time. You have to schlurp up six planets before the clock runs out. As part of the annual ALT.CTRL.GDC showcase, Planet Licker was an unusual experiment for creator Frank…