Vinyl player
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The neglected history of videogames for the blind

The game starts with a black screen. A woman’s voice, speaking in Japanese: “Real Sound. Kaze no Regret. This software brought to you by WARP Inc.” A string quartet, swelling and romantic, begins to play—press the start button, and the music stops suddenly with the sound of a bell. A light hiss of static. An acoustic guitar picking up the same theme as before is quickly joined by a ticking clock. A deep male voice starts to narrate: “Every so often, when you meet someone else, you have a feeling that it’s not for the first time.” The screen remains…

It
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Weekend Reading: Real Funny, Scary Funny, Real Scary

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. /// Where “It” Was, Adrian Daub, Los Angeles Review of Books Stephen King writes stories set in a specific place; those small and mysterious places that have to be felt, not seen, along the coast of New England. And…

Indie Play
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The Determination of China’s Independent Game Scene

At night, Shanghai transforms itself into a new city. Bars, restaurants, and small shops start to open in the alleyways and neon red lights begin to shine throughout China’s largest city. Its nightlife, as well as its economic growth, makes this city the best place to see how the country has changed. At the end of July each year, Shanghai also becomes the hub of the Chinese videogame scene for one week. China Joy, the largest consumer and business game show in Asia, opens its doors for people from all over the world who arrive to try to understand what’s…

04
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The “New Weird” In Videogames

Defining a genre is a troubled process the moment a discussion of its elements begin. Those nebulous divisions that separate detective and gothic fiction, science fiction and horror, adventure and fantasy; all seem built on shaky foundations as tropes and archetypes bleed into each other. More often than not, studying the progression and evolution of genres begins with the understanding that such genres are seldom fixed, codified strictures. Such was the case in 2003 when a group of writers began an online conversation about a genre known as the “New Weird.” Though the New Weird, like almost every other genre,…

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Weekend Reading: Disagree to Disagree

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. /// One Nation Divisible, Bloomberg To put things patronizingly lightly, the upcoming US election is a little contentious. Rollercoaster polls and sewer rhetoric doesn’t exactly enlighten us to understand how things arrived here. In a grand meta-feature, Bloomberg has…

dys
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Fear of a videogame dystopia

Some weeks ago, a piece of news shook my world. It wasn’t the primary election results, nor was it Muhammad “The Greatest” Ali’s passing—even though that one was really, really sad. Nope, it was a parrot. CBS reported on June 10th that Bud, an African grey parrot who kept repeating the phrase ‘don’t fucking shoot’ after his owner was murdered, could become a witness in trial. We all read bizarre stories online every day, but this one instantly reminded me of a Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (2001) case, where a parrot testifies in court—and there’s more to the parallel too,…

Undertale
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Undertale, one year later

September 15th marks a full year since the arrival of Undertale, Toby Fox’s 16 bit-style role-playing game for PC. Its auspicious reception, which even delivered the game into the Pope’s hands, seems now more than ever to have been a flashpoint in current debates as to what constitutes excellence in videogames. Standing apart from the colossal world-building efforts that typically crowd year-end lists, Undertale offered something else: an epic-in-miniature, the latest entry in a tradition that might also include the animated shorts of David OReilly, Sarah Orne Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), and Chopin’s preludes, which served…

Pac-Man
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A short history of food in videogames

It’s well known that Pac-Man, released in 1980, was the first time a game presented food as a relevant feature. At the time, arcades were flooded with musty smells, spaceships, and violent aliens. Pac-Man had to slide through a maze eating small and big pellets, all while avoiding four ghosts to beat each stage. Its five iconic fruits—cherry, strawberry, orange, apple, and melon—stood out with their vibrant colors among the greys and browns of 1970s sci-fi games. Toru Iwatani, the creator of Pac-Man, said in an interview that the game was created to appeal to women, and it did. Back in…

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Sanjay’s Super Team brings Indian mythology into the digital age

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Pixar’s Oscar-nominated animated short Sanjay’s Super Team (2015) premiered last year, delivering a personal story about Indian culture and spirituality to a global audience. A largely autobiographical tale directed by Sanjay Patel, it centers around the duality of his Indian-American identity, a largely underrepresented demographic in the Western-dominated field of animation and digital storytelling. In an interview with The Verge, Patel said “It felt really important to me to have America see this, and have Pixar and Disney say it’s normal.” In the short, little Sanjay is enamored by a Transformers-like…