Thing-in-Itself brings Kant’s philosophical expression to videogames

Videogames and philosophy are hardly strangers. Look to BioShock‘s (2007) exploration of Objectivism, the Determinism of The Stanley Parable (2013), and The Talos Principle (2015) with its toying of Functionalism and Behaviorism (and many other philosophies). The interactive nature of videogames, along with their basis in manipulating systems and limitless virtual spaces, allow for them to serve as ideal capsules to teach players the doctrines of a philosophy. For the most part this is done implicitly—without prior knowledge, the player probably won’t realize that they have in fact been exposed to the concepts belonging to a certain philosophy. Rather than taking the Portal (2007)…

Indigo Child

Chat with lonely ghosts in Indigo Child

Love indie games? We are relaunching our print magazine with Issue 9. For a limited time, use the discount code RELAUNCH to receive 10% off your purchase of Issue 9, or off a 4 issue subscription. /// In the 80s and 90s, “indigo children” were a topic out of New Age philosophy that gained some mainstream popularity. The idea was that certain gifted children might possess unusual or paranormal abilities. It’s the kind of thing that would have made for a good X-Files episode, or if you’re developer Metkis, it makes for a good short game. Indigo Child is about talking to ghosts,…


Californium can’t get past writer’s block

Growing up in the heyday of graphic adventures has caused me to live in fear of the pixel hunt. It used to be that I’d load up the otherwise innovative Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) or the visually sumptuous Riven (1997), only to spend hours stuck, madly combing the screen for details that were secretly interactive. I would click every gradient of a stone wall, every book on a library shelf, but nothing would happen. Next screen. Click, nothing. Click. Click, click, click, click. I might cry out expletives in a raspy whisper at the height of my…


In praise of the “bad” design of Tharsis

Tharsis begins with an event of astronomical improbability. Somewhere in the interplanetary medium, a meteoroid floating through space at 25 miles a second occupies the same bit of spacetime as the spaceship Inktomi, which is hurtling towards Mars at 11 miles a second. The ship and its crew have been travelling for weeks; the meteoroid, millenia. And there, in the emptiness of the cosmic void, they somehow meet. An impact; a burst of compressed air; a body blown into space; a crippled vessel drifting toward Mars. What remains is a quartet of crew and a fistful of dice to navigate…


Prepare to question unreality with SOMA’s machine-horror on September 22nd

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” – Philip K. Dick Humanity’s centuries-old attempt to understand our own consciousness, from philosophy to biology, can basically be summed up by one single image: a dog trying to chase its own tail. From Descartes’s declaration that, if nothing else, “I think, therefore I am,” to the modern philosophers of the mind who now doubt the absolute truth of that statement, time seems only to get us further away from any definite answers on the matter. But, if it’s any comfort at all, I don’t think you…


Goldi mixes fairy tales and political philosophy, because why not

At the time of his death in 1527, the political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli had never stated his position on works being placed in the public domain. Fair enough: “public domain,” as presently constituted, was not an idea in Machiavelli’s time. One can, however, suspect that the author of The Seven Books on the Art of War and The Prince wouldn’t have been big on the concept. Seeing as Machiavelli died nearly five hundred years ago, though, he has little say on the matter.  Thus, along with the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Machiavelli’s The Prince appears in Ed…