A new videogame about piecing together drunken memories

Is it a coincidence that autobiographical games are the ones that seem to experiment with new storytelling ideas the most? Look at the infinite scrolling world of life and death in Passage (2007), the collage of frustrations in Dys4ia (2012), the awkward online conversations of Cibele (2015), and the interweaving of emotionally-charged 3D spaces in That Dragon, Cancer (2016). We can now add to this list the latest game by Jenny Jiao Hsia, which recalls a night out drinking with friends, or at least the part where she had to look after one of them and get them to hospital. It’s called and i…

Birthplace of Ossian

Birthplace of Ossian explores the artificiality of videogame landscapes

The mountainous terrain in Connor Sherlock’s exploration game Birthplace of Ossian isn’t of this world. I don’t mean that rather than being real, it is virtual—its disconnection has many more layers than that. For starters, its colossal landscape is based on Glen Coe in Scotland, a place that Sherlock has never been but feels connected to through media like Highlander (1986)—he’s actually named after the main character, Connor MacLeod. Sherlock wanted his recreation of Glen Coe to reflect his physical distance from it. “I wanted the space to be as distant an echo of the real thing as I could make it, like…

Night in the Woods

Night in the Woods comes out February 21st, for real this time (hopefully)

I don’t want to alarm you, but … okay, screw it, I do want to alarm you. BE ALARMED. February is gonna be a helluva month for videogames. I swear it. Just wait and see. What’s that? You don’t want to wait that long. Alright, alright, well, let me just lay this on you for starters then: Night in the Woods is coming out on February 21st 2017 for PlayStation 4, Windows, Mac, and Linux. That’s reason enough alone to grant, oh, I dunno, a knighthood to the month of February. Yeah, let’s go all out. What a good month you are,…

Sunless Sea

Sunless Sea will wash up terror and cannibalism on your iPad this spring

It was Failbetter Games’s seventh birthday yesterday, and so, to mark the occasion, the London-based studio decided to make an announcement. You remember that terrific nautical adventure game Sunless Sea (2015)? The one in which you sailed across a vast, dangerous ocean, collecting a range of stories, scars, and probably losing your sanity? Well, it’s only been available on PC before, but it’ll also be coming to iPad this spring. Great news, then. That’ll mean iPad owners can travel across the dreaded Unterzee with a tap of their finger, and from whatever real-world location they might find themselves in—handheld terror wherever…


Get in the mood for a spring clean with a new zen puzzler

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Empty (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android) By DustyRoom It’s almost time for the big spring clean this year, which might mean you need something to get you in the appropriate head space. Empty could be that something. It’s a zen puzzler that has you clearing out all the objects inside a series of rooms that look like they were decorated by Mark Rothko. You achieve your goal by rotating your view around the room to match each object’s color to the blocks of color on the…

Kyōfu no sekai

A cosmic horror game inspired by the work of manga artist Junji Ito

The cancellation of Silent Hills, the horror game sequel that was to be led by Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) director Guillermo del Toro, was a shame for a number of reasons. Primary among them was the fact that one of the collaborators on Silent Hills was legendary manga artist Junji Ito. Ito’s artwork often explores two areas: a disturbing style of body horror that is unique to him, and the existential inevitability of one’s demise. These interests shape his manga with horror stories that are hard to get out of your head, not merely for the strange ideas he thinks…

Frog Fractions 2

Frog Fractions 2 and the difficult art of mystery making

How do you follow up a game like Frog Fractions (2012)? That’s the question its creator Jim Crawford had promised an answer to for two years. On December 27th, 2016, he delivered with the release of Frog Fractions 2, which he had hidden away inside a fairy-themed city builder called Glittermitten Grove. The problem with making a sequel to Frog Fractions is that it’s a game that relies on the unexpected. The original starts off pretending to teach you about fractions with a simple bug-eating game, but then takes a sudden turn and sends you on a wild adventure, riding a dragon across…

Walking Simulator

Photography project inspires a videogame about mountains

LA-based digital artist and photographer Carson Lynn is aware of the stigma behind the term “walking simulator.” It’s no coincidence that it’s the title of his latest project and also one of the most divisive terms in videogames. He knows that a lot of people shrug the walking simulator genre off as being games that are simply about walking—as if they were pointless, not even games at all. “I often get the same reaction when someone views my artwork since it’s abstract nature,” Lynn tells me. “Many people don’t want to stop and reflect and think about an artwork, they…


Sylvio’s bringing its ghostly screeches to consoles this Friday the 13th

Can you hear it? The moans in the static. Yes, it’s unmistakable. It’s saying the esoteric, analog-horror game Sylvio is ghosting its way to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this week, on Friday the 13th to be precise. Weird message to pick up on an oscilloscope, that. It’s not quite the original version of Sylvio that we praised so lavishly back in 2015, but a remastered version that is heading to consoles—the tweaks and improvements have already rolled out on the Steam version of the game. The changes include the ability to revisit areas in the game, better hand animations…