a car, tracks behind it in the wet asphalt as it goes towards a copse of thin trees in the fog, front headlights cutting through in an orange glow. screenshot.

A driving game inspired by the creator’s real-life escape from the Soviet Bloc

Car games are typically shiny and chrome—vehicles dedicated to portraying their brands in the best possible showroom lights. They focus almost entirely on the image of the car you see in ads: sleek and stylish, fast, an Americanized ideal of the freedom of the open road. You rarely see them the way that Ondřej Švadlena presents them in his untitled work in progress, a moody driving simulator in which you drive down dark streets pursued by oddly physicked AI foes. The project, whose progress has been documented in a TIG Source forum, is a large-scale open world game where you drive through…

screenshot from the game 29, showing a closer shot of the character standing in a kitchen

29 will tell a personal story through otherworldly dioramas

Something is off in a flat in South London. It’s not necessarily in the vegetables growing rot on the kitchen counter, or the new Guillermo Del Toro-inspired roomie, or the soft sounds of banging that seem to radiate through paper-thin walls. It might be a combination of those traits, the malaise of the freshly graduated combined with the claustrophobia of apartment life. 29 is an upcoming “semi-autobiographical magical realist point and click, focusing on two transgender non-binary people,” Ao and Bo. The characters are loosely based on the creators of the project, Tom Davison and Hana Lee (also the creators of…

No Man's Sky

No Man’s Sky and the trickiness of advertising a procedurally generated game

No Man’s Sky has been knocked by players since its release for false promises—advertisements featuring fighting factions, developer interviews that discuss rare occasions where players can meet on distant planets (which has seemingly been disproven), and more. As a result, Sean Murray—the public face of Hello Games—has become a Molyneux-esque icon, a figurehead for what some perceive as the perpetuation of misleading advertising in videogames. These grievances were realized in a series of complaints to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) over the past couple of months. But nothing came of them until now. Last week, those complaints were answered by the UK-based organization,…

Explojan Horse

Just what the Trojan War needed: a huge, explosive gun

The Trojan War is a comedy and a tragedy, a series of deaths that history will remember by its errors rather its feats. When they teach the Trojan War, they talk about a beautiful woman whose face was enough for an armada to be launched and a large wooden horse that defeated an impregnable city. When Atlanta-based game maker cottontrek talks about the Trojan War, they do so in a series of explosions. Explojan Horse is not a game of subtlety. Constructed over a weekend for the latest incarnation of the Ludum Dare game jam, Explojan Horse is a cross…


Papers, Please parody takes aim at the downfall of video rental

The age of the video rental store is at a close. Blockbusters are the stuff of “remember when” photo essays and ghost towns; a blue and yellow sign of the times. Even independent stores that have long demanded patronage are closing their doors, murdered by Redbox and Netflix. It is in this climate that a team of game makers asks: “Have you ever wanted to play Papers, Please! without the papers and with 100% more video rentals?” should’ve chosen the Sandra Bullock comedy about pirates Videos, Please takes on several elements of the game that it is clearly referencing: you are…

Frostpunk concept art, featuring a figure in heavy camping gear following a few other figures down a snowy mountain. everything is frozen and dire

The next game from the creators of This War of Mine looks ice cold

11 bit Studios, the creators of This War of Mine (2014), has announced its latest game: Frostpunk. 11 bit Studios have been fairly mum about the contents of the game (or even how it will play out exactly), and aside from the announcement trailer, a tagline—“Frostpunk takes on what society is capable of when pushed to the limits”—and a logo that closely resembles an energy drink brand, there is little to go on. inspired by the cruel, frozen world of Snowpiercer The name itself, Frostpunk, indeed feels rather different than their previous serious fare. Frostpunk is another in those terms, the -punk naming conventions originally…

Dan Pinchbeck

A short video on how to make videogame spaces for storytelling

How does a videogame introduce story to the player? Better yet, how does a game invoke emotion in the constrained physical world space of a game? We’ve seen it done in ham-fisted fashion: see the much maligned “Press F to Pay Your Respects” from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, or consider the traditional “fight the baddies now pause for some story” route that many other big-budget games go. “We’re creating an architecture for a story to exist in” In a video from the Future of Storytelling series, Dear Esther (2012) director Dan Pinchbeck talks about how games often take for granted one…


Paul Verhoeven’s latest film is about the struggles of a female videogame CEO

Warning: the content of the video included is NSFW and contains references to sexual violence. /// At the start of Paul Verhoeven’s latest film Elle, a woman is violently raped. The rest of the story is about how that woman, a French videogame executive played by Isabelle Huppert, deals with her relationship with the rape and the rapist himself. If the Verhoeven films you’re most familiar with are RoboCop (1987) and Starship Troopers (1997), Elle will surprise you. It’s perhaps a better fit in the realm of Verhoeven’s psycho-sexual thriller Basic Instinct (1992). That it is not immediately what it seems—a drama about…


If you didn’t get your hands on Overland before, now is your chance

If you’ve been waiting to play Finji’s new game Overland, but didn’t make it into the limited First Access Program, then good news: Overland is now open to the public. Overland is a tactical survival game in the vein of XCOM but with far more adorable dogs and heartache. The game has you balancing a carload of survivors as you cross the United States, balancing gas shortages and injuries in a board game-like atmosphere. The game has procedurally generated characters with their own quirks and traits, allowing you just enough time to get attached to them before they are viciously…