Explojan Horse
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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…

insatia
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Oh look, Slither.io had a baby with your biology textbook

Smash-hit mitochondria simulator Agar.io (2015) and its recent knockoff Slither.io 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…

Karambola
News

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
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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
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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…

Lily
News

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
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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…

Dress Code Human
News

Party on down with a skeleton dress-up game

Ever had one of those nights where—no matter what you do, how you accessorize, in sweats or dressed to the nines, after a good day or a bad one—you still feel like nothing but a skeleton with skin crudely stretched over your bones? To make matters worse, this is the sort of night you can’t avoid; giving up on your plans is unthinkable (it’s your final college hurrah, your friend’s engagement party, your own birthday), even as you struggle to make yourself feel and look like a real person. Those nights you are reduced to a shambling sham of a human being, unable to pass…

Doggo
News

We don’t deserve Doggo

There are many things that separate the common Canis Lupus from the beloved “doggo.” Since the rise of meme culture in the late ‘aughts, dogs have become their de-facto mascot: sniffing, fraternizing, and bumbling their way through life. Many will be familiar with the gargantuan Facebook communities “Dogspotting” and “Cool Dog Group” (the latter of which has less rules and regulations), which pride themselves on spotting the most eccentric and adorable canines all over the world. All in all, every dog is a doggo: it’s an endearing title that highlights their goofiness and pureness of heart. Humanity doesn’t deserve dogs.…