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Dive Another Way is the most fun way to break your phone

When it comes to the summer olympic sports, diving might not be the first event that gets your heart pumping. After all, those incredible gymnasts have all those fancy, flashy costumes and the competitors in the 100 meter sprint appear to pull of super human feats. All in all, other events can simply dwarf how awesome and how much skill is required to pull off a perfect dive. But fear not olympic divers, because videogames are here to rescue your image. In the game jam entry Dive Another Way (by Max Wrighton, Gian Dbeis, and Remy Stuurworld), two players attempt to synchronize…

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Ghosts of Memories sets its puzzles across beautiful, impossible structures

Ghosts of Memories is an upcoming iOS and Android game set in a mystical, isometric world of impossible architecture. While the game it resembles most, Monument Valley, presented its puzzles as compact structures to be rotated, explored, and manipulated, Ghost of Memories spreads its puzzles out across wider, more fragmented areas composed of floating ruins, hanging platforms, and ancient shrines. Its worlds vary from desolate sand gardens occupied by energy-filled obelisks to volcanic grey islands surrounded by a sea of patterned turquoise, each putting to use Escher-inspired perspective tricks in their own way. According to the Ghosts of Memories website,…

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To catch ’em all in Pokémon GO you’ll need to explore the world around you

Pokémon GO is a videogame that—get this—sees Pokémon invading “the real world.” Yep, you don’t have to sit in a stuffy room by yourself staring at a grey and green screen of mere inches in size to play Pokémon any longer, as I did for hours as a child. You can go outside and find a Pikachu poking its head out of a shrub through your phone’s screen, throw a (pretend) Poké Ball at it, and then trade or battle it with whoever else is around.  This is all possible due to the technology that Niantic Labs (which has just…

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Piece your life together by piecing together broken pottery

I have but one question to ask about puzzles: if at some point a creator had a complete picture, why on earth would they smash it into pieces just so we would have to do more work before enjoying it? Kintsukuroi, an Android “experiment” by Chelsea Saunders, attempts to answer this question. It takes its name from a Japanese practice in which smashed ceramic vessels are painstakingly pieced back together. The game’s mechanics are also derived from this practice: it is a series of 3D puzzles that, once solved, produce interesting pieces of pottery. In total, Kinsukuroi will offer 20…

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Find peace by gardening the harmonious landscapes of Barmark

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Barmark (Android)  BY Stormhatt Studios The characters in Barmark are all damaged in some way. You can see this as they wander the rigidly-cut pastoral landscapes guided by your finger. They are searching for harmony (which is believed to have healing properties), and to find it, you need to help them shape the environment to a pleasing arrangement. To this end, you can plant trees and flowers, but the idea is to seek out hidden ancient machines that can enact dramatic changes on the quiet forests,…

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Gathering Sky lets you conduct flocks of birds as you would a piece of music

Think of all the words that an eagle typically conjures: mighty, inspiring, soaring, majestic. The eagle in Gathering Sky is none of these. I don’t think I’m going beyond myself to say that, frankly, it’s a bit of a shit. I know we shouldn’t wish an excruciating death on any of Earth’s creatures—especially in the wake of the whole Cecil the lion incident—but I can’t help it. I hope that eagle dive bombs a buzz saw. Made of angry claws and a screech that inspires only terror, the eagle in Gathering Sky exists for one purpose, and that is to…

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This smartphone game exposes the human cost of recycling e-waste

One day, your mobile phone, that precious device that connects you with the outside world and on which you may even be reading this sentence, will die. Its death may come in the middle of the night after years of declining performance. It is also possible that your phone will suddenly pass away after inadvertently falling into a lake. Either way, from a consumer electronics perspective, the phone has now run its race. Its journey is over. But that isn’t true. In fact, your phone’s journey has only begun. Burn the Boards, which has just come out on iOS to…

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Pokémon as slavery

It took 15 years for the Pokémon series to start looking inwardly at itself and question its own ethics. By then, it comprised videogames, anime, trading cards, toys, a whole damn franchise that might—it just might—have advocated slavery and/or animal blood sports. This isn’t meant to be one of those “24 Facts That Will Ruin Your Childhood” type of articles but it might have the same effect if you haven’t put any thought into the Pokémon series beyond whether to have your Rattata attack with a Tail Whip or a Bite. Pokémon with the faces of wearisome middle-aged men  The…

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Peer into the mysteries and secrets of a 1970s suburb

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. DOES NOT COMMUTE (iOS, ANDROID)  BY MEDIOCRE AB  At a busy crossroads in a 1970s suburb it is your task to drive every car at once. You steer one auto-accelerating vehicle to its destination, time rewinds, then you steer another while avoiding your former self. At every stage this act is repeated until you’re dodging chaotic traffic of your own creation. But the lasting appeal of the game isn’t so much this challenge as it is the lives that you peer into without their knowing. Each car,…