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BalanCity asks you to build the world’s most misguided city

BalanCity is a diamond in the rough. The menus and presentation of the game leave a lot to be desired, but the actual game, the act of balancing hospitals atop skyscrapers without accidentally sending your whole city into the ocean, is about as compelling as city-building gets. It’s no SimCity (2013), but no one seems to have told BalanCity that. Hence it tasks you with the typical challenges of a city-builder. You have to keep your approval rating high or people will protest in the streets of your unbalanced city. And you’ll need to keep your emergency services working to…

Voici
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Oh damn, a game inspired by Albert Robida illustrations is on the way

Zipping along an elevated restaurant and opera house, there are flying cars, buses, and other ships. The sky is teeming with these vehicles, transporting Victorian-garbed folks to and from their destinations. This is the futuristic world envisioned by 19th century artist Albert Robida in Le Sortie de l’opéra en l’an 2000. This is the same world inspiring Voici, an upcoming game being created by Rotterdam-based designer Joost Eggermont. Under the backdrop of a retro-futuristic city, Voici oozes the same kind of playfulness and charm as found in many of Robida’s prescient works. Two years ago, while looking for visual inspiration,…

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Bjarke Ingels’s new game is everything good and bad about his architecture

Bjarke Ingels’s portfolio can now be viewed as an online game called Arkinoid, which is an updated version of the classic (and similarly-named) arcade game, Arkanoid (1986). Of course it can—it was only ever a matter of time. That is meant as a relatively value-neutral statement, but inevitably it can also serve as a sort of Rorschach test for how you feel about the Danish architect. The whole thing is at once playful, pointless, childlike, simplistic, amusing, and glib, and whatever combination of those things that you see in the game probably also applies to the Bajrke Ingels Group’s work. All of which…

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Architecture fans will want to watch out for Pavilion next week

Fourth-person puzzle game Pavilion will be released in two parts, the first of which comes to Windows, Mac, and Linux on September 22 through Steam and the Humble Store. The game will debut, however, on the NVIDIA Shield on September 15. Forgot what the fourth-person perspective was? That’s okay, I did, too. In 2014, Visiontrick Media’s Henrick Flink said on the PlayStation blog that it’s used to describe the way the player interacts with the main character; the player isn’t playing as the main character, and is not in control of him, either. “Indirect control” is used to influence, guide,…

disjointed
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The disjointed Prague of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Heterotopias is a series of visual investigations into virtual spaces performed by writer and artist Gareth Damian Martin. /// To me, Prague has always felt like a city uniquely in communion with the past and future versions of itself. I remember my first visit, a local friend taking me to the once mysterious, now legendary Cross Club: an amorphous labyrinth of scrap metal occupying the lower floors and basement of a decaying, communist-era panelák. Stumbling past the ubiquitous leather-clad and shorn-headed bouncers into one of its dancefloors was like wandering into a William Gibson wonderland, bubbling tubes of mysterious green liquid and angular metal…

Castles Made of Castles
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Castles Made of Castles lets you easily create complex architecture

There’s a sort of serene pleasure that comes from uniform design schemes. Whether it’s a car with two identical sides, a train that could be perfectly split in half, or a skyscraper in an evenly cubical shape; orderly architecture gives off a sense of harmony and pleasure to the viewer. These endeavors are testaments to the power of organization and stability. But why should we be confined to simply enjoying these designs as onlookers? Why not create our own? Nico Disseldorp’s online project Castles Made of Castles is a love letter to orderly architecture. Described as a “geometry toy,” Disseldorp’s…

Autobiographical Architecture
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A new autobiographical game that will be set in and around Doom II

I’ve never met JP LeBreton but I know him because he knows the original Doom series. He wrote what is probably the most insightful design analysis of the game back in 2010; before he became a level designer for BioShock (2007) he learned the craft with Doom‘s level editor (and then demade his BioShock level “Arcadia” in Doom II); and more recently he had the opportunity to talk at length with one of the original Doom creators John Romero about his work on the game. It does not surprise me when LeBreton tells me “Doom is this thread running through most of…

ghost in the shell
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An exhibit for admiring the labyrinthian cityscapes of anime architecture

When I visited Tokyo, Japan earlier this year for the first time, I was struck by its block-by-block awe-inspiring architecture. From the woven-like walls of the Daikanyama T-Site bookstore, or the mirrored, cave-like entrance to the Tokyu Plaza Building on the cusp of Omotesando and Harajuku, Japan takes its architecture to highly modernized, nearly impossible heights. And it makes sense, for a country whose animation has been setting the standard for fictional architecture since the early 1980s. Animated architecture that looks to both the present and the old, and twists it into something new for the future. Luckily, there’s a…