Thumper is here for a beatdown

I’ve only been to one Lightning Bolt concert in my life, but it left a serious impression on me. The band—comprised of duo Brian Gibson on bass and Brian Chippendale on drums and vocals—set up their gear on the floor in front of the stage with a stacked wall of amps behind them. The music is loud and fast, a flurry of noise-metal bass churn, blistering drum rhythms, and distorted, indecipherable shouts. The crowd was a compact mass of bodies, not so much a mosh pit as a sweaty blob fighting against the shape of its container. There was no…


Surprise! Thumper is out now and it’s fast as hell

Originally scheduled to release on October 13, it appears the team at Drool decided to say, “To Hell with schedules,” and release Thumper a few days early for PlayStation VR, PlayStation 4, and Steam. For the uninitiated, Thumper is an insane “rhythm violence” game that puts players in control of a chrome beetle, firing down its track at breakneck speeds, all the while fighting metal leviathans blocking its way. It’s bright, intense, and kind of hard to stare at, looking less like a game and more like a Hajime Sorayama painting from a neon Hell. “can’t even describe it to someone else” When…

Atrocity Exhibition

Danny Brown will die for this shit

“On death row, feel like I am…” For Danny Brown, all is lost. Atrocity Exhibition is the most heartbreaking record in a minute. It begins, quite literally and awash in scuzz, with the “Downward Spiral,” an ongoing theme in Danny’s work since 2011’s seminal XXX. Herein: Danny, on a coke binge, contracting STDs, allowing his own exploitation, in a clown car, a circus show, the atrocity exhibition; this idea that Ballard and then Curtis put forth years ago, and Brown somehow has the intuition to put back in the forefront of our minds at this present time. The freak show that…


Musikinésia, a game that teaches you music theory

Musikinésia is a game about mastering the telekinetic powers of a dusty piano by learning how to play a real one. Not long ago, Rock Band 3 (2010) had a plastic keyboard that let players get the hang of rhythms on the piano, and Synthesia (2013) got a little closer to actually being a pack of lessons by using the whole range of a MIDI keyboard as a controller. None of them, though, teach players about music theory as Musikinésia attempts to. “I think that, first of all, [these games] pique the person’s interest for music,” said Rogério Bordini, game…


Direct your own music video in the infinite landscape of Streamer

The easiest way to describe Streamer is to say it’s a sublime trip through an infinite lake, where a floating avatar traverses endlessly through a colorful landscape. But, it’s a little deeper than that. A collaboration between electronic artist and co-founder of Driftless Recordings Joel Ford (or Airbird) and Ryan Sciaino (also known as Ghostdad), Streamer is an interactive music video for the song of the same name that puts players in the director’s seat. Players are invited to send the floating avatar down the endless lake at their own pace, controlling its direction, the placement of the camera, and whether…


The unexpected forefather of music games

The Commodore 64 game Moondust (1983) is best remembered as a software programming experiment that helped launch the career of its creator, Jaron Lanier—an eccentric polymath who many now consider one of the earliest and foremost pioneers of virtual reality. But it might be better acknowledged as the progenitor of the modern music game. Lanier used the capital he generated with Moondust to found VPL Research, a company that conducted some of the first virtual reality machine-building efforts in the mid-1980s. Since then, his rigorously exploratory ethos has informed his wide-ranging body of work, which has included enterprises as diverse…


Simplify This Horse isn’t what you might expect

Simplify This Horse is, on the surface, a simple browser game made as a promotional tool to hype up the Swiss band Extrafish’s upcoming album, Simplify This Fish. That is, until its layers are pulled back, and what’s exposed is a game that’s obtuse, weird, and fascinating. Extrafish is a balkan-dada-dub band, a genre you’d be forgiven for never having heard of—the band made it up. Mixing traditional balkan music with dadaistic lyrics, and dub parts, the band sounds all over the place, but in the best way possible. Songs are often hard to follow, they change radically, and they’re…

PaRappa The Rapper

Kill Screen now has a mixtape of our favorite music on Spotify

Spotify recently introduced another category to help people sift through its gargantuan catalog of music. That category was “Gaming.” You’ll find a bunch of game soundtracks and playlists that have been curated with a view to provide an alternate soundtrack to whatever game you’re playing. With this effort from Spotify to lay a bridge across mediums came an opportunity for us, as people into both videogames and music, to do the same. That is why Kill Screen now has its own Guest List over on Spotify that you can follow. Simply put, it’s a mixtape of music we like, and we’ll be looking…

frank ocean

Style Savvy, Frank Ocean, and taking a break from reality

Life’s been busy and stressful. I have little time to unwind, well, aside from my nightly rounds of Overwatch. But this weekend was different. I had finished up most impending work and my partner was gone for the weekend, off on a spontaneous road trip with his best friend. For once, my apartment was quiet, at a standstill. The world was my oyster. So I spent my Saturday night the same way any twenty-something with rare free time and a 3DS might: by cracking open a beer, playing the newly-released Style Savvy: Fashion Forward, and, as luck would have it,…