Universal Harvester

John Darnielle’s next novel is a horror story about fragmented video tapes

In the music he writes for the Mountain Goats, John Darnielle tells intensely specific stories. One song describes a breakfast of boiled peanuts the morning a parther leaves for good. Another, from the band’s most recent album, Beat the Champ (2015), mournfully describes a wrestling match in which the loser has his head shaved with a “cheap electric razor from the Thrifty down the street.” Darnielle’s first novel, Wolf in White Van (2014), is layered thick with references that situate it not just in a particular time or place, but inside a particular cultural niche, full of Conan the Barbarian comics and b-movie…

The Station

The Station brings urban legends to life with cute pixel art

One of my favorite urban legends as a child centered on the sewers of New York City. As the story goes, it suddenly became popular in New York to have an alligator as a pet. The giant lizards were kept in fish tanks and then in bathtubs, until owners were horrified to discover that an alligator outgrows even a bathtub, at which point some great number of alligators were sneaked to the sewers, where they now live. the unknown realms behind storm drains As the world gradually demonstrates that monsters and wizards are much harder to come by than you…

Indigo Child

Chat with lonely ghosts in Indigo Child

Love indie games? We are relaunching our print magazine with Issue 9. For a limited time, use the discount code RELAUNCH to receive 10% off your purchase of Issue 9, or off a 4 issue subscription. /// In the 80s and 90s, “indigo children” were a topic out of New Age philosophy that gained some mainstream popularity. The idea was that certain gifted children might possess unusual or paranormal abilities. It’s the kind of thing that would have made for a good X-Files episode, or if you’re developer Metkis, it makes for a good short game. Indigo Child is about talking to ghosts,…

Quadrilateral Cowboy

Don’t let Quadrilateral Cowboy slip through your fingers

When Brendon Chung described Quadrilateral Cowboy to IGN in 2013, he framed it as a departure from his narrative-focused work in Thirty Flights of Loving (2012) and Gravity Bone (2008). “I wanted to go in a very different direction,” he said, “and let the player experiment in a sandbox and figure out their own solutions to problems.” This third game about the seedy underbelly of Nuevos Aires—the fictional city that many of Chung’s games are set in—is much longer and more complex than its predecessors, but shares many of the same ideas about how to string quotidian moments into a…

NES Classic Edition

Nintendo’s new mini console relies on your memories of the ’80s

Between Humble Bundles and Steam sales, everyone loves a good collection of cheapo games. In the spirit of bundle-based generosity, Nintendo has announced a kind of physical manifestation of their Virtual Console in the form of the “NES Classic Edition.” The size of a 10-dollar sandwich, the NES Classic Edition will have a fixed library of 30 NES games, 28 of which are currently available on the Wii U Virtual Console. For the first time ever, Bubble Bobble (1986) and Final Fantasy (1987) will be legally playable in 1080p, having only been on the lower-resolution Wii Virtual Console and NES…

Kentucky Route Zero

Stop everything! Kentucky Route Zero Act IV is out right now

Just like last time, Kentucky Route Zero‘s next act—that is, Act IV—has dropped with a soft thump into the world. If you already own it then this new act will be available to download in your Steam library right now. Did you hear it land? Nor did anyone else. Alongside this sudden arrival, Cardboard Computer posted an “Observational Trailer,” which is the most pleasant three minutes I’ve ever spent staring at a gas station lit like a biker bar. You can also spend the next three minutes doing that, perhaps sipping on something cold—yes, do that: So far, acts One…

Card Thief

Card Thief brings medieval stealth to the card game format

Card Thief is an upcoming game from the Tinytouchtales studio headed by Arnold Rauers. Inspired by Thief (1998) and Sage Solitaire (2015), it will see players extinguishing torches and sneaking past salivating dogs to string long chains of cards together as the obstacles mount up. Tinytouchtales’s last effort, Card Crawl (2015), also used a more-or-less standard deck of cards to blend dungeon crawling and Solitaire. At some level, Solitaire isn’t a card game anymore. Or, it’s not a game you play with cards. Microsoft Solitaire (1989) was developed by Wes Cherry with art by Susan Kare in an effort to…


The steady process of restoring a long lost MMO

If you want to grow up to be a conservator—someone whose job it is to ensure a museum’s art is protected against the ravages of time—it involves a huge amount of schooling and preparation. Aside from art history, conservators learn chemistry to manage the precise makeup of clays or pigments used in paintings, they use x-rays and other imaging technologies to see works great artists painted over in order to save canvas. There are a relatively small number of academic programs that prepare an individual for that career, and a lot of the work has to do with passing traditions…

Quadrilateral Cowboy

Get ready to jack in to Quadrilateral Cowboy later this month

Quadrilateral Cowboy, the next game from prolific game maker Brendon Chung, is coming out for Windows PCs on July 25th. That is very soon. Unfortunately, if you’re running Linux or OSX you’ll have to wait until September this year to get the game. Still, that isn’t too long… right? Chung is probably best known for the two-game bundle made up of Gravity Bone (2008) and Thirty Flights of Loving (2012). Gravity Bone has a full-fledged set of opening credits, and refers to films like Wong Kar Wai’s Days of Being Wild (1990). Thirty Flights is an ambitious game that explores…