oxenfree
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Visit the ghost of high school past in Oxenfree

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Oxenfree (PC, Mac, Xbox One) NIGHT SCHOOL STUDIO Ghosts haunt all high school kids. Whether its that publicly humiliating story you can’t shake from your preteen years, or the apparition of “what might’ve been” if you’d asked your crush out; adolescence is a haunting experience. So maybe that’s why we keep torturing our teens in horror movies, games, and novels. The branching narrative game Oxenfree explores the more existential questions of teen horror: rather than a pure whodunit, the game keeps you enticed through clever writing and…

kona
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Kôna invites you to investigate an abandoned town in 1970s Canada

The most striking thing about the new trailer for Kôna, an upcoming surreal mystery game from Parabole, is its narration. It has this really odd, stilted intonation that I can’t quite place; the boom and quirk of old timey radio announcer meets the uncanny poetry of The Residents. Whatever it is, I like it. It sets such a strange tone for the rest of the video, which is just as good: as we learn from our dramatic narrator, you play as a Korean War veteran named Carl Faubert who ventures into the Northern Canadian wilderness to investigate a bout of…

elseheartbreak
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The world of Else Heart.Break() is yours to hack

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Else Heart.Break() (PC, Mac, Linux)  BY Erik Svedang Life kinda sucks until you find out you can hack the world. That’s been the through line of a lot of cyberpunk and hacker fiction over the years. Else Heart.Break() doesn’t depart from this generalization but it does draw you into it more than ever before. You point-and-click Sebastian around an old European town until you discover its underground subculture of hackers. It’s then that you acquire a tool that lets you manipulate the code of everyday objects. Everything from…

memoranda
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The magical realism of Japanese author Murakami gets its own videogame

You’d think videogames and magical realism would’ve found each other by now, but the pairing is still a tragically rare sight. Kentucky Route Zero is one of the few games I can name that embraces elements of magical realism without evolving into full-blown fantasy, but another project called Memoranda—also a point-and-click adventure—could soon join the list. Memoranda is inspired by the fiction of Haruki Murakami, whose works are often set in surreal realities that find a dreamlike charm in mundanity. In Memoranda’s case, the setting and the time period may be unclear and contain dissonant elements, but most of its…

m_1
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Creator of Stranded returns with a cyberpunk adventure inspired by Akira

Murder is the name of Peter Moorhead’s upcoming cyberpunk adventure game, which is set to launch on October 21st for desktop and mobile devices. While Moorhead’s previous game Stranded might’ve looked to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 for inspiration, Murder is rooted in the works of cyberpunk masters, including Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash), and Masamune Shirow (Ghost in the Shell). “designed and written to reward attentive and thoughtful play”  Set in Japan of the future, Murder puts you in control of a lieutenant in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. The story is said to revolve around “the intersection of morality…

brokenrealitylead
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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,…