quadcowboy
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Sit down and hack into the analog world of Quadrilateral Cowboy

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. QUADRILATERAL COWBOY (Windows) BY BLENDO GAMES From the maker of Gravity Bone (2008) and Thirty Flights of Loving (2012), Quadrilateral Cowboy (affectionately nicknamed Quad Cow) is the latest vignette game from Brendon Chung of Blendo Games. A story told in the same world as Thirty Flights of Loving, this one focuses on the effects of technology in our experience of culture, careers, relationships, and privacy. Combining the aesthetics and mentality of Y2K with the badass heists of Oceans Eleven, Quadrilateral Cowboy invites players to…

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Go on a Kafkaesque adventure in The Real Texas

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. THE REAL TEXAS (Windows, Mac) BY KITTY LAMBDA GAMES Sam is a real cowboy. He’s bored. So he goes on vacation to the land of castles and dragons—England. Once he arrives, Sam is soon sucked into a spinning portal where, on the other side, a purgatory awaits him. The place is called Strange, Texas, and it’s where he embarks on a series of problem-solving antics, punctuated by gunshots and fumbling conversation with the town’s kooky residents. The Real Texas came out in 2012…

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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…

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Inside dares you to escape

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Inside (PC, Xbox One) BY PLAYDEAD Playdead appears to have taken some lessons from Limbo and the many emulators that came after it. Focusing on atmosphere and a mounting sense of dread, Inside is a journey into the grayness of the human condition under surveillance. You are a boy, you are hunted, you are observed, you are sacrificed, again and again. While more mechanically forgiving than its predecessor, Inside is cruel to its players in a way few other games have ever dared to…

VA-11 Hall-A
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Play a day in the life of a dystopian bartender

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. VA-11 Hall-A (Windows, Mac, Linux) BY SUKEBAN GAMES If you want to get to know the character of a city quickly, check out its bar scene. There, you’ll find all the community’s hopes and issues under the same roof, sharing a stiff drink. That’s the idea behind VA-11 Hall-A, a dystopian “drink-em-up” where players serve the bar regulars and listen to their personal stories. By developing relationships with your patrons, you learn about the everyday struggles of a consumerist surveillance state. While light on mechanics, VA-11 Hall-A allows you to…

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New VR game lets you walk around inside a Van Gogh painting

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. THE NIGHT CAFE (PC) BY BORROWED LIGHT STUDIOS The point of going to a museum is to gain a more tactile understanding of a piece of art. Being in front of a picture allows you to see the minute details of creation—the brush strokes and oil drips. Yet, museums keep you at a literal arms length from the art. But a VR Van Gogh experience titled The Night Café hopes to correct this discontinuity. Inviting viewers to step inside the swirling vibrancy of Van Gogh’s Le Café de…

soft body
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Soft Body helps you find serenity among chaos

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Soft Body (PC, PlayStation 4) BY ZEKE VIRANT The words “bullet-hell” may not immediately call calm and tranquility to mind. But meditative app/game Soft Body is here to fix that. Combining the difficulty of Super Meat Boy (2010) with the serenity of a zen sandbox, Soft Body challenges you to overcome obstacles with a meditative approach. Requiring players to split their attention between controlling two “snakes,” operated by opposite hands, the game helps mind and body focus on accomplishing tasks in tandem. Featuring various color palettes and diverse maps, players…

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The art of pinball

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. INKS (iOS) BY STATE OF PLAY GAMES Pinball is something of a lost art. With the glory days of arcades and The Who’s rock opera Tommy (1969) behind us, the Pinball Wizard may appear to have lost his luster. But State of Play’s INKS is breathing new life into this arcane mode of play, by making the pinball machine double up as a blank canvas for painters. From the creators of Lumino City (2014), the game brings a similarly tactile approach to design. Instead of flashing colors, your ball hits…

the pit and the pendulum
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An Edgar Allan Poe classic is now a game

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. The Pit and the Pendulum (PC) BY PAPER PIRATES AND SOKOLAB Given that Edgar Allan Poe focused on sensation to communicate the terror of torture in his 1842 short story The Pit and the Pendulum, it would have been wise to further etch that out in the videogame version. In particular, the hissing of a swinging blade as it descends upon the narrator’s flesh could have been realized with actual sound, yet it is lacking in this digital adaptation. Forgoing that, what this game does…