Figment will turn dream spaces into an interactive playground

At last, several months after first revealing concept art and screenshots for its dreampunk game Figment, Danish studio Bedtime Digital has more to show. It comes in the form of a three-minute long video, which features not only the game in action for the first time, but also lead designer Jonas Byrresen talking about where the idea for Figment came from. As might be expected, Byrresen reveals that Figment was conceived after the studio looked at what people who played their debut game, Back to Bed (2014), had requested. Specifically, it was the chance to walk around and look at more of…


An unfinished demo provides a surreal meditation on grief

Outside, the waves crash against the shore rhythmically. Inside, a broken robot suit lies sprawled on a bed, one arm yanked off and left dramatically on the floor. It’s accompanied by a keyboard that, upon further inspection, is literally made of gold. You can pick up the broken arm, or attempt to play the stubbornly immovable keyboard, but your cautious avatar doesn’t want to go near the robot. That’s understandable, as she just came to this beach, this cabin, to mourn. This is, more or less, the unfinished demo recently released by Arielle Grimes called Simulus, subtitled Cabin in the…

The Norwood Suite

The creator of Off-Peak is making another uncanny museum

Early last year, independent game maker Cosmo D came bursting onto the scene with Off-Peak (2015), a bizarre exhibition of artifacts that is museum, musical, and story all at once. It threw you into a train station on the very edge of reality and gave you a task to do, begging you not be distracted by the infinite staircases or the inexplicable, repeating figures. Like lots of games, it was a “love letter to a lot of things,” and like lots of games, it evokes the desire to re-explore. Luckily, Cosmo’s new game The Norwood Suite is being realized in the same…


Carl Burton’s gorgeous GIFs are being turned into a videogame

Shopping malls. Airport bookstores. Hotel lobbies. Carl Burton—the artist and animator behind Serial‘s second season GIFs—is creating a videogame that exploits the “boringness” of these liminal, corporate spaces. Using the foggy, surrealist art style of his GIFs, ISLANDS is a videogame you experience, rather than play. Anthropologist Marc Augé calls these spaces non-places—”If a place can be defined as relational, historical, and concerned with identity, then a space which cannot be defined as relational, or historical, or concerned with identity will be a non-place,” Augé wrote in Non-Places: An Introduction to Anthropology of Supermodernity (1992). A parking lot is a non-place, too. It’s a…

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…

here they lie

Here They Lie might be the horror game VR needs

What happens when you combine nightmares, beards, the claustrophobia of VR, and leaving behind AAA development? Apparently, surreal horror games are born. Here They Lie, announced during E3 last week, is a new title for both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR, developed by Tangentlemen Studios. The new studio is made up of other industry veterans, some former Call of Duty and Medal of Honor developers, as well as co-creative directors and lead designers Cory Davis (creative director and lead designer for 2012’s Spec Ops: The Line) and Toby Gard (designer of the original 1996 Tomb Raider and the iconic character of Lara Croft).…


Walk inside the dreamy paintings of a Metaphysical art pioneer

Imagine if you could visit any museum in the entire world: The Louvre, the MET, the MOMA. Any museum you’ve ever dreamed of. Now imagine again, if you could literally visit and walk within any work of art from around the world. This is a gift that Gigoia Studios has brought to life, time and again, with their fine art appreciation projects. Now realized to its fullest capacity with the fully completed SURREALISTa, a virtual, interactive exploration through eight classic paintings of Italian metaphysical art pioneer Giorgio de Chirico. Not diminished by new technology, but enhanced De Chirico’s work is…

va da

Manipulate shapeshifting hell in Mason Lindroth’s latest game

Mason Lindroth’s animations exist somewhere between the realm of a hellish nightmare, surreal art, and collages. It’s all those things, and also none of them. Lindroth’s repeated animated aesthetic is wholly unique—there’s nothing else like it (and in fact, he even hand-sculpts some objects from clay). And that’s why when he does something as “trivial” as VA DA, a new “animation/drawing program,” it still resonates. It’s wild and bizarre, like so many of his other works before it. A distorted conglomerate of gif-able lo-fi clipart VA DA, as described above, is a simple “drawing” program. You control a space with…