Small Radios Big Televisions

Small Radios Big Televisions finds the beauty in machine glitches

Small Radios Big Televisions, a game about the joys of broken analog tech, is coming to PlayStation 4 and PC on November 8th. Mostly, it wants you to collect cassettes and play them in a tape recorder: special attention is given to the tape sliding into the tray, the chik of it being locked in, the reel slowly spinning to unwind its contents. For someone who remembers doing this over and over as a child bored in their room, it’s a sensual few seconds; the familiar choreography plugging straight into the spectral residue of fond memories. But that’s only the beginning.…


Internet communities help beginners build computers

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. The PC modding community turns building computers into a social art form that people of all technical skillsets can enjoy. Constructing a computer from spare parts sounds intimidating, but it’s not just for hardcore geeks anymore. PC modding, the term used for customizing or “modifying” a computer, is going mainstream, and the online PC modding communities are happy to share the craft with newcomers. “I truly believe anyone ages eight and up could learn to build a computer with no problems due to the abundance of information available on the subject online…


Thoth isn’t here to make friends

Thoth works on certain illusions. A static screenshot would make you think this twin-stick shooter is more in line with Jeppe Carlsen’s previous game—the rhythm-based, minimalist platformer 140 (2013)—or that your dot in Thoth is kettled in against mean squares that look like descendants to Geometry War’s (2003) shapes. Thoth may only have a few matted colors at a time, but it is very loud; a mouse that roars. it invokes stages of fear Those squares, and many other bad shapes, are 3D in a 2D world. The way they float appears more like a gelatin warble, or a figure…


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…


Beglitched starts the cyberpink revolution

I struggle every Halloween to decide on a costume. I’ve dressed up as all the basics: a black cat, a vampire, a witch—twice. But Beglitched may have saved me the hassle this year. It has introduced to me a whole new concept: a cyberpink computer witch. Now, the title computer witch itself would be cool enough. You could say, “thanks for that idea, Beglitched,” and be done. But the computer witches of Beglitched want you not only to know about them, but to become one of them. As such, they dump you in the middle of their cyberpink witching hour,…

Gears of War 4

Gears of War 4 has lost some weight

A number of things define Gears of War. There’s the chainsaw-equipped assault rifle used to saw murderous reptile men in half, the constant rhythmic challenge of timing a supercharged gun reload, and, of course, the brick shithouse soldiers that players control throughout. These are all constants in Gears, reliable design elements that tie the series—a trilogy and spin-off game—together, regardless of where the story itself goes. Gears of War 4 is an intentional break from everything that came before, but, since it has that 4 on the end of its name, it’s also, in many ways, a continuation of Gears tradition, too. Much of it…


A game for Tenchu fans arrives next month

The darkness is scary. We’ve been fighting back against night and shadows since prehistoric times. It’s a fear that horror movies and novels have preyed on for decades; the dark room, the claustrophobic shadows where unknown horrors lurk, are often more dread-inducing than the monster itself. In Aragami, you are the monster lurking in the shadows and the darkness is your weapon. Well, more specifically, you’re a summoned otherworldly assassin with the power to bend the shadows to your will. Last time, we wrote about the game, it was known as Twin Souls; two years and a failed Kickstarter later, Aragami…


Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire only adds to the noise

According to its Kickstarter campaign, the first seed of what would become Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire was the game’s emblematic image: a woman in blue looks down at her red, burning city. There’s a paucity of details that add to the drama; the mountains are uniformly dark, while the desert is boundless and bare. Both are supported by the game’s plain, unsophisticated aesthetic, charmingly complete with rotoscope animation. All of the above combine to create an interesting drama out of drabness: two splashes of color set against a dun disaster. But this image represents the whole of Tahira…