The Monster Inside Me

Find out how terrible you are in The Monster Inside Me

Ana and Jakob are hunched over and bickering by the fire, as usual. You try and ignore them and throw some crumpled up newspaper into the pit. The fire laps up the paper, hungry for more. As you stare into the flames, their arguing becomes harder to to tune out. Everyone is tired and hungry and stressed. It was a miracle you found this place untouched and managed to keep it fortified to ward off the curious. Just as you were about to shout at your friends, a scream is heard from outside. The three of you freeze. “What was…


New game lets you throw paper planes to people around the world

Today, I sat alone in my house on my phone, catching, stamping, and releasing virtual paper airplanes with over 150,000 people from all over the world. I was alone, but I felt part of such a large, positive community. Created by Active Theory in celebration of Peace Day at Google’s I/O 2016 conference, Paper Planes is a mobile and desktop-based browser game that allows its users to catch and throw paper airplanes that have “traveled” all over the world. Once caught, you are invited to leave a stamp on the plane with your location and usually a cutesy cartoon character,…

Explojan Horse

Just what the Trojan War needed: a huge, explosive gun

The Trojan War is a comedy and a tragedy, a series of deaths that history will remember by its errors rather its feats. When they teach the Trojan War, they talk about a beautiful woman whose face was enough for an armada to be launched and a large wooden horse that defeated an impregnable city. When Atlanta-based game maker cottontrek talks about the Trojan War, they do so in a series of explosions. Explojan Horse is not a game of subtlety. Constructed over a weekend for the latest incarnation of the Ludum Dare game jam, Explojan Horse is a cross…


Oh look, had a baby with your biology textbook

Smash-hit mitochondria simulator (2015) and its recent knockoff took certain corners of the internet by storm a while back. If you’re confused to why this is, here’s a hint: they’re super addictive. They’re easy to grasp, have a manageable skill curve, and ring that bell in your brain that says “One more try!” It’s a simple but foolproof formula—the same reason you kept coming back to Facebook games in 2011, and the same reason you haven’t deleted Stack from your phone even though you swear you’ll never touch that thing again. You can’t stop swiping. It sure resembles old entomology illustrations But…


Help sad fruit people overcome loneliness in a new game

Have you ever bought a piece of food and for whatever reason left it out or forgot about it? After some time it begins to rot, dry out, or expire. Most of us would simply throw it away, but Agata Nawrot did something different: instead of tossing the spoiled food away, she was inspired to create Karambola—a strange and beautiful game about lonely fruit people. “I like strange concepts,” Nawrot told me. A village of emotional fruit people who are kidnapped by evil, magical birds certainly qualifies as a bit strange. The idea came from a single bulb of dry fennel that…

friary road

Conduct a starlit conversation in a new videogame vignette

New game Friary Road takes place after everyone else has left the barbecue, when the coals are still warm and the stars are getting bright and you’ve had just enough beer to start thinking about how far away they are. It was made (in a day, though the jam deadline was a week) for the recent Fermi Paradox Jam, which asked game makers to consider this contradiction: if aliens are out there, and statistics say they are, why haven’t they contacted us? Many of the games take you on adventures in spaceships and have you confront the aliens about their absence…

Videos, Please

Papers, Please parody takes aim at the downfall of video rental

The age of the video rental store is at a close. Blockbusters are the stuff of “remember when” photo essays and ghost towns; a blue and yellow sign of the times. Even independent stores that have long demanded patronage are closing their doors, murdered by Redbox and Netflix. It is in this climate that a team of game makers asks: “Have you ever wanted to play Papers, Please! without the papers and with 100% more video rentals?” should’ve chosen the Sandra Bullock comedy about pirates Videos, Please takes on several elements of the game that it is clearly referencing: you are…


A daddy-daughter stealth game about escaping a war-torn city

It goes without saying that sensationalized military conflict has long been a staple of the videogame landscape. From Contra (1987) to Halo 2 (2004), Modern Warfare (2007) to Bad Company (2008), the variety of titles that allow players to occupy the boots of a laconic lone shooter on foreign territory are innumerable. The number of games centered on the lives of bystanders caught in the crossfire? Not so many. Recent titles such as This War of Mine (2014) and Papers Please (2013) are a notable couple, panning the focus away from the bombs and bullets to ruminate on the human…

Grampy Katz in: The Big Date

A videogame tribute to 1930s cartoons you can play right now

Grandpa has a big date but his house is a mess. The bed is unmade. Dinner is uncooked. Junk mail is strewn about. With only a minute to spare, can he whip the house in shape before his date arrives?  Grampy Katz in: The Big Date is a short but adorable game made by Brent “Meowza” Kobayashi and Brandi “Kukubee” Kobayashi. The married duo created the game in under 72 hours as part of the recent Ludum Dare game jam. “I wanted to make a game about an old person for a little while now because there aren’t a lot of…