Mosh pit simulator for VR goes wrong, turns into nightmarish comedy

Having recently earned front page status on Reddit, I Have No Idea What I’m Doing: The Game is a virtual reality mosh pit simulator gone wrong, or so its creator Sos Sosowski claims. In it, hordes of creepy, slightly gelatinous men with no respect for personal space try to swarm you, leaving you awkwardly flailing your arms at them as you try to push them away. So, another day on Tinder, then? I wanted to make a mosh pit simulator but it turned out really creepy! — Sos Sosowski (@Sosowski) April 13, 2016 As you can probably see from watching the gifs,…


Game turns you into a 1920s phone operator, complete with vintage switchboard

It must be difficult for a game made on 89-year-old hardware to stand out anywhere, let alone at a conference brimming with excitement over upcoming virtual reality headsets like PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive—it wouldn’t help that this game assigns the player with a menial day job that’s now handled by computers, either. But when Kill Screen’s Jess Joho visited the alternate controller exhibition at this year’s GDC, she found herself most interested not in Sony and Valve’s latest technology, but rather Hello Operator, a game played with an actual telephone switchboard that first saw use in 1927. Hello Operator has…


The peculiar future of videogame history

The history of videogames maps directly onto the history of computation. At least, that’s how speakers cast it at GDC this year. Chelsea Howe, Chris Crawford, Dave Jones, Graeme Devine, Ken Lobb, Lori Cole, Luke Muscat, Palmer Luckey, Phil Harrison, Raph Koster, Seth Killian, and Tim Schafer (phew) each talked about one aspect of videogame history in which they were personally involved. The keynote was both an homage to GDC, the event, and to GDC’s prime mover, that repugnant, beautiful monstrosity known as ‘the videogame industry’. At the 30th iteration of an event that has become one focal point for…


Planet Licker, a game that you play with your tongue

By far the most innocent game with the smuttiest implications at GDC this year was the alternative controller entry entitled Planet Licker. In the game’s fiction, you are a monster who eats planets made of popsicles. As the player IRL, you are also a popsicle-licking monster of sorts, only instead of planets your tongue is manhandling an edible controller. Planet Licker not only puts your tongue to the test; it’s also a race against time. You have to schlurp up six planets before the clock runs out. As part of the annual ALT.CTRL.GDC showcase, Planet Licker was an unusual experiment for creator Frank…


Rhythm hell game Thumper aspires to be a VR fever dream

The term “rhythm game” might call to mind images of a virtual band either slaying or bombing in front of a crowd. Usually, you’re cast as a musician strumming a fake guitar or a fake drum kit to the demands of a note highway, songs turned into timely button presses. Thumper throws all that shit out the window. You play as a beetle who lives, breathes, and literally is metal. You are tasked with making the right moves as you try to survive the endless road to hell stretched out before you.”When you think of Rock Band or Guitar Hero, they’re trying to recreate this euphoria…

Chicago to San Francisco train

Hacking Game Boys and sharing whiskey on the game jam journey across America

There’s something intoxicating about long-distance train journeys. I think it has to do with the fact that, these days, it’s non-standard. It feels detached from the cattle-like experience of air travel: passengers enjoy a luxurious amount of legroom, there are private rooms with bunk beds, closing doors, some coaches even have exclusive toilets and showers. But it’s impossible to deny that it’s also an aging mode of travel. Trains are no longer the fastest way to traverse great distances, and can seem wasteful or frivolous when compared to the speed of flight. Fewer people every year choose to take the…


80 Days writer thinks you should stop playing the hero

“Protagonists have had their way for too long,” declared Meg Jayanth, the writer behind 2014’s 80 Days and a contributor to last year’s Sunless Sea. At her GDC talk on Monday, Jayanth took the stage to instruct a room full of game designers to transgress one of the most fundamental conceits of their craft: “Forget your protagonist,” or, in other words, forget the player. Almost since their inception, videogame worlds have bended backwards to the whim and ego of the player-protagonist, leading to conventions like leveling up and the Badass Anti-Hero With A Gun cliche. Of course, arguments against the classic power fantasy narrative aren’t new, either. You don’t even have to…