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Iconic movie moments turned into gorgeous low-poly scenes

Brazilian artist Bruno Alberto is a man on a mission: take every movie you loved from your childhood, pick a scene from it, and turn it into a gorgeous low-poly animated diorama. So far, Alberto has only shared four on his LowPolyScenes Facebook page, but boy, they are a good four. Let’s start with his rendering of Free Willy (1994), which obviously depicts the scene where a henchman eats popcorn evil-y… OK, I may be lying. What other scene would you pick from this movie aside from the one where Willy, as promised, finally goes free? It’s a bit sped up, but everything…

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Today in GIFs: Get a look at Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor’s strange world

It’s been too long since we last checked in on Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor, the game about exploring a grand sci-fi universe through the viewpoint of a lowly municipal worker rather than a more standard space marine hero figure. Since my original post covering the game, the team has been hard at work bringing the backwater trash-planet it takes place on to life, and recently, that work has paid off as a series of new GIFs and screenshots posted to the game’s official Tumblr. Since they give me an excuse to write about this adorable blue collar spin on…

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Absolver is the low-poly, God Hand-inspired brawler of your dreams

It’s tempting to describe Absolver with an endless stream of references to other games—big ones, the type for which you see cardboard cutouts at GameStop. It’s an online multiplayer game riffing on the model of Destiny (2014) or Dark Souls (2011)—not, they clarify, an MMO—with players both friendly and unfriendly roaming a semi-open world. The elegantly low-poly world has the feel of a somber The Witness, and its tight, frame-specific combat recalls the brawlers of Platinum Games.  But that laundry list sells it short. Tucked back in an Airstream trailer, far enough from the Los Angeles Convention Center to allow me to…

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Live the life of a lonely introvert in a hikikimori simulator

The blinds are drawn. A tiny sliver of light manages to brighten up the room, casting a jagged shadow against the wall that trickles down the length of your bed. A brightly colored poster and several polaroids decorate the walls. A casual guitar riff plays softly in the background, accompanied by the sound of the outside world—traffic and pedestrians. This is the beginning of Hikikimori Simulator (alternatively named Solitude), a “five minute experience” by Alexandre Ignatov. “Hikikimori” is a Japanese term that refers to (usually male) reclusive adults/adolescents who pull away from social interactions. You play as a man who…

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Aer’s beautiful skyworld gets even more inviting in its latest trailer

Last time we saw cubist flying game Aer, its bird girl protagonist Auk was left quivering, alone and scared, in a distant ruin. She had just been threatened by a large monster, one she had met before, only soon afterward finding herself surrounded by ominous blue spirits as an ethereal crescendo swelled up around her. As the game’s newest trailer resumes her journey, however, this unsettling tone is set aside, instead introducing us to the friendlier side of the game’s world. When the trailer opens, we briefly find Auk in what appears to be the same temple as last time, praying to a…

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Consume Me to be a cute, harrowing game about extreme dieting

Overzealous dieting is a rite of passage for people of all ages and genders. You stare in the mirror and wish you didn’t have that extra flab of fat. Later turning to the realms of Internet-aided food over-management and hellish exercise routines to (hopefully) fix yourself up and return to the slenderness of your metabolism-enabled childhood. Diet balancing can either be a positive force of getting your health back on track, or, in most cases, an obsessive, terrifying one that risks becoming an eating disorder. Striking a balance between eating healthy and being happy with your body is extremely difficult,…

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The Ballet game Bound is already sashaying into our hearts

There is a certain ballet to game design. Perhaps not in the visual sense, but in the dedication—the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to pull off even a simple movement. Like a game designer, a ballerina must work night and day, while knowing every aspect of what goes into the beauty of her art, both inside and out. From the high level concepts to the granular, from the emotion of the piece to the soles of the shoes that help her execute it. A ballerina must make a world erupt from the rigid structure of her body, creating by pushing the natural limitations of her canvas. Just…

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New exhibit hints at a future for low-poly art outside of games

The unfortunate thing about low-poly art, the aesthetic of simple shapes and abstract images seen in games like Final Fantasy VII, is that it never got much of a chance to take off as a legitimate art style all its own. In a medium where big companies are constantly competing over realistic graphics, low-poly art has been quickly phased out for more and more detailed visuals as technology has become increasingly powerful. And while the similarly retro-born pixel art has had a resurgence with the rise of independent game development, low poly-art has yet to see the same sort of…

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The surreal, vaporwave harmony of Executive Towers

Can an album also be a videogame? Last year, chiptune artist George & Jonathan did it, with an interactive experience for their synth-pumping, hyper-colorful third album III. So did pop producer bo en, curating his own interactive accompaniment to his debut pale machine with a host of mini-games based on songs from the record, which notably included a collaboration with Arcane Kids’s Ben Esposito. Vancouver-based musician Jade Statues’ new album, Executive Towers, follows this videogame-album trend, the game itself programmed by first-time developer daffodil. Jade Statues dreamed up the concept for the dual videogame-album approach to his official Dream Catalogue…