Murakami-inspired adventure game Memoranda gets a release date

How real are our memories? Many of Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s works meditate on this question. We remember the past a certain way, but are those memories true to life? His novels and short stories muse on memory, time, love, and human isolation, with characters put in strange settings that are as strange to the characters as they are to the reader. A cat talks back. A man-sized frog discusses the destruction of Tokyo over tea. Little by little, a woman begins to forget her own name. All of these characters have lost someone or something Actually, that last one…


Memories of a failing relationship are made beautiful in Ephemera

Plenty of things in life have expiration dates: cartons of milk, your passport, antiperspirants. After a week in the fridge, you should really retire that open bottle of wine. Relationships, on the other hand, don’t usually come marked with an end date. You might see the end coming from a ways away, but the ‘when’ is, in most cases, unclear. Not so in Ephemera (French: Les éphémères), a new narrative experience currently in development by Interim Studio. Designed by Lazlo Bonin and animated by Jazz Eladas, Ephemera is a “notgame” in which you have one fleeting summer to spend with your love…


Need a break from the world? Chill out on a virtual island

Don’t you ever wish you could escape to a remote island just to get away from it all, even for five or 10 minutes? If so, check out ROM, a “short experimental experience” created by HTW Berlin students Paul Schnepf, Rainer Windolph, and Friedemann Allmenröder. Created as part of the Game Design BA curriculum, ROM allows you to explore a desolate island and take control of its environment. Revive its ancient machines to alter the weather and bring the island back to life. Activating one machine causes snow to cover the land; another brings on a sudden driving rainstorm accompanied by…

This is Fine

“This is Fine,” a game for post-election results America

Just over a week has passed since Donald Trump became the United States’ president-elect in a historic upset that rattled the hearts and minds of progressive America. Like so many others, I watched the final hours of the election in tears as the inconceivable became our new reality. Since last Tuesday, a significant spike in hate crimes has been reported, the hateful now emboldened by the election of a man who shares their values. Protests against Trump have erupted all over the country. Hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets to let the nation know that he is “not…


Solve a murder mystery designed by middle school girls

You know that uncomfortable feeling of being outdone by someone much younger than you? If you’re not familiar, prepare to get acquainted with it: meet Interfectorem, a visual novel made by a team of four girls aged 11-15 years old.  Interfectorem tells the story of 16-year-old Alis, whose seven-year-old sister, Sali, is brutally murdered after the mysterious disappearance of their parents the year before. Sheriff-in-training Alis swears to track down her sister’s killer and wreak well-deserved vengeance. Helping the girls out on the project was director and programmer Andrew Dang, artist Reimena Yee, and musician Jon Peros. A smart blend of horror and humor…

Water Me

A game about keeping a plant alive while trapped inside your house

Last October, South Carolina made headlines when a thousand-year rainfall put much of the state underwater—that is, the chances of that amount of rain falling in a given year are 1-in-1,000. The storm drove residents from their homes onto dangerously flooded roads, leaving others trapped and in need of rescue. Water Me, created as part of Indie Grits 2016’s Waterlines project, is a response to this historic flooding. Atmospheric and contemplative, the game explores the experience of being stranded in your house, cut off from the outside world by the encroaching storm, with only your potted plant for company. Your…

NYU Game Center

NYU Game Center’s new scholarship targets women game designers

Famously, the videogame space can be an unpleasant place for women. From professional game designers to the most casual game players, women have repeatedly encountered a two-fold problem when exploring the world of videogames: our experiences are continuously ignored (often accused of being “fakes”) and suffering a slew of personal attacks. Last week, the NYU Game Center, the Game Design program within the Tisch School of the Arts, announced the Barlovento Scholarship for Women in Games. It’s aimed at women who wish to pursue a graduate degree in game design. The scholarship is funded by the Barlovento Foundation, whose founder, Vanessa Briceño,…


A boardgame about climate change that melts as you play

The world is warming up. This we know. Over its long, long life, the Earth has gone through multiple cycles of cooling and heating up again, or glacial advance and retreat. These are largely attributed to small shifts in the Earth’s orbit, which change the amount of solar energy received by the planet. To find reasons for the current heating up of the globe, however, we must look to no one but ourselves. As we pump greenhouses gases into the atmosphere, wrapping ourselves in a giant, insulating, carbon dioxide blanket, the sea level rises and the ice sheets shrink; the…


Nina Freeman’s next game is based on her mom’s 1960s childhood

Game designer Nina Freeman first rose to prominence with How Do You Do It (2014), a game exploring precocious sexuality based on her own experiences as a child. The following year, her senior thesis project at NYU-Poly was commercially released as Cibele, a game about online gaming, sex, and falling in love on the internet. Interested in themes of sexuality and self-reflection, Freeman currently works as a designer at Fullbright. Freeman’s latest project, Kimmy—made in collaboration with Laura Knetzger and Aaron Freedman—shifts the focus to childhood. Based on her mother’s experiences as a babysitter in the 1960s, Kimmy will explore what it was to be a child before the…