Firewatch
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Firewatch shows off some Twin Peaks vibes ahead of its release

Twin Peaks. We all know it! We all love it! Even if we haven’t seen it, we know it’s a big deal! David Lynch and Mark Frost’s 1990-91 TV series has been a huge influence on videogames, from the obvious (2010’s Deadly Premonition) to … the fractionally less obvious (2015’s Life Is Strange). There’s so much to the show, so many veins to draw from: the unsettling surrealism, the amusing surrealism, the romantic swooning, the whole “dead girl” A-plot, the mystical Pacific Northwest vibe…it goes on and on. But the lattermost is what Campo Santo’s upcoming Firewatch is cheekily nodding to with this brief, gentle…

Visage
News

Here comes another horror game contender for the P.T. throne

One of the primary pleasures of European horror from the 70s is the sheer amount of wandering that takes place. In France you had erotica auteur Jean Rollin and his undead ingenues padding barefoot around mist-shrouded moors; in Italy, the more overtly perverse Dario Argento was stalking actresses through baroque ballet schools and haunted apartment complexes. Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) is full of luscious landscape photography and endless strolls through the wilderness.  Don’t Look Now, Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Psychic—there’s simply no end to the interminable, dreamy walks to nowhere that dominate these movies. Part of this is simply the nature of tension-building; for there…

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Feature

Resident Evil Zero is where monster movies go to die

2002’s Resident Evil for the GameCube was a luxurious, Gothic remake of the 1996 PlayStation original. It came out a year after Fatal Frame and Silent Hill 2, slotting perfectly into their bleak new visions of horror: unrelentingly dark, art-directed to the nines, and tense as shit. Resident Evil is creepy despite its ludicrous premise: you poke around a huge, dark mansion while fending off zombies and various oversized snakes, spiders, and sharks. Central to the game’s success is its atmosphere: the vivid, lush pre-rendered backgrounds buzz with animated touches, like flies around a lamp or lightning flashing through a…

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Article

On Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece of misogyny, The Hateful Eight

What you make of Quentin Tarantino’s latest genre genuflection The Hateful Eight will really come down to one thing: how many times can you tolerate a woman getting hit in the face? The gauntlet is thrown down early: Kurt Russell’s ursine bounty hunter John Ruth smashes his captive, Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Daisy Domergue, full in the face when she speaks out of turn. She gets a lingering close-up courtesy of Tarantino’s vaunted “glorious 70mm” frame, seething with fury through the blood. I lost count of how many times Domergue gets slapped, thumped, and punched, but I’m comfortable with saying it was…

Sylvio 2
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Sylvio 2 and the ghostly terror of analog technology

Sylvio was a humble ghost-hunting horror game in the foggy, abstract lineage of Silent Hill. It also boasted an indelible protagonist in soft-spoken Juliette Waters. Her resolve through all manner of supernatural phenomena makes you, the player, feel a bit better about the screaming ink-black blobs milling about as you investigate an abandoned amusement park. Using EVP recording equipment, you can capture the whispers of the dead on analog tape, scrubbing back and forth to pinpoint clues about how each spirit met their end. Yeah—Sylvio is a game about helping ghosts find peace. Now designer Niklas Swanberg is back on…

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Article

The game design of the Hunger Games

Calling the design of the Hunger Games terrible is kind of missing the point, right? There’s no fairness intended, no logic, no rules. The “gamemakers” are industrial-scale butchers, striking a balance between mass execution and mass execution that’s fun to watch. They’re games only in the bread-and-circuses sense: distractions. Bloody spectacle. (The series’ ravaged, enslaved nation is called, in a Kojima-esque flourish, Panem.) Author Suzanne Collins famously says she came up with the idea for The Hunger Games books while flipping between reality TV and Iraq War coverage. That might be embellishment, but it’s also a cogent appraisal of the…

donut
News

The Games of Los Angeles

Our upcoming print reinvention is going to zero in on the creators we love and their current projects. Three of our favorite upcoming games are from independent Los Angeles-based developers doing exciting, diverse work that nonetheless shares strong aesthetic vision full of pixels, pastels, and bold geometry. They take inspiration from LA’s cinematic history, its geography, and their local hangouts in ways both obvious—the heist hijinks of Quadrilateral Cowboy—and subtle—the way that LA’s growth has erased much of its history inspired Donut County. You can look for more in-depth looks at the developers when our magazine launches next year. Hyper…