Skyrim mod turns its highly-detailed fantasy world into a cartoon

Skyrim, the fifth installation of the long-running Elder Scrolls series, is known among other things for its intensive, high quality graphics and level of visual detail. Even then, it’s common for players on PC to install several graphical enhancement mods for even more realistic lighting, water, and textures. To run Skyrim on max settings is a badge of honor for those who spend a lot of money on their rigs. Less frequent, but still just as awesome, are mods like Toon Skyrim from UniqueUses, a “potato texture mod” that turns the game’s highly-detailed environments into cartoonish landscapes. According to the…


Return of the Obra Dinn update details the challenges of 1-bit rendering

Since announcing it a year ago, Lucas Pope has been hard at work on the flashback-driven mystery game Return of the Obra Dinn, his follow-up to Papers, Please. Last October, he released a rough build of Obra Dinn to play for free, showing off the primary dynamic of the game’s puzzle. You are an East India Company insurance adjuster armed with a magical pocket watch and a logbook. The watch allows to replay moments from the bloody story of a ghost ship as you investigate its crew’s disappearance and try to track the details. “Of the characters in the demo,…


Here are a couple of lovely, surreal GearVR games to float through

Balthazar Auxietre, creative director and CEO of Innerspace VR, has emphasized his focus on having a user be able to “feel the space” around them, a sense of spatial presence that he says is the “magic” of virtual reality. Two of Innerspace’s current projects, The Fifth Sleep and The Cave, were demoed alongside the Samsung GearVR at IFA Berlin in September, show the non-gaming possibilities for the unit. Auxietre wants to create this “magic” by making his virtual reality worlds feel like they have substance; that you can “feel” them and interact with them. The controls, or lack thereof, of both titles are similar:…


Mother of God, it’s every airship level from Mario 3 at once

If your childhood was like my childhood, every Bullet Bill and spinning cannon from Super Mario Bros. 3‘s airship boss levels have been permanently burned into your memory.  But that was then, and this is now. Because screen resolution has improved so drastically since the days of RF switches and rabbit ears, it’s now possible to display much more of old games’ levels on a single screen, as can be seen in these fascinating clips by YouTuber Atlas Videos.  Not only that, but levels can be layered together to create Mario airship hell, apparently. This bit of retro voodoo is pulled…


This voxel editor envisions an alternate history in which all games look like Minecraft

There was a very brief window of time, way back in the early 90s, when the future of 3D graphics was up for grabs and the voxel was a contender. Obviously, polygons blew them out of the water.  But CubeTeam—the multiplayer, browser-based voxel editor—lets you build and print via a 3D printer the cubist landscapes that might have existed if games were built of tiny cubes instead of tiny triangles.  Perhaps not surprisingly, they would probably look a lot like Minecraft, a game that doesn’t technically use voxels but achieves something similar visually. This gets very inside-baseball, but there are…