Kentucky Route Zero Act IV

Kentucky Route Zero: Act IV is an elegy

Michael Snow’s 1967 experimental film Wavelength is a 45-minute long zoom on an empty room. Outside the walls, and the camera’s frame, the insignificant dramas of human life play out in sad, abortive spirals. Men move furniture into the room; two friends drink and listen to the Beatles; in the end, a man dies on the floor and a woman calmly informs the cops of his corpse. Snow is monomaniacally committed to his premise: Wavelength is a canonical example of experimental film precisely because of its push-pull between dry, structural formalism and gut-level intrigue. In a way it’s a murder…


The magical realism of Japanese author Murakami gets its own videogame

You’d think videogames and magical realism would’ve found each other by now, but the pairing is still a tragically rare sight. Kentucky Route Zero is one of the few games I can name that embraces elements of magical realism without evolving into full-blown fantasy, but another project called Memoranda—also a point-and-click adventure—could soon join the list. Memoranda is inspired by the fiction of Haruki Murakami, whose works are often set in surreal realities that find a dreamlike charm in mundanity. In Memoranda’s case, the setting and the time period may be unclear and contain dissonant elements, but most of its…


Creator of Stranded returns with a cyberpunk adventure inspired by Akira

Murder is the name of Peter Moorhead’s upcoming cyberpunk adventure game, which is set to launch on October 21st for desktop and mobile devices. While Moorhead’s previous game Stranded might’ve looked to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 for inspiration, Murder is rooted in the works of cyberpunk masters, including Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash), and Masamune Shirow (Ghost in the Shell). “designed and written to reward attentive and thoughtful play”  Set in Japan of the future, Murder puts you in control of a lieutenant in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. The story is said to revolve around “the intersection of morality…


You’re a badass. You’re a cat. Need I say more?

A feline contract killer waits outside the door of her target’s apartment at sunset, smoking a cigarette. Her gun is loaded, but she’ll need to think a bit more outside the box if she wants to get paid. Once our feline protagonist finds herself inside the target’s apartment, she decides the best method is to lock the victim inside and leave him to die from starvation. It’s a clean-cut plan—until the cops show up. Badass Inc. is a strategic action-adventure game originally created with Haxe, an open-source game programming tool, in less than 48 hours for the Ludum Dare challenge—a…


Mind-Mecca introduces you to the enormous world of inky black cryptology

The dark, cutting lines and enormous Nihei-inspired megastructures of last year’s NaissanceE gouged open a hole. It hit a crest among those using videogames to explore an idea: one that combined wordless, inky concrete cities with abstruse glyph puzzles, all bearing a byzantine approach to structuring their alien mysteries. Nothing is explained in these virtual environments yet they seem to speak through their enormous volumes and chiaroscuro detail. the journey expands to a gigantic machine’s artery  There will be more videogames that branch off its hair-raising moments—shimmying around huge chasms, chasing sentient machines through crazed corridors—but it will be NaissanceE…


Point-and-click your way through the rotting aftermath of a divorce

“It’s about divorce,” reads Gary Butterfield’s blunt description of his short-story-turned-videogame Early Frost Warning. You know it’s going to be a glum playthrough, but 10 minutes in and you’re thinking: c’mon Horace, a broken boy in your bed and now your face is all red and balding? Sheesh, man, this is ugly. Sort yourself out. It’s not as dodgy as that makes it out to be. The broken boy in Horace’s bed isn’t his unlawful way of finding love after he split with his wife. Nah, he just knocked him over in the early morning grey, scooping him up with…


Dropsy, the clown game, is still decidedly horrifying and loveable

Remember Dropsy, everyone’s favorite clown/nightmare fuel? For those who don’t remember, Dropsy first began as a good joke on the Something Awful forums in 2004 and quickly spiraled into The Creepy Clown Game That Could, with over a decades worth of tumultuous development history, including: an almost-successful Kickstarter, then an overly-successful Kickstarter, before finally arriving at a publishing deal with Devolver Digital. Dropsy survived it all, his painted red smile unwavering (because it’s painted) and bulbous body #ready to do nightmarish clown stuff like hug trees. The Little Creepy Clown Game That Could  Dropsy flourished from weird internet thing into…