Event is a mystery that revolves around whether or not we can trust an AI. It’s a standard story conceit in sci-fi—the suspicious computer—but event adds its twist to the trope by highlighting the unique tragedy of artificial life. This is one of the few games that acknowledges the ugly implications of a computerized intelligence.
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Following our discussion of last year’s smash cut heavy Virginia, the Moving Pixels podcast decided to take a look back at one of Virginia‘s gaming inspirations, Thirty Flights of Loving.
This week the podcast looks at the avant-garde games of indie developer Blendo Games.
It’s funny how the word ‘free’ has become almost pejorative when it comes to gaming. Haunting stories of shady tracking and flat-out player manipulation by Freemium game companies and accounts of people obsessively spending inordinate amounts in virtual marketplaces designed to feed off the easily-hooked have done a good job of filling in the picture of how these games twist the meaning of ‘free’ to still fit their monetization strategies.
The one part of gaming that can lay claim to true, untarnished ‘freeness’ is the open-source world, where other incentives besides profit drive creativity. This niche is rarely discussed in mainstream media as many of these games are rudimentary code-sketches, with art and gameplay light-years behind their commercial counterparts. Their relative obscurity hides a game-making model that is completely unique in how it blurs the line between playing a game and developing it, fosters long-lasting communities and does it all without a lick of profit in the crosshairs. While making quality products according to this model might sound utopian, there is at least one game out there that has proved this is possible.
I played a lot of good games in 2016, and while I tried to write about as many of them as possible, some always slip through the cracks. I could wait to write about them next year, but damn it, more games just keep coming out! So here’s a short list of the games I’ve shortchanged in 2016:
If you choose to play Dishonored 2 as Emily Kaldwin (and you should), you’ll find an amazing interplay between her role as a stealth assassin and her role as the leader of an imperial power. The empress’s near-fatal flaw at the beginning of Dishonored 2 is her ignorance. To gain information and to make the world legible is to exercise power as both a player and as an empire.
Within the larger world of Dishonored, the city of Karnaca sits at the southernmost point of the Empire. The setting for Dishonored 2 looks and feels markedly different than its predecessors. Where the first game in the series feels like a steampunk version of Victorian England, Karnaca is more tropical and recalls the architecture and feel of colonial Cuba or other parts of the West Indies. This callback to imperialism is important within the context of the game’s story. Emily is on the outskirts of the empire, ignorant of the people, the power players, and even the wildlife. Her return to power reflects her growing familiarity with (and, therefore, power over) this landscape.