A chess set that could teach aliens how to play

What if you could learn how to play chess simply by looking at the pieces?

Cibele and the end of an era for internet lovers

Nina Freeman's heartbreaking, intimate new game about young love in an online game points to fast-disappearing strangeness in virtual spaces.

Why Bob Ross is the perfect gamer hero

Could this gentle painting teacher have posthumously inspired a generation of gamers to try art?

Meet the secret new horror mistress of video games

The delicate, literary works of Kitty Horrorshow are some of my favorite discoveries of 2015.

You can now own the Fez soundtrack on gorgeous translucent colored vinyl

Disasterpiece's remarkable soundtrack for Fez has been released on beautiful pollen-colored vinyl, alongside a striking red-and-gold physical release for the game itself. MORE

Fix a clock tower on a mysterious island, you dashing horologist

Once upon a time, clock towers were a sort of public utility, a shared temporal reference point that synchronized communities where personal timepieces were often a rarity. Although we hardly need the reminder in the modern age of smartphones, there's something about these buildings still capture the imagination, not just as striking aesthetic objects, but as physical metaphors for either moving through time, or running out it. MORE

Ancient adventure texts at last unearthed

Well, this is wonderful—Jason Scott, creator of the GET LAMP documentary and tireless historian in the service of games, is releasing a huge trove of scans from the archives of Infocom veteran Steve Meretzky. Infocom, of course, was a leading developer of mysterious and beautifully-written computer text adventure games in the 1980s. MORE

Relive the thrill of using Windows 95 in this office simulator

Remember back in the heady days of the mid-1990s, when playing computer games felt like running around in a endless maze of cardboard walls? Relive it today in Payroll, a game that simulates both the excitement of working in an office building, and the thrill of running Windows 95, complete with 640x480 pixel resolution and sound effects ripped from an Adlib sound card. MORE

You are the Animal Inspector, and some pets just aren't any good

In a world where pets are taking up too much space, you have to decide which goofy, startled animals are useful and which are not. But can you save your own sweet furry buddy? MORE

Can games exist without players?

This week, our partnership with Critical Distance brings us interviews with the developers behind Cibele and Uriel's Chasm, as well as a meditation on games that aren't meant to be played. MORE

Help a blind girl find her cat in a world where you see without eyes

I watched the Bob Ross marathon on Twitch recently, where a whole new generation got to discover the magic that emerges from his brushes: how you can turn away for a moment and turn back to find a whole new world materializing across a blank canvas. MORE

In just a few keystrokes and five scenes, the most striking game about guns

A shot rings out in the dark, lighting up one of dozens of faceless windows in front of you. This game is about the feelings that follow. MORE

Design a new subway system for your favorite city

Subway systems are circulatory systems, moving the lifeblood of a city from place to place beneath its skin. In the game Mini Metro, you get to be the engineer who maps out the veins, connecting all the stops in colorful tangles that keep the city moving as it grows around you. MORE

Learn coding with Minecraft? It's not just for kids

The developers of Minecraft have created a new tool designed to teach coding to kids—but it has a lot to offer grown-up newbies, too. MORE

These procedurally generated space bowls are killer

Mirror Lake will make a procedurally generated bowl for you. Sometimes the bowl is empty, which sounds like a parable, but mostly it is just a bowl. Sometimes it is in space. Click again, and you'll be greeted with another bowl. MORE

Relieve stress with Trumpiñata, a Donald Trump piñata app

Stressed by Donald Trump's offensive views about Mexicans? Transform him into a piñata and whack away. MORE

Grow plants to support your country in this wartime gardening game

Gardening games tend to be soothing cycles of repetition: You plant, you water, you harvest, and then you do it again. You play them to relax, which is probably why so few of those games are set during wars. But that's exactly where A Good Gardener begins, by asking you to tend a small garden in the midst of a terrible conflict. MORE

Did you know Carl Sagan designed a game?

This week, our partnership with Critical Distance brings us writing on witch folklore, the intimate language of games, and a lost design doc made by Carl Sagan. MORE

A gorgeous flight game made for a loved one in a lost plane

"My grandfather's plane was reported lost in 1960 during the Algeria Independence War, days before the birth of his first child," writes Armel Gibson, in the introduction for his game, Oases. "This is what I like to think happened to him." Oases opens with a plane flying over a desert, its engines trailing dark plumes of smoke. MORE

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