Tell these games what's wrong

Leigh Alexander

New text-based browser games by Caelyn Sandel and Lydia Neon ask searching questions we may prefer not to answer. I have a hard time being honest with these bots, even though they promise to help. For lots of us, digital space is more than just a practical tool -- it's a sense of home. When […] Read the rest

You can't 'just keep politics out of it'

Leigh Alexander

Only in consumer video game fandom would there even be a debate about whether or not content "should be" political. Read the rest

In fantasy worlds, historical accuracy is a lie

Tanya D

The mythical realms of Dragon Age grow beautifully with the telling, including their representation of Earthly minorities. Even so, something's missing... Read the rest

Finally, a chainmail bikini you'll want to buy

Laura Hudson

The chainmail bikini has long been a symbol of the absurd ways women are depicted in media, but cartoonist Hazel Newlevant has transformed it into something unexpected: the title of a new anthology of comics about women in games. "Once you've identified something as a 'chainmail bikini,' you've noticed that it's laughably bad," says Newlevant, […] Read the rest

Lo-Fi Let's Play: LOOM

Leigh Alexander

Come along with me and revisit a classic Lucasfilm Games experience. There's a lot special about LOOM, which recently went on sale at the DRM-free digital store Good Old Games. Read the rest

We are not colonists

Gita Jackson

Minority voices in games and tech present a necessary challenge to our imagined community. Read the rest

Play it now: Bus Station Unbound

Leigh Alexander

The ideal of "getting home for Christmas" is tinged with romance, conjuring images of rushing through snow and the chaos of transit to that ultimate family seat. For most of us, though, that holiday-card vision is a lot more complicated, and it's that painful, conflicting space that text game Bus Station: Unbound aims to evoke. […] Read the rest

A kids book about princesses who save themselves

Laura Hudson

If there's a kid in your life who loves princesses, consider getting them a very different sort of children's book: The Princess Who Saved Herself. As per the book description, it is "the story of an awesome kid who lives with her pet snake and plays rock 'n' roll all day to the huge annoyance […] Read the rest

All you have is video of a woman talking to the cops. Is she guilty?

Leigh Alexander

Sam Barlow's VHS-styled Her Story is a game about true crime, voyeurism, and the monstrous specter of women who kill. Read the rest

If you see something, play something?

Leigh Alexander

TouchTone is a dark, smooth puzzle game about the surveillance state. The player manipulates simple, clean circuits of light -- and once they all connect, must review information logs and decide whether to flag them as suspicious. "What once started as a simple game jam prototype has evolved into a platform for our outrage at […] Read the rest

Watch: On the unique madness of game-making

Leigh Alexander

My friend Erin Robinson had been wanting to make games -- sketching, designing and editing them in her own imagination -- since childhood. Just last month, she finally released Gravity Ghost, a tiny-planet puzzler starring a ghost girl and her fox friend. The game's concept, artwork and game design have been Robinson's main life's work […] Read the rest

Finally, you can sext with a bot

Leigh Alexander

What would visitors from space think if they saw your sexts? Nonsense words accompanied by alien knobs of human flesh -- the creases, the arresting hairs and things. Would it turn them on? Now you can sext with a bot and try to arouse it. The prolific Mike Walker has developed Sext Machine, "an SMS-based […] Read the rest

You have 20 minutes before the sun blows up

Laura Hudson

Explore the universe in Outer Wilds, a mysterious, award-winning game set in deep space Read the rest

What's it like to be a hole?

