Indie games roundup!

The best from the independent dev scene

This week in games: inactivity, brutalism, The Witness and more

Zoya Street, curator of Critical Distance, offers slow reflections on the fast-paced world of digital play…

Black women are already superheroes

What can game developers do to better represent black women in games?

Networked gaming is the new social media, and it's a boys' club

Earlier this fall, Pew released the results of a new survey documenting how digital networks are key to how teens connect with friends. What was most striking was the gender disparity. Girls socialize via text and social media, and boys tend to connect with friends through video games.

What was it like working a Nintendo hotline in the 80s?

This week, our partnership with Critical Distance brings us reading on parenting via Tomb Raider, the utility of the word 'gameplay', and experiences from Nintendo 'play counselors' from the 1980s and 90s. MORE

The best games about home are the ones that make you leave it

There's something comforting about games that mirror the everyday rituals of departure and return, the rhythms of our real lives. MORE

Find an antidote for your poisoned sister in an alien sea

Playing a Porpentine game often feels like stepping into a poem, or sitting downstream in a river as strange images float by like beautiful, twisted debris. She's primarily known for her Twine games and interactive fiction, where her distinctive alien worlds are fleshed out in long strings of lyrical text. MORE

Ecco the Dolphin swims in a sea of animated glitches

Ecco the Dolphin was undoubtedly one of the trippiest games to emerge from the early '90s, a psychedelic ocean adventure about Atlantis, time machines and giant crystals whose gameplay was once turned into a six-hour meditation video. MORE

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

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? 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

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