DUSK is the grubby circus act a ’90s-style shooter should be

DUSK is an intentional throwback. It’s a game that deliberately, lovingly evokes the running, gunning, and no-reload bullet-dispensing of ‘90s shooters like Quake (1996), Blood (1997), and DOOM (1993). As with most exercises in nostalgia, it’s also pretty off-putting at first. Why make another Quake when right this instant Quake is available to play, as good as it ever was? Why roll around in the past when the future is always so much more exciting? But give DUSK a chance and it makes an argument for itself. In the first moments of its preview version, a trio of burly, flannel-clad guys with burlap sacks over their heads and…


New frantic game is basically Devil Daggers in space

There are particular games that can only exist within the confines of the technological limitations of the time they were created. Missile Command (1980) feels anxious in its simplicity: the silence of surrounding the explosions of the missiles reminds you that, eventually, no matter how hard you try, all the cities you are attempting to save will be destroyed. On the other hand, the 2007 Xbox 360 remake of Missile Command added techno music and other small tweaks that, together, deeply obscure the Cold War-era fear of the original. the anxiety heightened by its use of Game Boy graphics An entry into…

Duke 3D

Duke Nukem 3D is back (again) like an old uncle telling 20-year-old jokes

Like uncovering a spiral-bound notebook full of junior high poetry, Duke Nukem 3D (1996) is back once again to remind you of what passed for “edgy” in the late 90s. After a half-dozen repackaged versions over the past few years, a sizable anniversary is enough for Gearbox Software, the current stewards of 3D Realm’s 1996 FPS “classic,” to give everyone another chance to re-purchase it. Including a brand-spanking new lighting system and a fifth episode created by the game’s original level designers, Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour manages to play the way you remember the game and thankfully…


1930s-style animation game Cuphead won’t arrive until 2017 now

Cuphead creator Studio MDHR was trying to get its game out exactly 80 years from 1936—the year when a Japanese cup-headed character in a short propaganda film turned into a tank to defeat a bunch of evil Mickeys. Now, however, Cuphead will be released 81 years after Cuphead’s grandpa was introduced to the world. Studio MDHR announced this week that Cuphead will be released for Xbox One, Windows 10, and Steam in mid-2017 now. And this isn’t bad news; it means Studio MDHR won’t have to cut content from the game to make a tight deadline. “It would have meant releasing with fewer bosses, less platforming levels, as well as…

Dusk redneck enemies attic FPS 2017

Dusk is how you make a ’90s shooter for today

Living in the Northeast of the United States, David Szymanski grew up surrounded by the eerie woods and old buildings that dot the landscape in that part of the country. This is an area of the U.S. where you can find what Lovecraftian scholar S.T. Joshi calls “The Miskatonic Region,” the setting for many of the author’s strange and disturbing stories. Since the age of 14, Szymanski has wanted to create a first person shooter set in this part of the U.S. Now 26, he is finally making that dream a reality with Dusk. “I’ve always been a huge fan of Doom/Quake-style FPSs,…

Don't Crawl Gameplay screenshot

A new retro-style platformer lets other players control the monsters

Game jams are filled with sleepless nights. Designers and artists gather for a short period of time, like a weekend, then work non-stop to create something playable in that limited time frame. A game jam is an intense and challenging way to create a game. And yet, it’s how many fantastic videogames are born, like Surgeon Simulator (2013), SUPERHOT, and Nuclear Throne (2015). One of the latest game jam ideas turned retail release is Don’t Crawl, from Nick Belorusov and Vadim Dyachenko “Ideas that spring to mind at 4AM when waking up for a game jam, are rarely truly original,” Belorusov explained when…

Southern Fried Gameroom Expo

The Southern Fried Gameroom Expo is a reminder of what we’ve lost

Long cast as the home of hospitality, green tomatoes, and civil war memorials, the South is pushing back against a more current War of Northern Aggression. Gaming expos born north of Mason-Dixon line have prospered: Penny Arcade Expo began in 2004 outside of Bellevue, Washington before expanding to Boston, Australia, and Texas. Gen Con, founded in Wisconsin by the father of Dungeons & Dragons, Gary Gygax, focuses on tabletop gaming and calls Indiana home. The largest and oldest retro games convention is still California Extreme, set in Santa Clara the past 20 years. But Southerners love games, too. And Preston…


The greatest Famicom-based game jam returns this week

What do you get when you combine the world of fake Famicom case cover art and game jams? The “A Game By Its Cover” jam, actually, which is making its triumphant return on June 30th. Being the Japanese precursor to the NES, the distinctive red-and-white Famicom has a great deal of nostalgic power over people who grew up in the early 80s—even if it doesn’t closely resemble the American, VCR-looking version of the console. The A Game By Its Cover Jam sorta banks on that. It encourages game makers to spend a month creating games based on faux Famicom cover fan…


The Witness swaps polygons for pixels in its NES demake

For all its naturalistic beauty, one of the more interesting lines to come out of reviews for The Witness when it dropped earlier this year was that it didn’t actually need to be in 3D. Creator Jonathan Blow and his team may have spent eight years crafting the game world’s intricate details, but conceptually, as noted by Dan Solberg in Kill Screen’s review for the game, as well as popular YouTube journalist George Weidman in his own, it is most similar to a collection of newspaper brainteasers or a book of riddles. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Even while the player interacts with…