Obduction screenshot of house

Obduction is not to be missed

Obduction, despite how cosmic the word sounds, does not refer to flying saucers. More terrestrial than extraterrestrial, obduction means when one oceanic tectonic plate heaves up and laps over a continental plate. One world eclipsing another. Imagine the confusion you’d feel if you one day woke up underwater. Myst (1993) began with Atrus (one of the series’ central curators, played by co-creator Rand Miller) falling out of his world. An iconic frame—prime enough for the box art—of a free-fall silhouette descending from a rift into a starry unknown. In a similar setup, Obduction begins with the world falling on to…


Myst and the truth of objects

This article is part of our lead-up to Kill Screen Festival where Robyn and Rand Miller, creators of Myst, are keynote speakers. /// Your job in Myst (1993) is to assemble books. Set aside for a moment the impossible grandeur, hermetic mythos, and resonant cultural legacy of the game and this is what you’re left with—red page, blue page. Eventually there’s a white page. These pages are objects. Any decent open-world game of the last few years will allow you to cart around hundreds of pounds of literature without slowing your upswing, because in these games, the books aren’t objects.…


Two5six is now The Kill Screen Festival

Join us June 4th, 2016 for our fourth annual festival. The Kill Screen Festival, formerly Two5six, is a weekend dedicated to celebrating creative collaboration between games and other great art. We bring together two speakers, one from within games and one from without, to discuss a topic pertinent to both of their work. The conversations that result are often unexpected but always interesting and inspiring. This festival has a lot to offer everyone from those who play games religiously to those who don’t know Link from Zelda. Our lineup this year features some of the most promising creators in independent gaming…


The impossibility of sadness in That Dragon, Cancer

Art has always been useful for drawing our attention to the controversially sad. Take something like Zoe Quinn’s text adventure Depression Quest; depression is, by its nature, a miserable affliction, but it is also a diagnostic category burdened by stigma, shame, and skepticism. Some people insist that reliance on psychotherapy or medication is a sign of moral weakness, while others deny that clinical depression exists at all. Playing Quinn’s game and allowing yourself to feel sad therefore becomes a form of social action; to play is also to take a stand, placing yourself on one side of a debate. The…


Prominence has old-school sci-fi vibes, but it’s short on story

In January 1957, J.G. Ballard first published his story “The Concentration City” (then under a different title) in a magazine called New Worlds. It takes place in a city that spans the entire universe, where streets stretch out both horizontally and vertically, with lifts and levels expanding the city infinitely in every direction. Talk of real estate doesn’t just involve two-dimensional plots of land, but is priced and measured in cubic feet, so that even the air you breathe costs money. The biggest threat to life in this city is terrorists called “pyros,” the embodiment of a violent human impulse…


What the hell is Broken Reality?

What the hell have I gotten myself into for you people? Is there a virus on my computer? I feel like there should be a virus on my computer. All I wanted to do was write a story about videogames when I found myself on the Tumblr for a game called Broken Reality. Of course, aside from “game” being in the URL, I wouldn’t have known that’s what it was. All I saw before my eyes was a collection of neon kitsch framed within what looked like a desktop running Windows 95. Bewildered, I decided to check the “About” section,…