Virginia
Review

Virginia needs to go back to film school

Every film studies student is forced to watch an infant in a carriage careen down a staircase to its death. They do this because it’s important. The Odessa Steps sequence in Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (1925) is a Cinema Studies 101-level text in film editing. As a theorist, Eisenstein, together with contemporary Lev Kuleshov, argued for a cinema built on the revolutionary effect of montage: meaning was created in the edit. In Battleship Potemkin, this meant a shot of a horrorstuck face and that shot of the runaway baby carriage played on the audience’s then-fledgling grasp on cinematic language. Terror…

inside
News

Inside is coming to PS4 after all

We are very fond of Playdead’s Inside, the Danish designers’ follow-up to 2010’s Limbo. It’s bolder, more gut-wrenching, and alive. Until today it was only available on Xbox One and PC, which means most of you probably played it on PC. But Playdead have just announced that on August 23rd, Inside is coming to PS4! That is very soon. Inside‘s arrival on The People’s Console hopefully means a resurgence in attention, sort of like how Hyper Light Drifter‘s debut on PS4 meant exposure to a whole new audience. You should play this game. I suspect, come December, it’ll be sitting high up on Kill Screen’s best-of-2016…

Kentucky Route Zero Act IV
Review

Kentucky Route Zero: Act IV is an elegy

Michael Snow’s 1967 experimental film Wavelength is a 45-minute long zoom on an empty room. Outside the walls, and the camera’s frame, the insignificant dramas of human life play out in sad, abortive spirals. Men move furniture into the room; two friends drink and listen to the Beatles; in the end, a man dies on the floor and a woman calmly informs the cops of his corpse. Snow is monomaniacally committed to his premise: Wavelength is a canonical example of experimental film precisely because of its push-pull between dry, structural formalism and gut-level intrigue. In a way it’s a murder…

A Light in Chorus
News

A Light in Chorus gets a proper story to go along with its magical visuals

We’ve had our eyes on Broken Fence Games’s A Light in Chorus for a while now. It’s hard not to look at this game, because it’s absolutely stunning. Its world is composed of glowing dots, like a starfield held in tremulous pointillism. So far that visual allure has made for gorgeous screenshots and GIFs, but the meat of A Light in Chorus—that is, how do you interact with this world?—has remained pleasantly elusive. I’m not asking “how you play it;” I’m not hoping to, like, max out my light-viewing skill tree or anything (please, no!). Our own Jess Joho did impressive work last year…

b+c
News

A game about cleaning hotel rooms with SWAT tactics

Here, in full, is the hotel review Rami Ismail wrote that led to the goofball game jam entry Breach & Clean: Hesperia Tower was a phenomenal stay, with clean rooms and a free Spanish lesson that taught me that “no molestar” doesn’t mean “do not disturb” but “breach and clear like you are a SWAT team.” The last bit of that sentence is Breach & Clean‘s origin story. It’s a little game about busting into hotel rooms and cleaning the shit out of them before the guests get irritated by your presence. It was made for the Castle Game Jam by…

Easy Level Life
News

A videogame for #blacklivesmatter

Yvvy, the designer of the upcoming Easy Level Life, knows you can’t “win” against police brutality. “The closest thing to a win condition where police brutality is concerned, is simply not being the wrong skin color,” they told me. “The game is the same way.” Easy Level Life popped up on Twitter on Monday, the 11th, just after a week that saw two black men killed by police a day apart. Yvvy said that every time this happens, “I see the same questions: Why did they do wrong that the cops shot them? Were they listening to the cop? Why were they…

Inside
News

Let a low-rez world of flesh and metal overwhelm you

You should probably take a seat before you watch Mattis Dovier‘s Inside. Just get your head straight, y’know, couple of deep breaths, because Dovier’s animated short is a hugely discomfiting, bleak take on the relationship between people and technology. It spreads like a plague: our monotone narrator guides us through a future where, just beneath a pliable film of flesh, lies a gleaming mechanical skeleton. He dreams of cables sluicing below his skin and bursting from his mouth; a burn on his hand dries and cracks wide to reveal cold metal within. His doctor diagnoses him with “severe hypochondria,” but he knows there’s…

Kynan Deep Space
News

Deep Space is a soundtrack to a videogame that doesn’t exist

Bad news: Deep Space is a game you will never play. It doesn’t exist except as an implication. It’s the invented backstory for a new record by Joel Williams (also of Wavves-affiliated acts Sweet Valley and Spirit Club). Under the name Kynan, Williams wrote the soundtrack to an imaginary game, which he describes as a “surreal shoot-em-up” in the vein of 1986’s Fantasy Zone. In the end—presumably around track 17, “Self Inflicted Wound Game Over”—you end up destroying the planet in your efforts to eradicate “mutated demon aliens.” The lead track, “Deep Impact,” throbs with huge clanging beats and plaintive synth arpeggios. “Contamination” has grainy washes of sound that…

Neighbor
News

You should play the new poetic game from the Kentucky Route Zero designers

Have you downloaded the iOS/Android Triennale Game Collection yet? We wrote about it a few weeks ago; the gist is that Milan’s La Triennale di Milano, an exhibition held by the Triennale Design Museum, is back after 20 years, and they seem to like videogames. Santa Ragione’s Pietro Righi Riva has commissioned new games from five designers, including Kentucky Route Zero designers and Kill Screen sweethearts Cardboard Computer. Their entry, Neighbor, is a meditative little vignette along the lines of Mountain (2014) or Animal Crossing. It’s done in Cardboard Computer’s house style: tasteful low-poly art, poetic, spare writing, and a synthesizer score that straddles melodic and ambient vibes. You…