Videoball brings fair play back to the couch

I didn’t know what a metagame was until I got to college, but I didn’t really need to. Playing multiplayer games on the couch with my cousins, we’d concoct all sorts of techniques and strategies that weren’t explicitly outlined in the manuals. In Worms 2 (1997), we all fought against each other using only a couple of choice weapons, despite the game’s massive arsenal: the Holy Hand Grenade was devastating and hilarious, the Super Sheep offered range and control, and the Ninja Rope gave us all the mobility we wanted. This is probably not the competitive Worms 2 metagame (I’ve…


The new, silliest sport is Giraffe Volleyball

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. GIRAFFES VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP 2016 (Windows, Mac) BY SANDWICH PUISSANT The problem with many sports is that they’re taken too seriously. Competition is king in the land of sports. It drives violent rivalries, absurdly detailed post-match breakdowns, discussions of people as integers as if they were made in a factory to dispense sporting performance. For a long time this stern-faced attitude dominated sports videogames, but more recently, the genre has found its silly side. Giraffes Volleyball Championship 2016 is the latest sports game to…

titanfall 2

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…


Gunkatana introduces a lightning-fast bloodsport to cyberpunk

What should you do when mega-corporations control everything? If you look to movies, books and television for ideas, you should stand up and fight. Start a revolution or join an already existing one. But the citizens of upcoming top-down, multiplayer action game Gunkantana have lost hope. Instead of fighting back, they’ve set up death arenas in places like strip-clubs where they brutally kill each other for sport. It’s a cyberpunk future filled with bloody swords, laser guns, and rails on which to grind. “Two years ago, the Loading Bar, a videogame-infused pub, hosted the Multiclash event, dedicated exclusively to local…


Videogame takes competitive cooking shows to their wildest conclusion

The Chairman looks out over the assembled chefs in their whites and tall hats and announces that the secret ingredient is … meteors! Kitchen Stadium is now in space. It’s like the kind of dream you’d fall into after spending a late night huddled around a small TV in your bedroom watching Iron Chef. Except it’s multiplayer and coming soon to PC. Iron Chef, in its wildest imaginings, never actually put chefs on ice-floes and demanded that they appease an ungracious audience. But then, Iron Chef is not Overcooked—the new couch co-op game for 1-4 players from Ghost Town Games. While reality television will have them…

Tokyo 42

Tokyo 42 takes cyberpunk fiction to its prettiest city yet

Tokyo 42 is cyberpunk in all but look. Its future vision of Japan’s bustling capital city has none of the dead skies and drug-addled misery of William Gibson’s Chiba City, nor the clustered smokestacks and commercial traffic of Blade Runner‘s (1982) Los Angeles. Yet, it’s a game that has you running through the Tokyo population as an assassin—in both single player and multiplayer modes—popping off targets with grenades and sniper rifles, able to change your skin (presumably a cyborg ability) to blend back in with the crowds. The brief description of the game’s story also tells us that you’ll “uncover a dark…


Chambara aims to capture the tension of samurai films

Esteban Fajardo and his team have been devouring samurai films while crafting their competitive action game Chambara. They were particularly drawn to the work of Akira Kurosawa, the renowned Japanese director known for films such as Seven Samurai (1954), Yojimbo (1961), and Rashomon (1950). This last of those films has come to inform Chambara‘s visual style, if not its tone, the most. “These strange impulses of the human heart would be expressed through the use of an elaborately fashioned play of light and shadow,” Kurosawa wrote on Rashomon. The title of Chambara refers to Kurosawa’s own film genre, the samurai film, but it’s…


Design ridiculous death traps so that your friends cuss you

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Ultimate Chicken Horse (PC, Mac) CLEVER ENDEAVOR Beneath the friendly veneer of party games like Mario Party and Mario Kart lies the murderous need to beat your friends at all costs. Sure, it’s all fun and games—until someone throws a red shell only to pull up ahead of you during the final lap. In that moment, winning becomes secondary. Nothing matters more than destroying your friend/betrayer. Ultimate Chicken Horse drops all pretenses by inviting you to participate in the game equivalent of cutting off your own nose to spite your face.…

The Division

People are forming orderly queues in The Division, a game about chaos

Military-minded author Tom Clancy has his work adapted into games all the time; his blend of nitty-gritty technical detail and completely absurd US-against-the-world plotlines is perfect for shooters of all kinds. However, despite his dedication to apocalyptic terror scenarios, one thing Clancy never anticipated was … the queues. Luckily, Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s The Division was released yesterday, and it has all the white-knuckle waiting action you can stand. Taking place in a disease-ravaged NYC with absolutely zero parallels to 9/11, The Division taps into the same “but what if society fell APART, man?” paranoia of AMC’s The Walking Dead. It’s a license to be the all-American badass who lays…