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Between Me and the Night promises magical realism with spooky undertones

When you’re a kid, monsters aren’t just something you entertain as a distant possibility—there are times when you’re, like, 90 percent sure they’re actually there. I can remember several nights lying awake in bed in my childhood home, unable to close my eyes because of my deep conviction that something on the other side of those slatted closet doors had it in for me. The “something” changed over the years (it was Chucky from Child’s Play until I saw The Exorcist for the first time), but my sense that it was more than possible that those fictional characters had tracked…

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Anamorphine and the rise of the first-person narrative game

Georges Méliès discovered filmmaking’s jump cut by accident. By cutting out some of the frames in a single, still camera shot and splicing the two separate parts, it seemed as if objects were teleporting through space when watched back in real-time. In his 1898 short The Temptation of St. Anthony, he uses the jump cut to have women magically appear around the titular character, attempting to seduce him from his faith, before disappearing just as suddenly. Méliès used the jump cut to become the great cinematic illusionist he’s now known as, producing what appeared to be magic through editing alone, and…

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Philip K. Dick is getting his very own videogame tribute

Californium doesn’t have the look of a videogame about Philip K. Dick. We’re used to the somber, rainy cityscapes of Blade Runner when we think of the sci-fi author. Yet it may be the truest adaptation of the man and his work yet—the vibrant wash of summery hues included. It’s to be a first-person exploration game made as tribute to Philip K. Dick. “You just have to walk around, talk to people, look around, and search for things that are not normal,” explained producer Noam Roubah to Ars Technica. So far so typical for the genre, then. But Californium will also delve into…

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The freedom of being a bird girl isn’t without its dangers

A blue sky riddled with floating islands, purple deer, and idyllic waterfalls—the opening scene of Aer’s trailer is a scenic glance at an abstract cubist-esque world. The expanse hovering before us is at peace, but we know that there’s so much more to see. Taking in the view with us is Auk, a pilgrim girl who, after turning to look at us, dives off the edge head-first and transforms into a skybird with a spin and a flurry of light. The bird is reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword’s loftwings, but this world seems like so much more than…

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Back to Bed’s creators on bringing surrealist architecture to videogames

From the melting clock to the overgrown green apples, the paint-chipped fingerprints of René Magritte and the flamboyant moustache of Salvador Dali are all over the topsy-turvy dreamscapes of Back to Bed. This puzzle game about escorting a somnambulist named Bob back to his duvet using the physical manifestation of his subconscious—a green dog-like creature called SuBob—is essentially every famous surrealist painting mashed together and made virtual. The other recognizable influence are the conceptual drawings of impossible structures by noted graphic artist M. C. Escher. These aren’t necessarily recreated in Back to Bed as the surrealists’ works are, but are alluded…