Undertale
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Undertale, one year later

September 15th marks a full year since the arrival of Undertale, Toby Fox’s 16 bit-style role-playing game for PC. Its auspicious reception, which even delivered the game into the Pope’s hands, seems now more than ever to have been a flashpoint in current debates as to what constitutes excellence in videogames. Standing apart from the colossal world-building efforts that typically crowd year-end lists, Undertale offered something else: an epic-in-miniature, the latest entry in a tradition that might also include the animated shorts of David OReilly, Sarah Orne Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896), and Chopin’s preludes, which served…

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Celebrate National Dog Day with The Release of Undertale’s Soundtrack on Vinyl

Did you know that today is #NationalDogDay? Of course you do. Who could possibly forget the one day a year we celebrate all good boys everywhere? A case can be made that the indie game Undertale is most loved for its dogs and in order to commemorate such a pawsitively great occasion, retailer IAm8Bit is releasing a 2xLP vinyl soundtrack for the massively popular RPG Undertale. The collection was released on August 26th at 10:00 am PDT. Undertale has been praised for everything from its charming RPG elements to the memorable characters—and who could fur-get the chiptune score composed by…

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Psychedelia isn’t dead, just ask videogames

Though it hit peak popularity in the 1960s, psychedelia has endured as a genre of art, film, and particularly music that occasionally goes through periods of resurgence. Some of the best current examples of psychedelic culture, however, come from a medium that barely existed in the 1960s: videogames. You can find dozens of lists of the best “psychedelic” videogames, but many of these lists focus on the superficial aspects of psychedelia. They use “psychedelic” as a synonym for “weird,” ignoring the original meaning of the word. Influenced both by early 20th-century abstract art and by experiments with hallucinogenic drugs, the…

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The videogames that want to be disobeyed

Early in Far Cry 4 (2014), you sit at a dinner table across from the brutal antagonist, Pagan Min. While remaining unnervingly calm, he tortures a man by stabbing his back with a fork. As they leave the room, Pagan Min turns to you and says, “Don’t move, I’ll be right back.” The cutscene ends and you soon learn that you can move with ease. A quest prompt appears and tells you to “explore De Fleur’s mansion.” Will you listen to Pagan Min’s instructions to stay still, or disregard them and obey the game itself? If you ignore this prompt…

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High Scores: The Best Videogames of 2015

Header image and artwork by Caty McCarthy 25. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime (Asteroid Base) Neon cuteness belying hardened spacefaring carnage. A manic platformer disguised as a cheerful shoot-em-up. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a lot of things, and all of those things are descending on you at the exact same time. With the evil forces of anti-love surrounding you as you save imprisoned space bunnies, Lovers works best with two players sitting side-by-side, working together against near-impossible odds. An AI-controlled dog or cat can accompany you on your suicide mission, but facing down increasing waves of enemies next to…

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The Year of Mom

It begins with her. Whether the birth of a nation or your own life, it all began with her. Inside her, existence takes shape. Outside her, the shape of her existence is forgotten. As American poet and feminist Adrienne Rich says, “Life on the planet is born of woman.” Yet, somehow, the begetter of planet Earth has been all but cursorily kept out of humanity’s central myths, social structures, and ideologies. In Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution, Rich weaves autobiography with literary and historical research to paint a universal portrait of motherhood as it exists under patriarchy.…

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Crow money, crow problems

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Crowtel (PC)  BY Sinks Imagine this: you’re just another crow hotel manager, living their simple life and minding their own business. You don’t want to be the next Ritz Carlton or anything—your aspirations are much more laid back than that. You just want to keep your business afloat without much effort. But, one day, some fat cats from the health department come in for an inspection, threatening the livelihood of your Crowtel. Now you’re finally forced to face all those niggling death traps you’ve…