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Feature

The “New Weird” In Videogames

Defining a genre is a troubled process the moment a discussion of its elements begin. Those nebulous divisions that separate detective and gothic fiction, science fiction and horror, adventure and fantasy; all seem built on shaky foundations as tropes and archetypes bleed into each other. More often than not, studying the progression and evolution of genres begins with the understanding that such genres are seldom fixed, codified strictures. Such was the case in 2003 when a group of writers began an online conversation about a genre known as the “New Weird.” Though the New Weird, like almost every other genre,…

neardeath1
News

Creators of The Novelist want you to avoid freezing to death next

Orthogonal Games, the studio behind 2013’s The Novelist, has announced its next project, called Near Death. It presents a simple premise: Your plane has crashed in Antarctica. You’re cold, you’re alone, and it’s dark. There’s an abandoned research station within walking distance. Try not to die. It’s an effective hook, evoking the excitement and immediacy of the first BioShock‘s (2007) opening sequence, in which the game’s protagonist finds himself half-drowned in the middle of the Atlantic only to see a mysterious lighthouse in the water nearby. The major difference is that Near Death has no Rapture (the game’s underwater city) for its protagonist to…

Gone Home
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Videogames and the art of spatial storytelling

French philosopher Guy Debord talked about the idea of the dérive, a mode of travel where the journey itself is more important than the destination, where travelers “let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there.” But to think of dérive as a kind of random stroll dominated by chance encounters would be to miss Debord’s essential point: spaces, by virtue of being inhabited or shaped by humankind, possess their own “psychogeographical contours, with constant currents, fixed points and vortexes that strongly discourage entry into or exit from certain zones.” Spaces can be…

Angel Raphael
Feature

How to talk about videogames (if you’re blind)

One of the first things that people notice when they flip on their consoles are the catchy intro sequences; the flashy animations of the screen. Videogames have a quantified area around them that’s visual. After all, so many game elements are conveyed through visual means, such as objective markers and collectables. Usually, in a videogame review, these visual references will pop up. Pixels will be examined, judgments will be passed on art direction and the success of animated bodies. I, however, don’t review visuals at all. I have to look to different aspects of a videogame to make up for…

UMTTTEX
News

Brutalism has found a second life in Minecraft

The case for preserving brutalist architecture requires some strange contortions. Defenders of gems like London’s Robin Hood Gardens or the Orange County Government Center must claim that buildings whose charms are derived from their heft and imposing strength are at risk and in need of our protection. This may be a necessary measure, but as with having your parents declared unfit to manage their affairs, it comes with a sense of loss. There are, of course, more tangible losses. In February, after a prolonged debate, the building that was once Chicago’s Prentice Women’s Hospital was demolished to make way for…