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Review

Homefront: The Revolution is everything wrong with America

By the most recent estimate of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), there are just under 300 non-governmental militias active in the United States. Though the specifics of their agendas vary, their shibboleth is what’s often labeled “insurrection theory,” the supposed right of the body politic to take up arms against tyranny, no matter its source. What constitutes tyranny is somewhat open to interpretation—one group, Posse Comitatus, rejects the validity of both fiat money and driver’s licenses, along with more familiar grievances about income tax and gun control—but, in every case, there is a common antagonist: an overbearing, conspiratorial government…

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[Sponsored] Man Beaten with Own Leg in Back Alley

Fear piques in post Panchaea era. The fear over the augmented community has boiled over into the streets, as evidenced by this video footage which shows an argument turning into a brutal fight. Unlike the Panchaea Aug Incident, the humans took this round, as a beast of a man ripped off an Augs leg and used it to beat him. “There is reason to be concerned,” says AugAware.org, the organization responsible for releasing the footage. The AugAware.org website seems to indicate that their anti-Aug awareness campaign is just beginning—check the site on May 26th to see what’s next.

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The irresistible appeal of roguelike storytelling

A 20-something girl stands in an elevator. There’s an eye patch on her face, a shotgun on her back, and a pistol in her right hand. The door opens, and she hits the ground running into a room full of drones. They hover over her, firing red lasers completely bent on killing her. After all, why wouldn’t they be? Molly Pop is the head of the Zero Sum Gang, and she’s on a mission to topple the Fero corporation by raiding their bunkers one-by-one. She wastes no time, shooting down the flying robots in seconds, then travelling down a hallway…

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Myst and the truth of objects

This article is part of our lead-up to Kill Screen Festival where Robyn and Rand Miller, creators of Myst, are keynote speakers. /// Your job in Myst (1993) is to assemble books. Set aside for a moment the impossible grandeur, hermetic mythos, and resonant cultural legacy of the game and this is what you’re left with—red page, blue page. Eventually there’s a white page. These pages are objects. Any decent open-world game of the last few years will allow you to cart around hundreds of pounds of literature without slowing your upswing, because in these games, the books aren’t objects.…

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Review

Shadwen is a stealth game trapped in adolescence

Playing a stealth game is like dancing. Or, more accurately, it’s like the evolution of how you approach dancing over the course of your life. Starting out, you’re a junior high pubescent: every move is a little awkward and the rules of appropriate conduct somehow seem both unclear and inviolate. You accidentally put your body in the wrong place and a whole goddamn army of humiliation descends upon you. Then the game progresses, and you’re in high school: you’re starting to get the hang of things, in terms of physically navigating the environment but also in appreciating that while there are…

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Why adults are drawn to teenage stories

As you walk into Gallery 625 of the European Paintings department in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you confront a rather puzzling work. Madonna and Child, by Italian painter Duccio di Buoninsegna, is much smaller than its neighbours, barely the size of a standard US letter. While its peers float in ethereal realms of shining gold, Duccio’s gilding lacks lustre, the tracery of cracks on its surface evincing the painting’s extreme age. Even the colors are not as bright. Mary’s dress, which dominates much of the scene, appears to be painted in somber azurite, rather than the brilliant ultramarine that…

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The future of archaeology starts with No Man’s Sky

This is a preview of an article you can read on our new website dedicated to virtual reality, Versions. /// Destructive treasure hunters like Nathan Drake and Lara Croft tumble through decadent crypts, dismantling rare artifacts in their wake. Their scrabbling work, however incidental, is the antithesis to the careful field of archaeology. Yet, in marketing materials they’re labeled both as explorers and, yes, archaeologists. It’s for reasons like this that I’ve found myself, as a student of archaeology, increasingly disillusioned with the way videogames treat artifacts and history. The problem is that these types of games tend to disregard…

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The inglorious nihilism of Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V (2013) is a confidence trick; Rockstar is a fraud. They tell people to distrust capitalism and suspect politics—the entire world, and all its peoples, are venal. In the same breath, they promise sanctuary. “Are you young? Are you angry? Are you an iconoclast, too? Then Rockstar and Grand Theft Auto are here for you,” they seem to say. But it’s a con. Rockstar embraces cynics and outsiders, but only so it may reach a hand into their pockets. Generally, Grand Theft Auto is nihilistic, in a manner betokening not worldliness but arrogance. The chief villain of…

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Why esports commentary is so difficult

The job of a sports commentator is to help viewers understand the “why” of what is happening on the field. The reasons behind that 40-yard catch-and-run, the set-up behind that buzzer-beating 3-pointer, the specific actions that led to that corner kick goal—all should be made clear from the insightful and revealing analysis of an experienced commentator. Since viewers generally understand the basic rules of the sport at hand, commentary for popular sports, at least in the USA, focuses on analytics, helping viewers understand the game as it’s being played at a deeper level. This might be achieved by sharing relevant…