SUPERHOT screenshot2

SUPERHOT and the unique temporality of videogames

When the Wachowskis transported bullet-time over from Hong Kong cinema to The Matrix (1999), mainstream western audiences were wowed. This was the beginning of something new for action cinema, the ability for the camera to pivot around action, playing a moment from a multiplicity of angles that stunned and awed in equal measure. The camera was unhinged from static points, instead echoing the orbital movement of a clock or pendulum. In the years following, slow-mo sequences in games misguidedly attempted to convert what was so fascinating about that spectacle into something the player could experience. Instead, it only introduced the…


The only opinion of The Witness I care about is Soulja Boy’s

I love Soulja Boy almost as much as Soulja Boy loves videogames. He was supposed to disappear after 2007’s “Crank That”—a misogynist dance anthem that was embraced, largely, sarcastically—but instead he hit the gas, beefing like crazy, flirting with major-label pop, and then dissolving in a haze of weird, fractured mixtapes. Early on, he co-opted the image of Sonic the Hedgehog, and in some ways that remains the defining image of the emcee, spinning wheels and flying off to god-knows-where. He could release something like the lacerating, subversive “Turn My Swag On,” on which he defied all reason by electing…


Jonathan Blow’s Laboratory

A series of opaque circles flicker around a crudely rendered pool table like digital fireflies. As you choose your shot, a program simulates the aftermath, allowing brief insights into the future before you’ve even decided what to do. The game is Oracle Billiards, named after, and partly inspired by, a character from the Matrix. It’s a straightforward experiment based on a simple concept: how does seeing into a game’s future change how you play it? Exploring the contours of that question proved difficult, however, and so the prototype was scrapped. Its creator, Jonathan Blow, had decided that the “billiard-balls-physics phenomenon…

tick tock isle

Go back in time to save time in the adorable Tick Tock Isle

Described as a spiritual successor to the delightful Cat Poke, Tick Tock Isle is a point and click adventure game that doesn’t want to reinvent the wheel—and it’ll charm the pants out of anyone who thinks that wheel is outdated or boring. The demo was originally released four years ago by the duo of Jason Boyer and Ryan Pietz. “We spent an entire summer designing our biggest game yet,” Boyer writes on his blog. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have anyone to program it beyond a demo, so it lingered in our unfulfilled dreams folder.” Finally in April 2015, they decided to “make our dream a reality and…


After six years of teasing, The Witness will finally come out on January 26th

Even the release date for The Witness is puzzling at first. It pops up at the end of the announcement trailer like this: “0126 • 2016.” It took a good 10 seconds for my brain to realize it said January 26th 2016.  We have another four months to wait for it. We’ve already waited six years since Jonathan Blow announced it way back in August 2009. That was a year after Braid blew up and sent his name soaring. We’re halfway through the next decade now. What does he and his small team have awaiting us? there’s much more to The…