Tokyo 42
News

At last, another excuse to stare at the beautiful metropolis of Tokyo 42

Apparently it’s not enough to simply sit and stare at the neat blocks of color that make up the future metropolis of Tokyo 42 (as I spent most of my time doing when I last wrote about it). We need to pay attention to what you can do in these elevated city islands too. That’s the focus of the latest video released by publisher Mode 7, who says “the game has attracted a bit of a following due to its art style, but now we really want to delve into the gameplay and show people that it plays as nicely as…

Dark Train
News

Dark Train is a mystery made of paper worth unfolding

Paperash Studio has done everything creative you can do with paper, except put words on it. The studio’s textless adventure, Dark Train, is made entirely out of papercraft and code—a carefully folded world of bats and belfries, soccer fields and sleazy hotels. Its title flirts with the idea of being a long-lost piece of ’90s cinema directed by Alex Proyas (responsible for The Crow and Dark City), and to be fair, that’s not a bad analogy. While the camera sticks like cement to the titular train, it is but a vessel for your viewpoint as it moves through the city; a…

dlfjsdf
Feature

Virtual war zones and the failure of the military shooter

In October 2008, chaos gripped Mumbai for four days as a series of coordinated bombings and shootings killed 164 people and injured hundreds more. All 10 attackers were highly trained and linked to a command center in Pakistan via VOIP technology. The command center, using TV and social media feeds as intelligence sources, gave the attackers a sixth sense in predicting security force’s movements and reactions. It was a grim portent of where we find ourselves in 2016—a place where the deliberate disruption and destruction of public spaces and networks is the latest tactic in modern warfare, a place videogames…

Inflorescence City Volume 2
News

Let Inflorescence City Vol. 2 flower before your eyes

What is a city? It’s a question we rarely consider: that word, city, being such a useful label for the dense, multi-layered, contradictory, opaque, ever-changing, utopic, perverse, magical, and mundane piles of decaying masonry where most of the world’s population spend their lives. A city can be a landscape, or a home, but it can also be an instrument, played by a multitude, a fiction re-enacted daily by its population. Describing a city is a fool’s game, as you can see, with most descriptions simultaneously too big and too small to encompass the idea of a city. But perhaps that…

Solace State
News

Look out for Solace State, a game about ideological division in a daunting sci-fi city

The world of Solace State opens up before me, its buildings cross-cut and becoming transparent as Chloe, a “woman of many [identities] who gets caught up in a journey of dissent, deception and redemption” navigates a foreign, 21st century cosmopolitan city-state. “An isometric camera cuts in, and you’re hacking into the building,” says Tanya Kan, the lead designer and founder of Vivid Foundry as she demonstrates Solace State for me. “It’s a way of depicting open-societies, or of trying to reveal more of the world.” As 2D art is overlaid on 3D environments, I’m reminded of origami: detailed, delicate, intricate. Compartmentalized facets combining…

Tokyo 42
News

Tokyo 42 takes cyberpunk fiction to its prettiest city yet

Tokyo 42 is cyberpunk in all but look. Its future vision of Japan’s bustling capital city has none of the dead skies and drug-addled misery of William Gibson’s Chiba City, nor the clustered smokestacks and commercial traffic of Blade Runner‘s (1982) Los Angeles. Yet, it’s a game that has you running through the Tokyo population as an assassin—in both single player and multiplayer modes—popping off targets with grenades and sniper rifles, able to change your skin (presumably a cyborg ability) to blend back in with the crowds. The brief description of the game’s story also tells us that you’ll “uncover a dark…

NORTH
News

Experience the difficulty of seeking asylum in a beguiling virtual city

That NORTH is about the current climate surrounding mass immigration is about as obvious as a sledgehammer to the face. It’s coated in 80s synth-pop sci-fi as if to cover it up but there’s no denying it. You are a person in an overwhelmingly foreign city. You must learn the customs of this new culture. You have traveled from the south, escaping its lakes of fires, crossing a harsh desert, and arrived here where you hope it’ll be safe. Subtle this game’s allegory is not. Mind you, the creators at Outlands (who also made the politically-charged Dämmerung) aren’t necessarily trying to…

unwillingcity
News

The charming gloom of A Place for the Unwilling takes to Kickstarter

In the Republic, Plato’s characters try to uncover the nature of justice by looking for it not in human beings but in the communities they build together. Since the city is bigger than the individual, Socrates suggests that it might contain justice in larger quantities, making it easier to discover if they search for it there instead. A Place for the Unwilling takes this project and gives it a Lovecraftian twist. As we reported last December, the designers at AlPixel Games wanted to create a city that might live and die just like the people inside it; a cyclical symbiosis…

thedivisionpresslede
Feature

The Division doesn’t want you to think about 9/11

When I entered Ubisoft’s The Division press event on February 2nd in New York, I was greeted by a display of an NYPD patrol car that had crashed into a lightpost, with smoke bellowing from its engine and its lights still flashing. Machines in the rafters vigorously blanketed the room in snow. Caution tape separated visitors from the staff-only areas. A street marker for Madison Avenue with a “Closed” sign attached to it overlooked the game’s demo stations. A Do Not Enter sign sat in the distance. I had entered a New York that felt like it had been thrown into…