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The Nightmare Valley of The Source Engine

Upon walking into St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican with a close friend in January, our jaws simultaneously dropped. He had never seen anything like it before. As he gazed up at the infinitely mathematical marble and gold ceiling, he said, “I think this could be the only structure like this to exist outside of a dream.” But I had seen something like it before—in a videogame, and one that I remember today only through dreams. //// There are certain types of physical and geographical structures which, until just a few decades ago, could rarely be experienced within the realm of…

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The Meeting captures the surreal bliss of falling asleep at work

The Meeting by Matt Bethancourt is a simulation of the secret ritual of the office gathering. It plays almost uncannily similar to those HR-mandated “hang outs” that kick off your work week, where Cindy airs her unending grievances about the break room bandit and everyone votes on when to have the office Christmas party. Following a minimal title screen, The Meeting drops you right into a room where the din of ringing phones underscores the garbled speech of a Peanuts teacher, which presumably belongs to your boss.  give in, let go  But your true enemy in The Meeting is not…

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You’ll be able to enter the fevered mind of a game developer in One Dreamer

There is currently no shortage of games. Imagine a game, any game—a small game, a weird game, a psychedelic game, whatever—and there are probably twelve versions of it online. This is great. The more the merrier. But as one processes the daily deluge of wonderful little oddities, it’s hard not to wonder what on earth was going through developers’ minds as they made these games. One Dreamer, which is currently raising funds on Kickstarter, is a game that offers a glimpse into the fevered mind of a fictional game developer named Frank. Said developer divides his time between two levels…

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What is #DeepDream and why is everyone getting so weird with it?

To answer your question, Mr. Dick, yes, androids do dream of electric sheep. Or, at least, artificial intelligence does. And it’s less sheep and more like an insectoid nightmare of sheep as seen through a faint kaleidoscopic filter. We are fascinated and disturbed, Mr. Dick, but the future isn’t quite as horrendous as you might have thought it to be. Not yet. Look! Here’s another of these strange machine dreams, this time featuring US president Andrew Jackson’s portrait on the $20 bill morphed into an arachnid’s face. Another! This time of one of the most iconic images of 9/11, yet the…

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Re-enact Un Chien Andalou’s most notorious scene and feel weird about it afterwards

The Tender Cut is a game that asks a question that cannot be answered: “What the heck is going on in this guy’s head?” The guy has a name. It’s Luis Bunuel, one of the pioneers in surrealist cinema. His first film, 1929’s Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog), is infamous for its shocking opener of a woman getting her eye sliced in half with a razor blade. There’s an extreme close-up just when you think the camera is about to cut away, the vitreous humor oozing out from her expressionless face, and into your nightmares. It’s gross and unexpected.…