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Californium brings Philip K. Dick’s vision of the world to life

“Life in Anaheim, California, was a commercial for itself, endlessly replayed. Nothing changed; it just spread out farther and farther in the form of neon ooze. What there was always more of had been congealed into permanence long ago, as if the automatic factory that cranked out these objects had jammed in the on position.” —Philip K. Dick,  A Scanner Darkly, 1977. /// Dimensions merge in Californium like pools of spilled ink on paper. Each one is given a predominant color so that they easily contrast—it makes the strange effect lucid if not any easier to get your head around. A cold, austere blue…

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Why Fallout 4’s 1950s satire falls flat

War may never change, but Kill Screen does. Back our Kickstarter to help support our print relaunch! Fallout 4 takes us back. Back to the beginning. Back before the bombs fell, and before the world of the Fallout series took on its mutated, feral, apocalyptic form. But what did that world look like? The Fallout series has, since its inception, hinted at a world before nuclear annihilation that resembled, in its culture and its design, the 1950s, rather than the 2070s, which is the decade in which Fallout’s “Great War,” a two-hour series of nuclear blasts that decimated the planet,…

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Radio the Universe is still far away, but here’s some new art

Remember Radio the Universe? It started popping up around the web in 2012, ran a successful Kickstarter at the end of that year, and has been surfacing here and there for the last three years with bits of art and minor updates. It was among the first wave of smaller games that seemed invested in taking pixel art in a new direction—still rooted in the isometric simplicity of retro-style games, but with a ton of detail and fluidity in the environment and character movement. Think Hyper Light Drifter. For Radio the Universe in particular, it was the elegant pixel art,…

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For once, a videogame that has you clear up the violence rather than cause it

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Viscera Cleanup Detail (PC)  BY Runestorm For most people, the idea of cleaning up anything sucks. It’s a chore; not meant to be enjoyed, just endured. What’s going on with Viscera Cleanup Detail then? This is a videogame purely about cleaning that has enjoyed two years of popularity before it was even finished. People are lapping it up like a mop head does spilled liquid. One user review finds comedy in how the person who wrote it refuses to clean their messy room but has scrubbed an…

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Has Gears of War aged better than the song that marketed it?

Unlike movies, videogames rarely have memorable trailers. Most of the commercials created to show them off are either brief sizzle reels or prolonged, hacky punchlines. The TV spot for the original Gears of War was an exception, however. Undercutting the promise of apocalyptic alien carnage with the solemn baying of Gary Jules in his cover of “Mad World” led to a stop, turn, and watch moment. Somehow, the juxtaposition of a lone, bandana-clad bro running through a deserted metropolis with the melancholy musings of a piano and folksy singer-songwriter compelled a second look. Thus did it become, at least in…

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Corpse of Discovery is like a much grimmer No Man’s Sky

Corpse of Discovery is an upcoming PC game that looks like it combines the horror of being lost on an unknown planet with the wonders of exploration. You play as a stranded astronaut who has to brave the harsh and unfamiliar conditions of new worlds while searching for a way to return to your family. It’s like The Martian in game form, and you can’t get mad at me for making that comparison because the developers over at Phosphor Games said it first. The debut teaser above shows off a variety of locales, including the dusty red planet you seemingly…