Isaac Vega wants to make board games for everyone

An hour into our interview, Isaac Vega is still brimming with energy, gesturing and talking about his next project with all the verve of a life coach or an eager teenager. Vega’s a lead designer for Plaid Hat Games, who have published the board games Dead of Winter (2014) and Summoner Wars (2009). It’s obvious he loves what he does. “I’d like to break the barrier in board games that we don’t see in other media,” Vega tells me. Tabletop gaming has a unique barrier to access that no other media has: a steep learning curve. To gather a group…


David OReilly’s next game reminds us we’re not the center of the universe

Everything wants you to question the scale of our world—and your place in it. Designer David OReilly used the game to expand on his first venture into the game space with Mountain (2014), wherein you’re able to inhabit the perspective of a mountain, a non-human thing. From there, he began experimenting with ways to connect a unique perspective to everything. Humans have the tendency to believe we’re the center of the universe—that we’re special—and we’ve felt that way for a while. It’s a “very old prescientific idea that we’re somehow the center,” OReilly told us in an interview, which will be printed…


The making of No Man’s Sky soundtrack

Post-rock has long been intertwined with film and television. That’s why there’s a big chance you’ve heard it before, possibly without even knowing it. Explosions In The Sky (one of the genre’s most well-known acts) blew up into mainstream consciousness after scoring the American football drama Friday Night Lights (2006-2011). Their fellow Austin residents This Will Destroy You have been heard in popular movies as well, including Moneyball (2011), World War Z (2013), and at least one ad campaign without their permission. Long-running Scottish act Mogwai (named after the furry creatures from Gremlins) most recently scored the 2015 BBC 4…


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 Pac-Man

David Race is the best Pac-Man (1980) player in the world but would never admit that. Sure, you could watch his hand move the joystick like a professional driver downshifting around a corner. Or stand there dumbstruck as he tells you where the enemies will move seconds before they do so. “Keep your eyes on Blinky,” he’ll say. And just before you have time to ask which one that is, Pac-Man does something you never thought possible: he passes through the red ghost unscathed. Watch for a little while longer and you’ll soon realize David is not reacting to the…

No Man's Sky

The future of archaeology starts with No Man’s Sky

This is a preview of an article you can read on our new website dedicated to virtual reality, Versions. /// Destructive treasure hunters like Nathan Drake and Lara Croft tumble through decadent crypts, dismantling rare artifacts in their wake. Their scrabbling work, however incidental, is the antithesis to the careful field of archaeology. Yet, in marketing materials they’re labeled both as explorers and, yes, archaeologists. It’s for reasons like this that I’ve found myself, as a student of archaeology, increasingly disillusioned with the way videogames treat artifacts and history. The problem is that these types of games tend to disregard…


A people’s history of PlayStation Home

Released at the end of last year, Postcards from Home has the feel of a curio: a weighty tome assembled exclusively from images captured within Sony’s discontinued virtual world, Home (2008-2015). Its author, the Spanish photographer Roc Herms, has explored games before, whether making absurdist use of the Game Boy camera or documenting an enormous LAN party from the perspective of the hardware. But it only takes a few pages for the scope of Postcards from Home to reveal itself as something much more empathetic, even human, full of penetrating longform interviews that explores the digital architecture of Home as…

The Desolate Hope

The many failures of the Five Nights At Freddy’s creator

On January 21, Scott Cawthon’s Five Nights at Freddy’s World (FNaF World), the surprisingly light-hearted role-playing followup to the popular horror series, was released on Steam, ahead of its announced February 19th release date. User reception was generally positive, but the drastic shift in style and tone left some fans confused, leading to an 87 percent user review rating. Not satisfied with an aggregated score of “very positive”, Cawthon pulled the game from Steam, promising to update it with new features and release it for free on Game Jolt once it was ready. In a post on Steam, Cawthon explained…

Sylvio 2

Sylvio 2 and the ghostly terror of analog technology

Sylvio was a humble ghost-hunting horror game in the foggy, abstract lineage of Silent Hill. It also boasted an indelible protagonist in soft-spoken Juliette Waters. Her resolve through all manner of supernatural phenomena makes you, the player, feel a bit better about the screaming ink-black blobs milling about as you investigate an abandoned amusement park. Using EVP recording equipment, you can capture the whispers of the dead on analog tape, scrubbing back and forth to pinpoint clues about how each spirit met their end. Yeah—Sylvio is a game about helping ghosts find peace. Now designer Niklas Swanberg is back on…