The Flame in the Flood
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The Flame in the Flood’s post-disaster journey begins on February 24th

Boy, videogames sure do want out of the narrow, crate-filled corridors of their youth, nowadays! First-person hiking simulator Firewatch has been receiving critical praise all week, in no small part because of its beautiful renditions of the American Northwest. Now The Flame in the Flood, a game about a little girl surviving a post-disaster America, is also striking out for the wilderness with a release date: it’ll be out on February 24th for Windows, Mac, and Xbox One. But it isn’t emotional hardship behind Scout, the young protagonist of The Flame in the Flood; it’s torrential rains, which will be…

Frog Days
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A videogame about exploring the virtual worlds of 1995

Nostalgia for 1990s graphics and the decade’s range of operating systems is hellfire right now. It’s hot as shit and we can’t get enough it. Hence projects like Windows93 exist. Videogames, too, are increasingly incorporating or fully mimicking the early days of consumer-focused computer technology. Take a look at skeleton flower,  Solitaire.exe, Her Story, and Emily is Away for starters. We’re all growing up while desperately clawing back through the years to get one last sip on that fluorescent pink curly straw and throw gunge at each other. The 1990s it is not, but goddamn if we can’t pretend it is.…

Vienna Automobile Society
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Vienna Automobile Society will turn racing into a twitch puzzle

You’re a kid, you’ve never driven a day in your life, and in the distance towards the back of the arcade sits a partially enclosed cabinet that crudely approximates the dimensions of a race car cockpit. Some version of Pole Position (1982), probably. It has a driving wheel! And foot pedals! So you jam a few quarters into the machine and crush the gas as soon as the game starts. Seconds later your tires are chewing up the lawn. First you under-steer, than you overcompensate. A minute goes by and the machine is already asking you for more quarters. This basic problem,…

images.akamai.steamusercontent
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The makers of Hatred’s next cheap shot takes aim at ISIS

Destructive Creations does not support ISIS. There is no reason to believe anyone ever suspected otherwise, but the developers behind the quasi-genocidal civilian shooter provocation that is Hatred (2015) aren’t taking any risks. In a Steam post, they say their latest game, IS Defense, is their “personal veto against what is happening in the Middle East nowadays.” Let us briefly set aside the fact that “what is happening in the Middle East nowadays” is not synonymous with ISIS, which is a concern in much of North Africa as well as Nigeria, and discuss how IS Defense exercises its veto. In short, it does so…

firewatch
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Play Firewatch for a breath of fresh air

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Firewatch (PS4, PC, Mac, Linux) CAMPO SANTO People say they go to videogames to escape. And they say they go to the wilderness for basically the same reason. To get lost in something bigger—something outside themselves. But wanting to be lost is one side of wanting to find another answer. Firewatch throws players into the existential crisis of protagonist Henry, a middle-aged man looking to restart his life as a park ranger in a national forest. Through lonely exploration and dialogue choices, the player shapes Henry. With only…

omnientertainment
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A closer look at the audio game console from 1980

Did you know there were such things as audio-only game consoles? We’re going way back to 1978 for the first of these, Mego’s 2XL Robot, which had you insert 8-track cassettes that told jokes, hosted quizzes, and gave you mathematical problems to solve. But that’s not what classic game enthusiast zadoc recently shone a light on. They, instead, give us a closer look at Milton Bradley’s Omni Entertainment System, originally released in 1980, and that replaced those 8-track cassettes with 8-track cartridges. This was a time prior to Nintendo’s entry into the console world, when the likes of the Magnavox Odyssey, the Atari 2600, and…

hidden folks
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Where’s Waldo? finally gets interactive in this videogame

Where’s Waldo? (1987) has stepped out of the past and into a super stylistic new game. Hidden Folks is the latest from game designer Adriaan de Jongh, in which you can relive the eyestrain of days past in a grown-up version of the classic find-the-character game. This new project comes in the wake of de Jong’s previous efforts, the quirky titles Fingle (2012) and Bounden (2014), produced with the now-defunct Game Oven. This time he’s teamed up with illustrator Sylvian Tegroeg to create something entirely different.   The premise is simple and differs little from its striped-shirt predecessor: find the hidden character in a crazy…

Kentucky Route Zero
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Prepare for something new from Kentucky Route Zero soon

We really like Kentucky Route Zero. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s the Ideal Kill Screen Game: aesthetically surefooted, poetic, funny, surreal, and melancholy. (The other pole of this is, like, last year’s Bloodborne, or something.) So when designers Cardboard Computer tease more Kentucky Route Zero in their inimitable, coy way, we jump all over it: That image is all Cardboard Computer tweeted out. Since their customary pre-episode interlude has already been released (2014’s delightful Here and There Along the Echo) I can only assume this is from Act IV proper. I’m sure I’ll wake up in three weeks or so and a elderly,…

Monument Valley
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Monument Valley’s illusory architecture could become a Lego set

Monument Valley (2014) and Lego. It just feels right, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s that the puzzle game’s isometric perspective gives us the privileged view of god games, in which we build and destroy. Or perhaps more simply it’s the attention the game draws towards it brightly colored geometric mazes, eager for us to prod and spin them. Either way, there’s something about Monument Valley that makes it ripe for a transformation into modular Lego blocks. Now, there’s actually a chance of that happening. The first step towards this end goal has been made through the proposal of a Monument Valley set over…