Tonight You Die
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20 free horror games you should play on Halloween

There is no short supply of free horror games. Hell, the rise of reaction videos in recent years has actually brought a surge of them. People have raced to to make a videogame that’ll scare the pants off their favorite YouTubers so they can watch. But that’s also a problem: a lot of these small, free horror games go for the cheapest thrill to achieve their goal. Yes, the jump scare. It is with that in mind that the 20 free horror games below have been selected. We prefer creep outs, an intense sense of dread, the kind of horror that…

EXIT
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Game Boy-style visuals are too good at being creepy

The Game Boy is an icon of ’90s innocence. It’s a kid playing Tetris (1984) while sprawled across their bed. Or a bunch of kids trading Pokémon (1996) in the sun with a Game Link Cable. Nintendo’s original grey handheld is not typically a vessel for horror. But you try telling that to the people who participated in the fifth Game Boy Jam earlier this month. The challenge of the GBJam is to create a game with the small resolution and limited 4-color palette of the original Game Boy. That means there’s a bunch of green-and-black games ready for playing right now. Most are…

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Nicky Case’s newest game looks at how media shapes us

Two years ago, game designer Nicky Case was trying to process the events in Ferguson. Inspired by an image showing how camera framing can alter how a story is perceived, Case went about creating a game playing upon these notions. Though the initial post about the game went viral, Case admits they couldn’t find a way to extend the idea further and subsequently dropped it altogether. Then, the summer of 2016 happened. From the shootings in Orlando and Dallas to Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the summer was wrought with one tragedy after another. At around the same time, Case…

The Monster Inside Me
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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…

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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
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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…

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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
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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…

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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…