Leigh Alexander

Ben Esposito's Donut County will whet your appetite for compelling physics -- and consumerism metaphors Read the rest

Play it now: Off-Peak

Leigh Alexander

Train stations are weird. Commercial art monoliths jammed into awkward industrial spaces for the arbitrary pleasure of the commuter -- and cracks, too, for all kinds of people to fall into. It's easy to feel lost in transit. Brush the gross breath that shivers up from inside the tunnels and feel in that instant how […] Read the rest

Soon, you'll finally be able to play Nintendo games on your smartphone or tablet

Leigh Alexander

Nintendo today announced it would partner with Japanese mobile game giant DeNA to create new games based on the company's brands. Read the rest

Six Japanese Dating Sims to Fall In Love With

AM Cosmos

Welcome to Otome, visual dating games made with women in mind. They enjoy a healthy fandom, but many acclaimed titles remain in their native Japanese—frustrating, because romance and relationship games are more popular than ever. Read the rest

Play it now: Little Party

Leigh Alexander

We don't usually play as older women in games, let alone as moms. But in Little Party, you're a mother in a deep, wooded home that makes a perfect retreat for your teenage daughter, Suzanne, and her artistic friends. The creators describe Little Party as a "short story video game" -- as you glide through […] Read the rest

An interactive map of when the zombie apocalypse will claim your city

Laura Hudson

If you've ever wondered exactly what the zombie apocalypse would look like—and how long it would take to claim your city—this interactive map created by Cornell researcher Matt Bierbaum can help you envision all your darkest fears. Just click anywhere on the map to create your very own Patient Zero, and watch the zombie plague […] Read the rest

Can games help prevent teen dating violence?

Leigh Alexander

Games can be an inviting tool to educate young people on social issues -- like how to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship, how to help a friend or to seek help for oneself. Since 2008, Jennifer Ann's Group, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about teen dating violence, has run an annual game […] Read the rest

Butt Sniffin' Pugs is a game that exists

Leigh Alexander

Bizarre and wonderful things can happen when you ask game developers to experiment with input devices. When teams are asked to work with alternative controls to the boring old keyboard and mouse, you get stuff like Butt Sniffin' Pugs. Skip to the gameplay portion of the video above to see how it works: Players socialize […] Read the rest

Punk Games

Zoe Quinn

Its time to break down the walls between games and other creative fields. Read the rest

Want to make games and pet lambs on a remote farm in Iceland?

Laura Hudson

Do you need some time on your own? Do you need some time all alone? If you want to make games but feel the chorus to "November Rain" burning in your heart, you're not the only one. Several of your kindred spirits will soon be gathering on a remote farm in northern Iceland for the […] Read the rest

Just watch the amazing trailer for this genre bender

Leigh Alexander

Here's a genre mash-up you might not expect: Classic narrative-driven adventure games and two-dimensional space shooters? Read the rest

A war game that helps child survivors of war

Laura Hudson

Rather than focusing on the heavily armed soldiers who populate most war games, This War of Mine made headlines last year by simulating the experiences of a very different group of people: civilian survivors. Now its developer 11 Bit Studios is going a step further, with new downloadable content whose proceeds will benefit the international […] Read the rest

Eliza needs you, now

Leigh Alexander

We often think about artificial intelligence in terms of what we can use it for. But what if AIs sometimes need us instead? What happens when the therapist becomes the patient? Cassie McQuater's game Eliza poses these questions to the player, with the added thematic layer of women's identity in the digital space. It's inspired […] Read the rest

Fantasy worlds that break history's back

Katherine Cross

Anything can happen in the world of pretend. Microscope is a pen-and-paper game of "fractal history" that forces us to reexamine the rules of the real Read the rest

You can play the Hitchhiker's Guide game right now

Leigh Alexander

Yesterday, March 11, was Douglas Adams' birthday. Did you know you can celebrate by playing the 1984 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game in your browser at work this instant? Although games made with a text parser -- you know, where you type commands like TURN ON LIGHT or LOOK IN POCKET or S to […] Read the rest

Meet an artist doing provocative work with a VR headset

Leigh Alexander

Want to be less popular at cocktail parties on the West Coast? Try being a virtual reality skeptic. I can't help but feel validated, though, by this post from Wagner James Au looking back at 1992, just one of a few times in history we've been exactly as excited about VR as we are about […] Read the rest

We have a memory problem

Leigh Alexander

Video games have an issue with memory. Sometimes development and culture within the medium ends up locked in obeisance to nostalgia, an assumed audience of pixel art and chiptune fans who really just want a Final Fantasy VII remake or yet another Legend of Zelda. At other times it's like we can't remember the past […] Read the rest