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The creator of Persona on life, Japanese culture, and the unconscious

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. In the crowded world of Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs), the critically acclaimed Persona series has stood out for a decade and counting. Defying conventions established by other popular franchises like Final Fantasy, the series forgoes the usual swords and sorcery for something closer to home. Using subtle surrealism instead, Persona layers its more fantastical elements with social commentary. Players venture into a strange, shadowy world hidden behind their television screens, where enemies are a unique blend of the psychological and supernatural. “The Persona series addresses problems that people hold deep in their hearts,” said Katsura Hashino, the…

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A brief history of men who build female robots

This is a preview of an article you can read on our new website dedicated to virtual reality, Versions. /// You probably saw the news about the Chinese guy who created his own robotic Scarlett Johansson in his flat, right? Ricky Ma has caught the attention of many during the past weeks not just because he managed to build a robot that looks just like the American actress, but also because he did this all alone, and because he doesn’t admit the resemblance. Besides the discussion of how this could become a legal issue, the robot named Mark 1 also…

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Where Did The Fun Street Fighter Music Go?

My anticipation for the recently released Street Fighter V probably came from a different place than most people. I’ve only ever really followed the series as an observer who watches tournament matches, and as a listener of the games’ soundtracks. For me, then, Street Fighter V’s release held two possibilities: new tournament material after eight years of Street Fighter IV (2008) and its iterations, and new music. Whatever you think of the mechanical changes and viability of certain characters, Street Fighter V is sure to offer a lot of the former for passive appreciators like myself. As far as the…

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Dark Souls III and the color purple

You first encounter them in the Undead Settlement. It’s a moment of incongruous reprieve: having rolled and dashed your way through a hail of human-sized arrows and swarms of rake-wielding peasants, you come up a hill and into a dark, somber cathedral that all but invites you to stop and smell its flowers. With their violet hue and soft yellow centers, these delicate beauties scattered around the building seem more unlikely than any of the monstrosities you’ve been busy butchering. Dark Souls III’s kingdom of Lothric has, up to this point, largely displayed the same taste for earth tones favored…

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How Japan shaped nostalgia in games

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. For Shigeru Miyamoto, the inspiration for The Legend of Zelda (1986) series lay in the natural beauty of his hometown of Kyoto, Japan. As a young boy, the Nintendo designer behind Mario, Zelda, and Pikmin would take hikes around nearby forests, rivers, and old Sonobe Castle ruins. It was on one such hike that Miyamoto happened upon a cave that fascinated him. He returned to it a few days later, shook off his nerves, and, armed with a homemade lantern, journeyed into its mysterious depths. It was this feeling of discovery and…

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Fixing Australia’s game rating system for the digital age

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Australia is notorious for its strict approach to media bans and classification, coming down hard on videogames in particular. While the Australian Classification Board (ACB) has softened since the introduction of an R18+ adult rating in 2013, the list of banned games continues to grow. The more recent among them range from the hyper-violence of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, to the juvenile humor of South Park: The Stick of Truth. Aside from bans, many criticized the classification process itself, seeing it as a long and costly burden on creators and…

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Weekend Reading: The Cultural Icosystem

While we at Kill Screen love to bring you our own crop of game critique and perspective, there are many articles on games, technology, and art around the web that are worth reading and sharing. So that is why this weekly reading list exists, bringing light to some of the articles that have captured our attention, and should also capture yours. /// The Story of Fumito Ueda, The style of game Originally published in 2005, but recently translated into English, this candid interview with Fumito Ueda draws the vivid creative and commercial lineage to classics like Ico (2001) and Shadow of…

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New Processors Give Mobile Gamers a Competitive Edge

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Players who traverse new games like Star Wars: Battlefront, retro games like Horizon Chase or virtual reality experiences are keen on having the best new processors and computing performance they can get. But for many gamers, having a computer that pushes their skills to a game’s limit is no longer enough, according to Mark Chang, gaming strategist on Intel’s performance notebook team. “It’s not just about playing the game anymore,” said Chang. “It’s also about sharing and engaging with the community and friends. That completes the gaming experience.” He pointed to the rise of…

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Videogames and the digital baroque

During the 17th century in Europe and her colonies, mankind was forcibly removed from the center of the universe and cast adrift in an indifferent cosmos devoid of greater purpose or meaning. This was accomplished not by any supernatural power but by advancements in technology, particularly optics: telescopes could chart the motions of previously obscure celestial bodies while microscopes could, for the first time, see the living cells that made up human bodies. Earth turned out not to be the center of the universe but one of many planets that orbited the Sun; an average star among countless others in…