Nothing like a 2-bit beach, 8-bit sounds, and real sand to get in your shoes

I’m not a beach person. I don’t like when sand gets in my shoes. And I don’t like wearing sandals to avoid that very problem either. I live in San Francisco, where the beaches are notoriously windy and cold, not sun-kissed and surf-ready. When I think of beaches, I often wish I were thinking of something else. But Virtua Walker ‘87, a virtual reality game borne from last weekend’s Global Game Jam, imagines a different kind of beach—one that I might even fancy walking along. The 2-bit color limited Virtua Walker ‘87 was developed by the Scotland-based Robin Sloan, Paul…


How virtual reality reinvents party games

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Though virtual reality can be an immersive, solitary experience, multiplayer games are bringing people together for a new kind of group fun. With all the enthusiasm and excitement surrounding virtual reality (VR) games this year, it makes sense to expect some partying. After all, huddling around the TV with a group of friends to play Mario Party—or transforming the living room into a makeshift concert hall with Rock Band—remain marquee gaming moments for gamer groups. Yet these types of party games seem to fly in the face of the head-mounted displays…


The Breakfast Club adds absolute silliness to your morning routine

Making breakfast is easy. If I can regularly manage to pour myself a bowl of cereal in a half-asleep stupor after I wake up then it’s a testament to just how little brain power breakfast usually requires. However, breakfast isn’t quite as easy as it seems in The Breakfast Club, a product of the 2016 Global Game Jam. In it, you and three friends must work together to make breakfast. Sound simple enough? Well it’s not. With Surgeon Simulator-esque controls and the chaos of four-player co-operation, maneuvering breakfast items from plate to toaster and back again has never been more…


We’ll Meet Again takes collaborative gaming offline

The Ear Force PX51 is a lot of headset—$296.95 worth of headset, to be precise. It is billed as an “advanced gaming audio system.” It comes with many features that are prefixed with “dual-”, which makes sense insofar as most people have two ears. All of that is a complicated way of saying the PX51 allows you to hear what is happening in a game and communicate with others, all for the princely sum of $296.95. That’s nice, I guess, but what if you wanted to play a game and talk to someone else with slightly less technological intermediation? We’ll…


Hitchhike across a small-town conspiracy in The Long Way

Last year, games such as Glitchhikers and Three Fourths Home addressed us from behind somber masks as we drove down their lonesome roads. The former took us on a spiritual journey to have us question the direction our lives were headed. While the latter acted as more of a reminder to continue to treasure those we hold dear with its cruel, twist ending. Now, The Long Way, which also uses the format of the road to talk to us, sheathes a mystery amid its lurid horizons.  Out of those two previous thematic cousins, The Long Way‘s fiction starts out closest to Glitchhikers—it has that same…


Höme Improvisåtion: if IKEA made videogames

No no, it’s not official, but it does look like a group of game designers may have managed to capture the infernally infuriating experience of putting together IKEA flatpack furniture in virtual reality. Höme Improvisåtion as the game is called (complete with appropriate Scandinavian accents) is apparently one creation to come out of last week’s Global Game Jam, a 48-hour event challenging developers to create the best games in a presumably messy weekend of pizza and coding. Declaring itself “the world’s most fun and accurate cooperative furniture assembly experience”, the below video gives an amusing introduction to the objective and gameplay. Apparently, the game…


Tokyo 1923 conveys one of Japan’s worst natural disasters

In reading Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa’s memories of the Great Kant? earthquake of 1923, there appear two images more striking than the rest. The first one is the bloated corpses that lapped up against the bank of Sumidagawa River: a dirty red assemblage of death that made Kurosawa’s knees weak, and that he tried to shutter his eyes to but was forced to stare at by his brother. “I remember thinking that the lake of blood they say exists in Buddhist hell couldn’t possibly be as bad as this,” Kurosawa wrote.  The other image is much less gruesome but equally…