Memories of a failing relationship are made beautiful in Ephemera

Plenty of things in life have expiration dates: cartons of milk, your passport, antiperspirants. After a week in the fridge, you should really retire that open bottle of wine. Relationships, on the other hand, don’t usually come marked with an end date. You might see the end coming from a ways away, but the ‘when’ is, in most cases, unclear. Not so in Ephemera (French: Les éphémères), a new narrative experience currently in development by Interim Studio. Designed by Lazlo Bonin and animated by Jazz Eladas, Ephemera is a “notgame” in which you have one fleeting summer to spend with your love…

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New game collection celebrates the kindness we bring to each other

In a year such as this one, it can be easy to be weighed down with how incredibly hard the world sucks. With so many horrific acts of violence, and a vomit-inducing election cycle, it can be tempting at times to shut down. But there is still good in the world, and Pictochic’s collection, Lovin’ Buttons, reminds us of that. In three little games, Lovin’ Buttons communicates the beauty and kindness of the connections we make with each other, on our phones, over the internet, and in person. Sunday In The Park With Dogs Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like.…

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A man and his mecha fall in love in Titanfall 2

Though a thin game in terms of what it offered overall, Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall (2014) was a well-balanced, quick-paced multiplayer shooter in a time where run-of-the-mill Call of Dutys and Battlefields ruled, with not much else to spare. But one of the largest grievances from fans of Titanfall was not only the sparse diversity of its multiplayer modes—but its entire lack of having a single player campaign. In the newest footage of its follow-up Titanfall 2, revealed during EA’s press conference early Sunday afternoon, Respawn finally confirmed that very inclusion (even if the trailer did leak earlier than expected). In…

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The Lobster, a warped fairy tale about our dating obsession

To state a fact in ordinary language is to permit a doubt concerning the statement. – R.F. “Tody” Hamilton (press agent, Barnum & Bailey) There is a sequence towards the end of The Lobster in which two characters, initially drawn together by the same physical defect, are trying to find new shared ground. One of them has recently lost the condition that has made them seem compatible, and her partner attempts, through trial and error, to figure out what else they might have in common: Can she play the piano? Speak German? Does she like berries? As their incompatibilities accumulate,…

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Welcome to the adolescence of AI

Artificial intelligence does not have the cuddliest of reputations. It is either coming for your livelihood or, if movies are to be believed, your life. Google, however, has unearthed a new problem: Its AI is too friendly—much, much too friendly. In early November, the advertising (and search, and web) giant introduced “Smart Reply,” a feature in its Inbox app that could automatically reply to basic emails. “Machine learning is used to scan emails and understand if they need replying to or not, before creating three response options,” Wired’s James Temperton explained. He continued: “An email asking about vacation plans, for…


Make friends and hack reality when Else Heart.Break() drops on September 24th

Else Heart.Break() makes me want to smoke cigarettes. It’s not that I don’t value my health. It’s that being a smoker seems to be the easiest way to people’s hearts in the game. If you smoke, you can say “yes” when strangers ask if you have either a) a lighter, or b) a smoke. With that icebreaker a whole range of social possibilities open up. “So, what’s your story?” the person might ask as they take their first drag, thanking you between pursed lips. You’ve met someone because you both smoke and now you’re chatting. The alternative is remaining seated…


Tough Love Machine: a puzzle of 8-bit companionship

Like relationships themselves, representing the struggles of love in a digital format can be difficult. Andrew Morrish does just that in his newest game, Tough Love Machine.Tough Love Machine offers up a simple premise: unite two hearts. Like so many puzzle games before it, in execution this becomes a challenge as you move the hearts around obstacles using independently controlled left and right “hands,” never letting them fall offscreen to their demise. in the game, as in love, “There is no undo button.” The room is silent when you begin, all 8-bit neon on a solid black background. The intro…