LowPolyScenes
News

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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Feature

In Defense of the 3D Platformer

Let me say it up front: the new Ratchet and Clank remake is magnificent. It also feels extremely strange, as though it hails from a parallel universe that isn’t quite our own. In this universe, the 3D platformer is ascendant. Good games are defined by everything it has in abundance: by the quality of their move upgrades; the length of their long jumps; the theming of their worlds; the cackling of their villains. Every game is legally required to have a fire level. Every game conveys the same set of values—duty, honor, the heroism of the ordinary, the sacrifice of…

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Feature

How Japan shaped nostalgia in games

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. For Shigeru Miyamoto, the inspiration for The Legend of Zelda (1986) series lay in the natural beauty of his hometown of Kyoto, Japan. As a young boy, the Nintendo designer behind Mario, Zelda, and Pikmin would take hikes around nearby forests, rivers, and old Sonobe Castle ruins. It was on one such hike that Miyamoto happened upon a cave that fascinated him. He returned to it a few days later, shook off his nerves, and, armed with a homemade lantern, journeyed into its mysterious depths. It was this feeling of discovery and…

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Review

The joyless heroics of Star Fox Zero

As I sit at my keyboard, trying to figure out what in the world I could possibly say about Star Fox Zero, I find myself forced to concede that there’s not that much wrong with the game as a game. As an engine built to allow players to fly around in a high resolution version of a spaceship apparently built out of triangles, Star Fox Zero is entirely functional. There are things to blow up, which will also seek to blow the player up. There are big spaceships, and big imposing robots with hidden vulnerabilities (which are signaled to the…

sophie and howl
News

The beauty of Hayao Miyazaki and VHS glitches

The first time I ever watched Princess Mononoke (1997) was on a grainy bootleg from a relative. I was a kid, maybe nine-years-old, but the otherwise beautiful film’s terrible quality was ingrained in my psyche. Since I was only nine, its fuzziness didn’t bother me. It wasn’t until I was much older, and more appreciative of the crisp existence of blu-rays, that I was able to rewatch the film and re-fall in love with it all over again. Still, that first grainy take on the film rests as my first “true” experience with a Hayao Miyazaki film, and was my gateway…

firewatch1
News

Printable Firewatch maps add a new challenge to the game

With its 1989 setting and focus on exploring the wilderness of the American West, Firewatch recalls a time before cell phones and GPS were common tools among those looking for adventure. Before Siri, the best option most travelers had for finding out how to get somewhere was still the simple paper map, with no guiding voice or blinking “you are here” indicator to make reading it any easier. To make up for this, car passengers would often double as navigators, reading through maps to find directions and arguing with drivers about which route was best—the main thing that’s changed is that we now shout…

Frog Days
News

A videogame about exploring the virtual worlds of 1995

Nostalgia for 1990s graphics and the decade’s range of operating systems is hellfire right now. It’s hot as shit and we can’t get enough it. Hence projects like Windows93 exist. Videogames, too, are increasingly incorporating or fully mimicking the early days of consumer-focused computer technology. Take a look at skeleton flower,  Solitaire.exe, Her Story, and Emily is Away for starters. We’re all growing up while desperately clawing back through the years to get one last sip on that fluorescent pink curly straw and throw gunge at each other. The 1990s it is not, but goddamn if we can’t pretend it is.…

screensaverjamlede
News

Screensaver jam results in a colorful throwback to the ’90s

You don’t really see screensavers all that often anymore. I know that when my computer enters sleep mode, I just have it set to display a black screen. It’s the same thing for all my friends as well as most offices I’ve visited since turning 13-years-old. Maybe it’s a consequence of our modern habit of leaving our computers on at all times, since if your computer is constantly sitting asleep in the background, having it display a bright or showy screensaver is just distracting. Or maybe it’s because we don’t need screensavers to protect our displays from burn-in images anymore,…

Videogame memory
News

The bot that dreams of forgotten videogames

Memory and videogames is a complicated crossroads. Not least because there’s a minimum of three types of memory meeting at this particular intersection. The most obvious one is personal memory: we remember the games we played over the years and attach emotions, physical locations, the music we were listening to at the time, and more to them. The second might be called technical or virtual memory, referring to the memory that videogames themselves contain. This is the RAM (random-access memory), the ROM (read-only memory), the immaterial saved data on hard drives and memory cards of old. Third is the cultural…