Smokestacks and metalwork: The industrial horror of videogames

In the most famous scene in Fritz Lang’s cinematic masterpiece Metropolis (1927), the protagonist, Freder, descends beneath the film’s urban dystopia to find a great network of machinery being tended by nameless, uniformed men. Steam columns, the clouds of this underground microcosm, rise and fall all around as the brass soundtrack mimics the percussive thronging of industrial noise. Freder wanders aimlessly through this metallic maze, looking onwards, terrified, at row upon row of men all operating levers in perfect automated symmetry. As the horns reach their background climax, an eruption of smoke and gas tears through the metalwork and throws…


Chambara aims to capture the tension of samurai films

Esteban Fajardo and his team have been devouring samurai films while crafting their competitive action game Chambara. They were particularly drawn to the work of Akira Kurosawa, the renowned Japanese director known for films such as Seven Samurai (1954), Yojimbo (1961), and Rashomon (1950). This last of those films has come to inform Chambara‘s visual style, if not its tone, the most. “These strange impulses of the human heart would be expressed through the use of an elaborately fashioned play of light and shadow,” Kurosawa wrote on Rashomon. The title of Chambara refers to Kurosawa’s own film genre, the samurai film, but it’s…


What’s the difference between a maze and a city? In CNNT, you’ll never know for sure

Maze designers are under no obligation to make their creations difficult to traverse. A maze is simply a collection of branching routes, one of which leads to an exit on the other side. In theory, these routes can be readily navigable, and in that sense all cities are mazes. In practice, however, maze design encourages obscurantism: Insofar as the shortest route from point A to point B is always straight line, it’s hard to care about efficiency while adding roadblocks. CNNT, which was created by Lazy Penguin for A Game By Its Cover 2015, attempts to reconcile these two interpretations…