IS NO MAN’S SKY AN ACCIDENTAL COLONIALIST UTOPIA?

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to hear a paper delivered by the philosopher Thom van Dooren (co-authored with the human geographer and social theorist Matthew Kearnes) on the various cultural, political, and scientific entanglements—and ethical quandaries—associated with off-earth mining.[1] The central thrust of their paper seemed to be stressing the various senses in…

JRPG MUSIC AND UNDERTALE: TOBY FOX’S LINK TO THE PAST

Let’s get something straight: my taste in music wouldn’t be considered “mainstream.” If we’re working off the assumption that a person’s taste in music is based upon early life exposure, my musical influences would be Konji Kondo, Masato Nakamura, Yoko Shimomura, Nobuo Uematsu and the 90’s hip hop hit-makers House of Pain. To this day, I can…

INTERVIEW: THOMAS GRIP OF SOMA & FRICTIONAL GAMES

SOMA is one of the most engrossing and moving pieces of science fiction ever created. It’s just that simple. The fact that it’s a horror game—which I don’t usually play because they cause me a great amount of discomfort and heart palpitations—is the only thing that made me switch over to a youtube walkthrough instead of finishing it myself….

MEDITATION AND MOBLINS: WHAT ZELDA HAS TO TEACH US ABOUT MINDFULNESS

It’s not often that you go into a videogame and come out having had a meditative experience, but then it’s probably fair to say that Breath of the Wild isn’t really your usual sort of game. It’s not totally unique in lending itself to a more mindful approach to gameplay (after all, Dark Souls is basically videogame yoga) but…

INTERVIEW: PAWEL MIECHOWSKI OF THIS WAR OF MINE & 11 BIT STUDIOS

This War of Mine is not a fun game, but that’s hardly a criticism. The haunting war simulator puts you in charge of a small group of civilian survivors caught up in war. There are no epic battles to be fought here, just those for basic nutrition, medical supplies and heating. It’s a dark, realistic account of the…

WARHAMMER 40,000 IS PREDICTING THE PRESENT

Tabletop toy soldier game Warhammer 40,000 is the apogee of the ’80s. It was born in the ’80s, forged in the ’80s, is both the paradigm and ultimate parody of the ’80s. It is a fictional setting defined by punk rock and totalitarianism, bloodless tradition pitched against cataclysmic revolution, ecological eschatology, working-class disempowerment, machinist technological innovation married…

DATA MUTATIONS SHOWS US AN ALTERNATE WORLD OF VIDEOGAME DEVELOPMENT

On March 8th 2018 the White House revealed its weirdly abstract violence-in-videogames supercut to minimal applause. Game enthusiasts and Trump nay-sayers were quick to point out the obvious cherry-picking that had occurred; more astute viewers such as our own Oliver Fox noted that games really should aspire to be more than miscellaneous murder-sims. The presidential montage stirred non-profit organisation…

WARHAMMER 40K AND THE QUEER DARKNESS OF THE FETISH-FIRST MILLENNIUM

I’ve seen this tweet bounced out by enough different people that I have no idea of the original author: And I guess the sentiment is on the nose for a lot of Gen Xers, but here in Gen Y I was promised something even bleaker: The future, as described in every Warhammer 40,000 book introduction:…

E3 2016: WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM

The assignment seemed reasonable. Infiltrate the shiny over-belly of the already bloated industry known as “interactive entertainment.” Myself and my associate, a long-ish bespectacled fellow, had convened mere blocks away from the heaving convention center in Downtown Los Angeles. We were to retrieve our press credentials at one of the many kiosks flanking the large…

INTERVIEW: ALEXIS KENNEDY OF FALLEN LONDON AND SUNLESS SEA – PART ONE

Failbetter Games make dark, twisted games set in the Fallen London universe, an alternate universe in which Victorian London has been carried underneath the earth’s crust by a swarm of bats. Yup, bats. Fallen London itself is a text-heavy browser-based roleplaying game, soon arriving on smartphones, while Sunless Sea is a decidedly moody naval roguelike in which a band of explorers attempt to…