tharsislead
Article

In praise of the “bad” design of Tharsis

Tharsis begins with an event of astronomical improbability. Somewhere in the interplanetary medium, a meteoroid floating through space at 25 miles a second occupies the same bit of spacetime as the spaceship Inktomi, which is hurtling towards Mars at 11 miles a second. The ship and its crew have been travelling for weeks; the meteoroid, millenia. And there, in the emptiness of the cosmic void, they somehow meet. An impact; a burst of compressed air; a body blown into space; a crippled vessel drifting toward Mars. What remains is a quartet of crew and a fistful of dice to navigate…

Dürer_Apocalypse_cropped
Article

Apocalypse Now (& Again)

In English, the word “apocalypse”—ety. Greek, n. apo (un-) + kaluptein (-veil)—has three non-exclusive uses. The first and most common is simply the end of the world, whether by divine punishment or whatever transpires in movies directed by Roland Emmerich. The second is any form of calamity, representational or real, man-made or no, that resembles the end of the world, like the 2010 Haitian Earthquake, Chernobyl, or the movies directed by Roland Emmerich themselves. The third is what the Greeks intended apocalypse to mean: the revelation of knowledge through profound disruption, which is why the final book of the New…

1434554683-anno2205-key-art
Review

The gorgeous, empty dystopia of Anno 2205

Beginning with its first release, Anno 1602: Creation of a New World (1997), the Anno series has distinguished itself from a crowded field of strategy games by making economic competition, rather than military action, the focus of its simulation. Though Anno looked to the past for the first decade of its existence, the series turned towards the near-future with the excellent Anno: 2070 (2011), which tread new “historical” ground in familiar, materialist footwear. Anno 2205, the latest release in Ubisoft’s dependable series, picks up where 2070 left off; humanity is on the verge of interplanetary colonization and a rush for…