Dead Static Drive

Dead Static Drive to be a road-trip horror in vintage Americana style

Watching the R-rated horror classic The Evil Dead (1981) when you’re about seven years old leaves a lasting impression. Mike Blackney can vouch for this. He can trace his fascination with a distinctly American strain of horror “set in rural areas or suburbs” back to that seminal viewing. It carried him through the works of authors such as David Morrell, Joe R. Lansdale, and T.E.D. Klein, and now it’s what’s shaping his road-trip horror game Dead Static Drive. Due to Blackney’s interest in “horror in mundane settings,” the main mission in Dead Static Drive is to go on a “road trip to…

Vienna Automobile Society

Vienna Automobile Society makes a puzzle out of racing cars next year

The racing line is perhaps one of the most crucial aspect of motorsports. Carefully modulating speed and direction to take a corner optimally is key to shaving precious seconds and fractions of a second from lap times. Cornering strategy and track condition and vehicle limits are linked in that moment of driving precision. Royal Polygon understands the importance of the racing line. The studio’s upcoming arcade racer-puzzler hybrid Vienna Automobile Society takes that moment, the careful navigation of the corner apex, and crafts a minimalist test of reflexes and fast-paced planning around it. It’s come a little way since we last…

Forza Horizon 3

There’s a new Forza game out, and it’s as douchey as you could hope

I am not much of a racing-game guy, unless it a) takes place in the future, b) has dinosaurs driving the cars, or c) has Forza in the title. The Forza series impresses, fundamentally, as a piece of craft. You just know that each of these cars was wheeled IRL into a room full of lasers to be scanned perfectly, their each intoxicating line painstakingly redrawn, the very texture of their leather interiors recreated with the tenderness of a lost lover. The cars roar in breathtaking harmony before each race. And then, good god, the feel: two triggers and a…

Drive! Drive! Drive!

Drive! Drive! Drive! is all killer, no filler

I don’t drive in real life. I can’t face it, the idea of having to pay that much attention to anything makes me anxious. The same is true of racing games: Forza, Gran Turismo, Burnout all get me a little nervous as they approach top speed. Drive! Drive! Drive! takes my anxiety and multiplies it tenfold. You see, you’re not just racing around one track—keeping the best line and drifting around corners to recharge your boost bar—you’re racing around several tracks at once. Each separate track has a car for you to control, so you have to jump between them to…


Hungary is more than just a pit stop in Jalopy’s long-winding roadtrip

The borders are open; those traveling Jalopy’s Eastern Bloc during its Steam Early Access phase can now roll their Laika 601 into early ’90s Hungary. That brings Jalopy’s country count up to three—Germany, Czech and Slovak Federal Republic (now Czechoslovakia), and Hungary. With Hungary, developer Greg Pryjmachuk added subtle environmental cues to each territory in efforts to differentiate the three areas. He included things like country-branded goods—coffee in one region will look different from another, and cigarettes and sausages are now separately branded for each country. Likewise, gas stations will also “change visually” depending on the player’s location. The country held its first…


OmniBus can’t stop, won’t stop

Beating one of the levels in OmniBus means driving over a ramp, bonking the head off a statue, and careening into a set of bowling pins before turning right-side up to drive straight into the endless blue ocean. I take no responsibility for that last part. After you beat any of the game’s levels you can continue to watch the titular OmniBus drive in its configuration—whether that’s straight ahead, doing donuts, or otherwise. This is consistent because your foot wasn’t on the gas pedal to begin with, and this is a driving game with no brakes. Strap in buckos, your…


American Truck Simulator is here for the long haul

I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 19 years old. This is rare in my home state of Wyoming, where most kids learn to drive manual before the first day of high school—I had to make every effort to avoid the attendant responsibilities of vehicular ownership. But the mountainous west is colossal, grandiose, and requires a car to accomplish literally everything, so of course I capitulated. Every vehicle I drove was “pre-owned” and equal parts charming and dilapidated. They had nicknames, lost mirrors in bank drive-thru lanes, played Local H and Suicide Machines tapes, stranded me on the…


Jalopy will take you on a ramshackle road trip through the Eastern bloc

If the “racing game” is about the ticking clock, the turn rate, the time it takes to get from 0 to 60, maybe the “driving game” is about the little things—losing track of time on a long trip, deciding to stop at the next hotel, turning on your windshield wipers instead of your turn signal. Greg Pryjmachuk used to work with the folks who make more traditional racing games like DiRT (2007) and GRID (2008) and the F1 games, but now he’s making Jalopy (previously called Hac), which doesn’t look particularly “traditional” at all. The physicality of maintaining the car…

Dead End Road

Horror lurks behind the nighttime driving of Dead End Road

There’s something existentially terrifying about driving at night. For my money, it has to do with that unpleasant combination of velocity and darkness. The swath cut by your headlights is only enough to catch fleeting images. Is that a hitchhiker you see on the side of the road, or an unnervingly convincing scarecrow? The red eyes in the darkness ahead might be the taillights of a truck, or something much worse. Like any great horror film, a highway at night gives you only glimpses of what’s actually there; it lets your imagination do the rest. I should mention here that,…