fixing-australia-game-rating-system-AU-EN
Feature

Fixing Australia’s game rating system for the digital age

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Australia is notorious for its strict approach to media bans and classification, coming down hard on videogames in particular. While the Australian Classification Board (ACB) has softened since the introduction of an R18+ adult rating in 2013, the list of banned games continues to grow. The more recent among them range from the hyper-violence of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, to the juvenile humor of South Park: The Stick of Truth. Aside from bans, many criticized the classification process itself, seeing it as a long and costly burden on creators and…

nosepinch
Feature

Hardcore Henry and the problem with immersion

This is a preview of an article you can read on our new website dedicated to virtual reality, Versions. /// A fight scene is a dance: not just between the characters in conflict, but between stunt people and the effects crew, between the cinematographer and choreographer, between the editor and sound designer, all of them moving together at once. The best fight scenes have a narrative arc, however slight or implied. Think of Bruce Lee adapting to and punishing Chuck Norris’s brute power in Lee’s 1972 The Way of the Dragon, or the feral, hallucinatory slaughter that ends Kihachi Okamoto’s…

images.akamai.steamusercontent
News

The makers of Hatred’s next cheap shot takes aim at ISIS

Destructive Creations does not support ISIS. There is no reason to believe anyone ever suspected otherwise, but the developers behind the quasi-genocidal civilian shooter provocation that is Hatred (2015) aren’t taking any risks. In a Steam post, they say their latest game, IS Defense, is their “personal veto against what is happening in the Middle East nowadays.” Let us briefly set aside the fact that “what is happening in the Middle East nowadays” is not synonymous with ISIS, which is a concern in much of North Africa as well as Nigeria, and discuss how IS Defense exercises its veto. In short, it does so…

farcry2_header
Feature

Revisiting the enduring horror of Far Cry 2

The Far Cry series has always dealt in discordance. Those hyper-saturated blues of travel agent brochures and the high-contrast greens of the indigenous flora, deliciously juxtaposed with the hyper-violence you were enacting on screen. It’s the calling card of the series, that contrast; travel fantasies gone wrong. But Far Cry: Primal, out in a few weeks, eschews that trait of the series in favor of a more muted palette. Its world is one untouched by pop culture aesthetics, it gets back to the dirt we supposedly rose out of in the hope that a retreat into our prehistory will rejuvenate…

hg_1024
Article

The game design of the Hunger Games

Calling the design of the Hunger Games terrible is kind of missing the point, right? There’s no fairness intended, no logic, no rules. The “gamemakers” are industrial-scale butchers, striking a balance between mass execution and mass execution that’s fun to watch. They’re games only in the bread-and-circuses sense: distractions. Bloody spectacle. (The series’ ravaged, enslaved nation is called, in a Kojima-esque flourish, Panem.) Author Suzanne Collins famously says she came up with the idea for The Hunger Games books while flipping between reality TV and Iraq War coverage. That might be embellishment, but it’s also a cogent appraisal of the…

A Series of Gunshots
News

A Series of Gunshots calls out senseless gun violence in games

In the narrowest of senses, Pippin Barr’s A Series of Gunshots is a shoot ‘em up. All you do is fire a gun. The game has no other mechanics or activities. It is, however, the farthest thing possible from a traditional shoot ‘em up. A Series of Gunshots is composed of a series of gunshots. Who’d have thought it? The game consists of a series of black and white scenes. No humans can be seen. Do they even exist in this world? Press a key—any key other than spacebar. A gun goes off. The shot is heard. A window in…

duchess_of_infectious_lust
News

The world of Death Trash is gross, but you won’t be able to look away

Desert punks in a puke bar. Gore on the cave walls. A giant weeping blood into a lava pit. It can only be… Death Trash! Death Trash is an upcoming game pitched as a post-apocalyptic RPG mash-up of Planescape: Torment and Ultima 7, with added helpings of sex, cyberpunk, and horror. At first glance, I’m not personally interested in the role-playing elements—what captivates me most is how casually disgusting this world looks. Sickness and violence seem to be at the heart of this abrasive new society, where sweet-talking, telekinetic punks with shotguns roam and raw, gory meat seems to burst…