Castles Made of Castles

Castles Made of Castles lets you easily create complex architecture

There’s a sort of serene pleasure that comes from uniform design schemes. Whether it’s a car with two identical sides, a train that could be perfectly split in half, or a skyscraper in an evenly cubical shape; orderly architecture gives off a sense of harmony and pleasure to the viewer. These endeavors are testaments to the power of organization and stability. But why should we be confined to simply enjoying these designs as onlookers? Why not create our own? Nico Disseldorp’s online project Castles Made of Castles is a love letter to orderly architecture. Described as a “geometry toy,” Disseldorp’s…


A game about pretending to play chess is all about performance

It really is as if you were playing chess, except Pippin Barr’s newest game It is as if you were playing chess doesn’t include a chess board. There are no pawns, Kings, or Queens. No pieces at all, really—just instructions. Move this dot here. Look here. Now here. Tilt your head and cringe. Move again. It is as if you were playing chess makes a game of pretending to play a game. “To the observer, it should look as though the player is genuinely playing some kind of game,” Pippin Barr writes. “In this case, the idea is for them to…

The Only Shadow That The Desert Knows

Work this new roguelike out and you can be a time-travelling historian

After wandering around for a few years in the wilderness of The Only Shadow That The Desert Knows, I stumbled into a city. ASCII characters, caves, and poison toads led me to believe that the creator of the game, Jeremiah Reid, had made a fairly traditional roguelike for 7DRL 2016. But when I stepped into Hiast for the first time, I was handed a pile of books—biographies, histories, maps—and a list of lost works. My favorite part of Dwarf Fortress (2006) has always been generating a world to look through its histories, following heroes and their descendants through wars, or famines,…

Inflorescence City Volume 2

Let Inflorescence City Vol. 2 flower before your eyes

What is a city? It’s a question we rarely consider: that word, city, being such a useful label for the dense, multi-layered, contradictory, opaque, ever-changing, utopic, perverse, magical, and mundane piles of decaying masonry where most of the world’s population spend their lives. A city can be a landscape, or a home, but it can also be an instrument, played by a multitude, a fiction re-enacted daily by its population. Describing a city is a fool’s game, as you can see, with most descriptions simultaneously too big and too small to encompass the idea of a city. But perhaps that…


Which Passover Plague Are You? is a real question and a real game

Anyone who had the misfortune of going through bible school will know the story: the Jewish people spent generations in slavery, tortured at the hands of great Pharaohs, before God inflicted 10 plagues upon Egypt to free his ill-treated servants. What wasn’t covered in the Abrahamic texts, though, were questions like, what would be the soundtrack to your plague? Or, what’s your revenge color? What would you do with the power of a god? Designed by Veve Jaffa, Which Passover Plague Are You? tasks you with the seemingly simple decision of how you, a human representative hand-picked by the big guy himself, will…

Space Engine

Disappointed by No Man’s Sky? Here are 10 cheap alternates

Given the mixed reaction to No Man’s Sky—we love it, others not so much—plus the fact that you have to lay down $60 on it in one go (not to mention the troubles with the PC version), perhaps you’re hesitant to buy in. Or, perhaps you’ve played it and have been disappointed by it. That’s fine. But there’s still probably some part of you looking to salve that itch for free-willed space exploration, to lumber across alien landscapes and discover sights that, in all likeliness, no one else will ever see. Well, that itch doesn’t need to go without a…

Armchair Olympian

Try to outdo Olympian athletes from the comfort of your armchair

With the majority of the 2016 Rio Olympics now behind us, it’s easy to feel a little inadequate. Michael Phelps has now won more Olympic gold medals than anyone in 2,000 years; Simone Manuel made history on Thursday when she became the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming; and 19-year-old Simone Biles won three-for-three gold medals in the first week and won her fourth on Tuesday, making her the first U.S. gymnast to ever win four Olympic gold medals. As Olympians prove their supreme athletic prowess, you prove just how many hours you can sit…


Morrissey and PETA made a game, and yep, it’s terrible

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Morrissey has yet again teamed up with PETA, this time to create a game illustrating the atrocities of factory farming. Created by independent studio This Is Pop, This Beautiful Creature Must Die is a highly-stylized 8-bit clicker that, at first glance, is all too reminiscent of Flappy Bird (2014). The original woke heartthrob, Morrissey has been unabashedly pushing his animal rights agenda since 1985’s Meat is Murder. The singer and PETA are a natural pair, both sharing a penchant for the criminally vulgar, and the desire to liberate animals by any means necessary.…


Spaceplan gives you a delicate view of the universe

Jake Hollands’s Spaceplan starts with a blank screen, the controls of your space ship are damaged, and the only way to start it up is to click on the Kinetigen on the top left of your screen. I click, and every click gives me a single watt of power. Solar panels, I’m then informed, will cost 10 watts. Uh oh. It appears I’ve found myself a clicker. This is a disaster. Clicker games have been my kryptonite since I left my computer powered up for six weeks in university to corner the cookie market in Cookie Clicker (2013), and when I did the same…