Videogame invites you to discover someone through their lost phone

You find a phone on the ground outside. You look around, but there’s no one in sight. Hoping that there will be some information to help you contact the owner, you turn the phone on. This is where the preview for A Normal Lost Phone starts. Immediately, four messages pop up on the phone, sent over the last couple hours from the owner’s dad. “Where are you?”; “Where did you go?” Accidental Queens, the collective that created A Normal Lost Phone, list Her Story (2015), Gone Home (2013), and Life is Strange (2015) as their main inspirations. It feels most strongly…


Is it time to stop using the term “walking simulator”?

The history of the term “walking simulator” is short but heated. It’s only seen wide usage over the past few years and is often applied frivolously. There’s a lot of uncertainties around it but the one thing that’s for sure it it’s a divisive term. Some people see it as a useful way to bunch together a group of games with similar interests—typically slower games, ones about exploration and contemplation. While others abhor it and wish it would go away. But it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, at least, not any time soon. “Walking simulator” seemed to come into popularity around the…


There’s more Tacoma footage and it just keeps getting better

IGN has released the first 15 minutes Fullbright’s next game Tacoma, and it’s looking astonishingly good. We’d already gotten glimpses of its ship as Amy, the protagonist, slipped around in zero-gravity, transferring from surface to surface to navigate the empty ship, and we’d seen the first echoes of those that used to inhabit it: colorful human-shaped holograms, going about their lives on loop as Amy stayed quiet and watched. we watch them converse and lament, joke and flirt and worry But with this new footage we get an even closer look at the AR ghosts that drive Tacoma’s plot—we watch them…


The story is in the details: A chat with Fullbright’s Nina Freeman and Karla Zimonja

This article is part of Issue 8.5, a digital zine available to Kill Screen’s print subscribers. Read more about it here and get a copy yourself by subscribing to our soon-to-be-relaunched print magazine. /// Fullbright are best known for 2013’s iconic Gone Home. Their particular niche, now being refined with their upcoming Tacoma, is the narrative videogame: an intimate, carefully designed space left for the player to explore and unravel. Nina Freeman, creator of 2015’s Cibele, joined Fullbright last year as a level designer. Karla Zimonja co-founded the studio with Steve Gaynor. We sat down with them in their Portland office…


The layered, AR-embodied story of Tacoma

Gone Home, our favorite game of 2013, was a quiet marvel. Often slapped with the label of “walking simulator,” Gone Home was a revelatory shift in videogame storytelling in its non-standard exploration of a family via a house’s inanimate objects. Gone Home told a heartfelt coming-of-age tale about family and teenage sexuality during a time where such stories were rare in videogames. In Gone Home’s highly anticipated follow-up, Tacoma, The Fullbright Company have shifted their focus to a new venture beyond Earth itself: space. In the newest trailer and gameplay footage for Tacoma, revealed yesterday during YouTube’s Live at E3…


Night in the Woods to unravel its angsty teen tale this fall

There are two types of stories we tend to tell in the Fall: scary stories, and stories aimed at winning awards. Night in the Woods wants to be both. First announced with a Kickstarter campaign on October 22, 2013, Night in the Woods was pitched as a clever sidescroller twist on the adventure game, which quickly attracted attention from eager fans as they helped it earn over $150,000 dollars beyond its set goal of $50,000. The project was also warmly received by critics, who dug its young-adult angst, muted woodsy environment, and light horror themes. Kill Screen’s own Davis Cox…


Nature, Play, and Spirituality in the Pacific Northwest

A massive mountain stands before you, its miles-high peak slashing at the clouded skies. All around you stand enormous trees and tall volcanic boulders, their jagged surfaces covered with moss. A mist hangs in the air. Taking in your surroundings you set off into the mist, towards the mountain, your mind racing with equal parts excitement and curiosity at what new adventures await you within the trees. /// While it’s easy to imagine the above scene as part of a massive open-world game such as Skyrim, for the people of the Pacific Northwest—or Cascadia, as many call it—such moments are…

Gone Home

Gone Home heads to consoles on January 12th with behind-the-scenes commentary

It’s fair to say that we’re quite fond of Gone Home. It was our Game of the Year when it came out for PC back in 2013. And its mark has been left not only on our own minds, but in those of other creators, with Gone Home‘s intimate exploration of household objects manifesting in various game narratives over the past two years. Of course, there’s more to it than that; the moment of genuine terror it manufactures, the homage to the 1990s and teen angst, its housing of one of gaming’s prominent queer relationships, exploring themes of aging and growing…


Against child protagonists

Videogames don’t like people. Of that, the overwhelming amount of fantasy, war and sci-fi games, the ones set around goblins, androids and super-soldiers—the ones patently uninterested in real human beings—are proof enough. But even when games profess an interest in personhood and human experience they avoid substantive fiction. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture seems to focus on a village in England, and the relationships between the people that live there, but the people are all dead and instead of seeing them and how they interact with one another you find, merely, their ghosts and some recordings of their voices. Gone…