Kentucky Route Zero: Act IV is almost upon us

It’s been a slow ride since Cardboard Computer’s moody tale of dark roads and mysterious strangers first debuted in early 2013, but we’re getting steadily closer to the end. Kentucky Route Zero: Act IV is nearing completion and while it has no exact release date yet, its developers have stated on Twitter that they are “excited to share it soon,” offering up a new piece of artwork in the interim. While only one piece of the larger, dreamy puzzle that is Kentucky Route Zero, its third act prevailed as our game of the year in 2014 for its quiet beauty…

Forest of Sleep

Turning Narrative Into A Play Space With Forest Of Sleep

Proteus creator Ed Key and artist Nicolai Troshinsky of Twisted Tree Games have only talked abstractly about their upcoming experimental narrative game Forest of Sleep before. But now, a few months after its initial announcement, the pair have cut into the specifics of what they mean when citing “emergent associations” and “cinematic language.” Speaking to Gamasutra, Key revealed the process behind his effort to use procedural generation to create stories that had both drama and pacing, using only hand-made art pieces and wordless animated scenes. Crucial to this aim is the choice of influence found in late-20th century Eastern European illustration…

pluto noby noby boy

Lonely dwarf planet Pluto finally finds love as Noby Noby Girl arrives

It’s been a rough ride for Pluto ever since it was demoted in 2006 by the no-good scientists who deemed it unworthy of the proper “planet” classification. It lost its confidence, became altogether uninterested in life, and has been revolving in its own sorrow ever since. After the demotion, all of Pluto’s accomplishments were diminished by the “dwarf” planet prefix. No matter what it did—whether completing an orbit around the sun or being visited by a spacecraft—big brother Neptune and his ilk would always outshine him (you know, since they’re closer to the sun). Fear no more the heat of the…


The Tower Inverted still looks longingly to the sky

The Tower Inverted is a game in the same way that a leisurely stroll through the park can be a game: Who knows what you’ll find? Granted, the things you’ll find in The Tower Inverted aren’t a total surprise. To wit, here’s a far from comprehensive list: conical trees, low-slung huts, glowing globes, fractured earth, and towers. So many towers. Those towers are the real attraction in The Tower Inverted. The game’s ostensible goal is to find the path to the next level, but that is hardly a challenge. “Generally,” its documentation notes, “the exit for each level can be…


A 1,500-year-old board game has been unearthed in a Chinese tomb

When one thinks of the tombs plundered by videogame heroine Lara Croft, or even legendary adventure film archaeologist Indiana Jones, untold treasures and riches typically await them. During a 2004 excavation in China of first emperor of the Qin dynasty Qin Shi Huangdi’s self-constructed, terracotta warrior guarded, 2,300-year-old tomb, various artifacts were uncovered. Though not entirely reported until a full decade later in 2014 Chinese journal Wenwu, and translated recently into English and published in the Chinese Cultural Relics journal, the surprising find of an ancient board game was uncovered. The ancient game, having been unplayed for approximately 1,500 years,…

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Welcome to the adolescence of AI

Artificial intelligence does not have the cuddliest of reputations. It is either coming for your livelihood or, if movies are to be believed, your life. Google, however, has unearthed a new problem: Its AI is too friendly—much, much too friendly. In early November, the advertising (and search, and web) giant introduced “Smart Reply,” a feature in its Inbox app that could automatically reply to basic emails. “Machine learning is used to scan emails and understand if they need replying to or not, before creating three response options,” Wired’s James Temperton explained. He continued: “An email asking about vacation plans, for…

tick tock isle

Go back in time to save time in the adorable Tick Tock Isle

Described as a spiritual successor to the delightful Cat Poke, Tick Tock Isle is a point and click adventure game that doesn’t want to reinvent the wheel—and it’ll charm the pants out of anyone who thinks that wheel is outdated or boring. The demo was originally released four years ago by the duo of Jason Boyer and Ryan Pietz. “We spent an entire summer designing our biggest game yet,” Boyer writes on his blog. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have anyone to program it beyond a demo, so it lingered in our unfulfilled dreams folder.” Finally in April 2015, they decided to “make our dream a reality and…


Facebook’s looking to streamline your next breakup

I started dating when MSN Messenger was still a thing and started breaking up in the era of Facebook, which was a good system right up until the moment that it wasn’t. That last comment is probably a fair description of all relationships. Social media did not create the awkwardness of breakups, but it did lengthen the gauntlet through which the newly single must run, and running is hard when all you want to do is stay in bed with Netflix and a tub of ice cream. Facebook has apparently decided to do something about this 21st century problem. In a…

Letter To A Friend

The terror of a videogame made to look like a silent film

There’s no guessing as to where Letter To A Friend gets its look. The grey, flickering lights; the darkness heavy and consuming as miasma; everything out-of-focus, fuzzed and grainy as if seen through an old, dying lens. The creator needn’t say that its “visual references come from expressionistic silent movies and old analog recordings” for us to know that is the case. It’s a staggering recreation that speaks for itself. Or rather, it doesn’t speak at all, and that’s part of what makes it so creepy. Everything from the frail shutter speed to the exposed scratches, dust, and hair that makes…