DUSK
News

DUSK is the grubby circus act a ’90s-style shooter should be

DUSK is an intentional throwback. It’s a game that deliberately, lovingly evokes the running, gunning, and no-reload bullet-dispensing of ‘90s shooters like Quake (1996), Blood (1997), and DOOM (1993). As with most exercises in nostalgia, it’s also pretty off-putting at first. Why make another Quake when right this instant Quake is available to play, as good as it ever was? Why roll around in the past when the future is always so much more exciting? But give DUSK a chance and it makes an argument for itself. In the first moments of its preview version, a trio of burly, flannel-clad guys with burlap sacks over their heads and…

The Coup
Feature

In praise of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s most unusual level

On the Level is a series that closely analyzes individual videogame sections, examining how small moments in games can resonate throughout—and beyond—the games themselves. /// Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare‘s (2007) writers understand brevity. Each loading screen provides a satellite image of the upcoming mission, accompanied by a terse overview. “Good news first,” explains SAS operative Gaz, before the opening level. “We’ve got a civil war in Russia … 15,000 nukes at stake.” It’s graceful. Like a soldier, on standby for mission go, while the player waits for action, she sits through an intelligence briefing. It’s economical, too. If…

Prey
News

Don’t care about the new Prey? That’s a mistake

Everyone seems to be a bit confused. Prey, the non-numbered reboot of the single-game “series” Prey (2006), has nothing to do with its own franchise. “Prey is not a sequel, it’s not a remake, it has no tie with the original,” confirmed director Raphael Colantonio, a week or so ago, in a video called “What is Prey?”. The video itself even has a miasma of confusion around it, with most commenters trying to understand the non-existent connections that might be in place. “Prey is what predator eat,” offers HearMeSoar, an answer that seems at least more logical than publisher Bethesda’s retooling of…

VRshooters7
Feature

Rethinking the shooter for the VR age

This is a preview of an article you can read on our new website dedicated to virtual reality, Versions. /// Header illustration by Gareth Damian Martin Although videogames have been around since the early fifties, the first known electronic shooter actually appeared in 1936. The Seeburg Ray-o-Lite, best described as a sort of proto–Duck Hunt (1984), was a light-gun game utilizing a photosensitive vacuum tube and a moving target painted to look like a duck in flight. Whenever the player pulled the trigger, a beam of light would issue from the rifle controller; if she managed to hit the sensor…

DOOM
Review

DOOM is another act of rebellion

In the Abrahamic religions—and the texts that have grown out of them—Satan is a fallen angel, cast out of heaven for daring to rebel against God. Though his name is synonymous with fear and evil, it’s Satan’s tireless, implacable need to oppose everything God wills that truly characterizes him. He’s a catch-all for the misfortune of heroes and nations. He’s a scoundrel who’s always up to overturn the plans of the master of the universe.   Back in 1993, id Software’s DOOM was another act of rebellion. Created by a small team of industry upstarts, DOOM (like many contemporary metal…

superhot
Review

SUPERHOT turns the shooter into a power ballad

Nothing happens without the player’s say-so in SUPERHOT. Their avatar—represented only by a pair of black, jagged-polygonal hands and a gun—is in complete control of the world. Enemies depicted by shimmering red silhouettes run into gauzy, white-washed rooms, ready to fight. Their figures and the black of bullets and nearby weapons stick out like exclamation marks. But nothing moves. Despite the action of every level’s opening, the impending violence hangs suspended in the air until the player is ready for it to begin. The enemies form a tableau that moves as slowly as cold molasses, only speeding up when the…

Screen_Shot_2015-08-24_at_12.27.05_AM
News

Fear Chatroulette’s walking dead, but in a good way

On a daily basis, Chatroulette is home to far scarier interactions than Realm Pictures’ zombie-themed “Real Life First Person Shooter,” but few—if any—are as endearing. The setup is familiar: A player is dropped into a gameworld and explores it through their avatar’s point of view. This world, it turns out, is filled with zombies and the player must kill those from whom you cannot run away. Along the way they can pick up weapons that might be of use. Should their health meter hit zero, they die. Game over. It’s all quite typical, really. Or, rather, it would be quite…