Vinyl player

The neglected history of videogames for the blind

The game starts with a black screen. A woman’s voice, speaking in Japanese: “Real Sound. Kaze no Regret. This software brought to you by WARP Inc.” A string quartet, swelling and romantic, begins to play—press the start button, and the music stops suddenly with the sound of a bell. A light hiss of static. An acoustic guitar picking up the same theme as before is quickly joined by a ticking clock. A deep male voice starts to narrate: “Every so often, when you meet someone else, you have a feeling that it’s not for the first time.” The screen remains…


The threat music and animal sounds of Rain World

The goofy term “slugcat” has been tossed around to describe the creature you’ll control in Videocult’s upcoming game Rain World for a couple of years now. Due to its unique ecosystem set on an industrial planet that’s ravaged by bone-crushing downpours for most of the year (the game takes place during the brief dry season), describing the things that flap, squirm, and leap around Rain World is a task. Imagine, then, trying to apply not words but audio to match everything found on this alien planet. Well, you don’t need to, as a recent Kickstarter update (the game was successfully funded back…

Return of the Obra Dinn

Return Of The Obra Dinn’s historical fiction gets even eerier in new demo

Lucas Pope, of Papers Please (2013) fame, has been working on his new project, Return of the Obra Dinn, for nearly two years now. Back in October 2014, he released the first build of the game, which ran for 10 minutes in length and showed off its stylistic 1-bit rendering. Updates on the game’s progress since then have all arrived in the form of a devlog, except the latest, which comes with a new demo to play. It features a host of improvements, such as a new intro sequence with fully voiced dialogue, a remodeled top deck, a new flashback, a small…


A closer look at the audio game console from 1980

Did you know there were such things as audio-only game consoles? We’re going way back to 1978 for the first of these, Mego’s 2XL Robot, which had you insert 8-track cassettes that told jokes, hosted quizzes, and gave you mathematical problems to solve. But that’s not what classic game enthusiast zadoc recently shone a light on. They, instead, give us a closer look at Milton Bradley’s Omni Entertainment System, originally released in 1980, and that replaced those 8-track cassettes with 8-track cartridges. This was a time prior to Nintendo’s entry into the console world, when the likes of the Magnavox Odyssey, the Atari 2600, and…


Secrets sit behind the devilish sound puzzles of Told No One

“You told no one, right?” This is the language we use when speaking of secrets. Something was found out and it must be kept as unknown as possible. It’s telling that Karachi-based artist NAWKSH uses these words to title his videogame Told No One. For it seems to be a tightly woven secret itself. It’s hiding something, perhaps many things, beyond the arcane rituals it tests you with. From the outside, Told No One seems simple enough. The description reads: “five short sound puzzles / interactive experiments in greyscale.” Sounds quite pleasant. But once you head inside it’s immediately clear that…


The Witness won’t have music, and for good reason

The use of silence can be just as important and impactful as a well-chosen or carefully crafted soundtrack. This is the gist of what Jonathan Blow, creator of Braid, has to say in a new blog post on his upcoming puzzle game The Witness. According to Blow, “The Witness is a game about being perceptive: noticing subtleties in the puzzles you find, noticing details in the world around you. If we slather on a layer of music that is just arbitrarily playing, and not really coming from the world, then we’re adding a layer of stuff that works against the…