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News

Alien abduction game To Azimuth returns with an eerie new trailer

To Azimuth, an upcoming adventure game that failed to secure Kickstarter funding during a campaign in 2014, is back with a new announcement trailer. Described as a “Lynchian alien abduction investigation,” the game tells a story about alien abductions and, more importantly, the people who experience them. Like Lynch’s Twin Peaks, To Azimuth is built around a small town and a central mystery: What has happened to Eli Windham? As a Vietnam veteran and recovering addict, when Eli disappears from his town of Musgrove, Alabama, police assume he’s fallen off the wagon and nobody goes looking for him. Hence, the…

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Feature

Why videogames love Alice in Wonderland

The bed is on the ceiling. The faucet is dripping up. A fish floats above you, bleating sonorous pun-filled pronouncements: “The sweet scent of bile hangs like a condemned man.” In the center of the room is a tiny door; on the table, a potion. “I’m constantly observing my declining behavior as if through a looking glass,” the protagonist mutters to himself. I think you might know what happens next. Why do videogames love Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)? Again and again they return to it as a reference point, regardless of genre, regardless of style. What I just described…

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Between Me and the Night promises magical realism with spooky undertones

When you’re a kid, monsters aren’t just something you entertain as a distant possibility—there are times when you’re, like, 90 percent sure they’re actually there. I can remember several nights lying awake in bed in my childhood home, unable to close my eyes because of my deep conviction that something on the other side of those slatted closet doors had it in for me. The “something” changed over the years (it was Chucky from Child’s Play until I saw The Exorcist for the first time), but my sense that it was more than possible that those fictional characters had tracked…

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News

Fire Dance With Me turns Twin Peaks into an everlasting jive

Of the many peculiar clues that the dwarf in the Black Lodge gives Agent Cooper throughout Twin Peaks, dancing is one of them. Not just any dance, an awkward 1940s-style jazz step with a machine-like sway and disjointed rhythm, all of it operating from the elbows and shoulders as if his arms had minds of their own. Due to being given this clue at the beginning of the series, every time someone started dancing in the show, we sucked in air and wondered if that scene would tell us something more about the murder of Laura Palmer. This is what…

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News

This David Lynch supercut is standing behind you right now, smiling

I get why someone might not love Eraserhead: it is largely without dialogue or plot and it costars an embalmed cow fetus. I can even concede that Eraserhead may not be David Lynch’s “best” movie, as his thematic and formal skillset came into greater focus in the following decade, and he somehow looped back and got more experimental around the turn of the millennium. But Eraserhead is one of those out-of-the-gates works—like, I dunno, Dubliners, or Illmatic—that perfectly crystallizes everything an artist would go on to do. In Lynch’s case it was this: the direct fusion of ambient sound design with horror filmmaking. …

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News

The terror of surrealist films stripped down to a traumatizing bone

Frank wakes up covered in blood and I may never sleep again. Game developer Daniil Ermakov, also known as Da Neel, combines the horrors of cult surrealist directors David Lynch and Alejandro Jodorowsky and produces a mish-mash of terror and humor in the face of human trauma. A Box Full of Joy is a surreal adventure story where you play as Frank and, through the poetic justice of the story and plot, you learn absolutely nothing. It perfectly emulates works like Jodorowsky’s fantasy The Holy Mountain and Lynch’s psychological thriller Lost Highway. While a lot of games evoke these director’s…