philosophy_illustration
Announcement

Why we’re relaunching our print magazine

Header image by Rune Fisker /// In less than two weeks, we are relaunching our print magazine with Issue 9. We’re incredibly excited to show you what we’ve been working on. For a limited time, use the discount code RELAUNCH to receive 10% off your purchase of Issue 9, or off a 4 issue subscription. When we founded Kill Screen only seven years ago, the “game world” was a surprisingly different place. Many of the presumed fault lines in games—between independent and mainstream, artful and commercial, local and global—were just starting to penetrate the public discourse. “Indie Games” had been around since the early…

This Is The Police
Review

This Is The Police won’t accept blame

Content Warning: discussion of rape, violence against women, police brutality, racism. This is the police. This is the police station. This is the police chief. The police chief is you. This is your desk. This is your scanner. It will be your Beatrice, a voice beckoning you to rise from the grime. It is the only voice in the world that begs to be silenced. But you relish it, this song from the streets. It reminds you that you still have a purpose, two-timing wife be damned; it reassures you that you are still the man they come to around…

Quadrilateral Cowboy
Review

Don’t let Quadrilateral Cowboy slip through your fingers

When Brendon Chung described Quadrilateral Cowboy to IGN in 2013, he framed it as a departure from his narrative-focused work in Thirty Flights of Loving (2012) and Gravity Bone (2008). “I wanted to go in a very different direction,” he said, “and let the player experiment in a sandbox and figure out their own solutions to problems.” This third game about the seedy underbelly of Nuevos Aires—the fictional city that many of Chung’s games are set in—is much longer and more complex than its predecessors, but shares many of the same ideas about how to string quotidian moments into a…

Brendon Chung
Feature

Brendon Chung and his love for big dumb plastic switches

This article is part of Issue 8.5, a digital zine available to Kill Screen’s print subscribers. Read more about it here and get a copy yourself by subscribing to our soon-to-be-relaunched print magazine. /// The midpoint of Daft Punk’s 2013 album Random Access Memories is marked by an effusive, sprawling ode to touch. An unidentified narrator walks the listener through memories and speculation on feeling as they try to recall what seems like fading indicators of what feeling ever was. On “Touch,” we get a sense that the narrator was once organic like us. But now, metallic and glistening under a…

Pokemon Go
Feature

The purpose of Pokémon Go

This is a preview of an article you can read on our new website dedicated to virtual reality, Versions. /// I remember the first time I saw Abney Park chapel. I was already in a state of wonder, having discovered that behind a busy high street, not 10 minutes from my flat, a vast forested cemetery lay silent—cut through with dappled paths, lined with ancient graves. But on top of that, to discover the chapel with its derelict spire, its empty rose window and sprigs of green that grew between bricks and tiles and stone, was to enter another world…

Kentucky Route Zero Act IV
Review

Kentucky Route Zero: Act IV is an elegy

Michael Snow’s 1967 experimental film Wavelength is a 45-minute long zoom on an empty room. Outside the walls, and the camera’s frame, the insignificant dramas of human life play out in sad, abortive spirals. Men move furniture into the room; two friends drink and listen to the Beatles; in the end, a man dies on the floor and a woman calmly informs the cops of his corpse. Snow is monomaniacally committed to his premise: Wavelength is a canonical example of experimental film precisely because of its push-pull between dry, structural formalism and gut-level intrigue. In a way it’s a murder…

shogo-mobile-armor-division
Feature

The videogame that helped popularize Japanese mecha in the west

In the early 2000s, the Japanese government started to evaluate the value of the country’s popular culture industry following international successes in anime/manga such as Pokémon and Dragonball, videogames like Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda and Super Mario series, and films including Spirited Away (2001) and Ringu (1998). Realizing that its cultural influence expanded despite the economic setbacks of the Lost Decade (from 1991 to 2000), Japan sought to promote the idea of ‘Cool Japan’, an expression of its emergent status as a cultural superpower. For the next dozen years, the Japanese government made use of its soft power and ‘Cool Japan’ strategy to boost cultural…

No Man's Sky
Feature

The apocalyptic fandom of No Man’s Sky

According to American evangelist Harold Camping, the Rapture was supposed to have occurred on May 21, 2011—the date was moved back five months to October when nothing happened. Apocalyptic preacher Ronald Weinland predicted that the world would end on September 30, 2008. This date was also revised to May 27, 2012, and then May 19, 2013. In a similar vein, No Man’s Sky was supposed to have been released on June 21, 2016—that particular rapture was pushed back to August 9. Though the fact of fandom is hardly unique to No Man’s Sky, the degree of devotion the game’s fans…

playing-sony-console-controller
Feature

How do you explain the phenomenon of watching videogames?

For all our think pieces about interactive media, social media, and virtual reality, we are all still very much living in a culture of spectation. Big budget movies, music videos, episodic television, and professional sports: these are still the main sites of cultural cohesion for most people in the United States and in large parts of the world. And, it could be argued, that post-digital social-cultural practices are just spectation on a higher level. Perhaps Facebook and Twitter are just spectator-ready versions of other people’s lives. And, it seems that gaming—that most elementally interactive of activities—is becoming more and more…