1979 revolution

1979 Revolution is a history lesson for the Netflix generation

As a school-aged kid in the 1990s, I didn’t spend a lot of class time talking about Iran. The name Ayatollah Khomeini meant more to me as a reference to a joke from The Simpsons than as an actual historical figure. As an adult, I became marginally more aware of Iran’s contemporary position within Middle East quagmires and U.S. international tensions, but my understanding of its recent history grew no more sophisticated. So when I sat down to play 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, I felt both curious and ignorant of the world I was entering. And, to developer iNK Stories’ significant…

among thorns

Another perfect marriage of cyberpunk and pixels

Cyberpunk worlds always seem to draw me in. Whether it’s the derelict planets visited by Spike Spiegel and his bounty hunting companions in the cult classic anime Cowboy Bebop (1997-98), or the replicant-laden world of the famed Blade Runner (1982), cyberpunk has always remained a static aesthetic in the media I’ve read, watched, and played. And freelance pixel artist Matt Frith’s bite-sized cyberpunk point-and-click adventure game Among Thorns is no exception. The setting in Among Thorns is described on as “a world suffering with a technological plague, Cora Bry is recruited for a shady job.” So, essentially, a textbook example of any…


The adventure game you don’t want to miss

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Samorost 3 (PC, Mac) AMANITA DESIGN Music, nature, and animation come together as one in Samorost 3. Yes, perhaps more so than in many other videogames. Your cursor doesn’t just point-and-click, it ruffles bushes, causes alarm to sleeping birds, and picks mushrooms. It’s your entry into a tangible universe, split across several planets and moons, all of it woven together by photographs, wood sounds, and hand-animated dream sequences. Your direct task is to help a space gnome return a flute that dropped from the sky to…


Cure writer’s block in the origami world of Epistory

There’s something perpetually charming about tangible crafts in videogames. Whether it’s the hand-made wool in the iOS space-travelling title Voyager (2012), or the ever-customizable papercraft charm of Tearaway (2013), crafts-turned-aesthetic in games always adds an extra layer of tangibility to an otherwise digital experience. In Fishing Cactus’ typing adventure game Epistory, the paper-crafted world itself unfolds as you venture through the game, much like origami itself. The story literally unfolds from the paper itself “It just makes sense,” said Laurent Grumiaux, Commercial Director of Fishing Cactus, about the game’s palpable nature. As a wordsmith suffering from writer’s block, the player turns to their…

1979 Revolution

1979 Revolution to explore the Black Friday Massacre this April

1979 Revolution, the adventure game series based on political events in Iran that year, will see its first episode released on April 5th. It’s something I’ve been waiting for since playing a demo of the game on an iPad at an exhibition titled “Sensory Stories: An Exhibition of New Narrative Experiences” at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image in July last year. I had primarily attended the event for the short films the Museum was showing on Oculus Rift, but it was 1979 Revolution that impressed me the most. The demo I played followed fictional photojournalist Reza Shirazi as he covered…


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…


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…


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…