screenshot from the game 29, showing a closer shot of the character standing in a kitchen

29 will tell a personal story through otherworldly dioramas

Something is off in a flat in South London. It’s not necessarily in the vegetables growing rot on the kitchen counter, or the new Guillermo Del Toro-inspired roomie, or the soft sounds of banging that seem to radiate through paper-thin walls. It might be a combination of those traits, the malaise of the freshly graduated combined with the claustrophobia of apartment life. 29 is an upcoming “semi-autobiographical magical realist point and click, focusing on two transgender non-binary people,” Ao and Bo. The characters are loosely based on the creators of the project, Tom Davison and Hana Lee (also the creators of…

Queer Quest

Queer Quest to be an adventure about self care in the LGBTQ community

The kidnapped girlfriend is a well-worn trope, sure. But Queer Quest: All in a Gay’s Work is an upcoming game that takes this cliché and does something fresh with it, exploring not only how it affects the main character, but the community at large. In the Kickstarter description for Queer Quest, it says you must help Lupe find her kidnapped girlfriend Alexis by “deciphering clues, talking to lovable weirdos, and navigating self care.” The first two parts of that description are what’s expected of a point-and-click adventure game, but the last isn’t. “how a community deals with tragedy” I asked Mo…


Growbot gets its adorable look from children’s books of the past

Children’s books used to have a more strange, haunting quality; think Wayne Anderson’s Ratsmagic (1976) and The Magic Circus (1978). Books had a sense of darkness, and not every tale was meant to be safe and moralizing. Growbot, an upcoming 2D point-and-click puzzle adventure, is a game that evokes the strangeness of Anderson‘s classics. Created by illustrator Lisa Evans, it’s a game that draws from classic children’s book through its art and narrative. “These kinds of narratives are rarer in the [children’s book] industry these days, because in order to get in front of an audience you need to go through the gatekeepers of the publishing…


Help sad fruit people overcome loneliness in a new game

Have you ever bought a piece of food and for whatever reason left it out or forgot about it? After some time it begins to rot, dry out, or expire. Most of us would simply throw it away, but Agata Nawrot did something different: instead of tossing the spoiled food away, she was inspired to create Karambola—a strange and beautiful game about lonely fruit people. “I like strange concepts,” Nawrot told me. A village of emotional fruit people who are kidnapped by evil, magical birds certainly qualifies as a bit strange. The idea came from a single bulb of dry fennel that…

Samorost 3

Samorost 3’s fairy tale of microbiology is now on iPhone

Samorost 3 is a game that cares about the tiniest organisms on the planet. It’s made of them: curious bugs that harvest moss, fungi blown up to the size of three-story houses, tree knots as gargantuan as an abyss. It seems fitting then, that Samorost 3 is now available on iPhone and iPad; smaller screens than the desktop PCs it was released on back in March this year, and screens that let you prod its world with your finger rather than a computer mouse. The game is a fairy tale of microbiology, inspired by Jakub Dvorský’s love of poking his face…

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…