The Offworld Collection available to order

Rob Beschizza

The Offworld Collection, presenting the very best features and essays from Offworld, is finally available to buy directly from Campo Santo for $40. I had the pleasure of designing and illustrating this splendid 250-page hardcover volume, but it's the excellent writing, edited by Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson, that makes it an essential buy. You […] Read the rest

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

Zoya Street

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

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

Critical Distance

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. Read the rest

Black women are already superheroes

Sidney Fussell

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

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

Mimi Ito

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. Read the rest

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

Laura Hudson

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

Find an antidote for your poisoned sister in an alien sea

Laura Hudson

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. In her first 3D game, […] Read the rest

Ecco the Dolphin swims in a sea of animated glitches

Laura Hudson

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. Read the rest

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

Leigh Alexander

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. Read the rest

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

Laura Hudson

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 […] Read the rest

Ancient adventure texts at last unearthed

Leigh Alexander

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. Meretzky's carefully-kept notes—over […] Read the rest

Relive the thrill of using Windows 95 in this office simulator

Laura Hudson

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 […] Read the rest

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

Leigh Alexander

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? Read the rest

Can games exist without players?

Critical Distance

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. Read the rest

A chess set that could teach aliens how to play

Laura Hudson

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

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

Laura Hudson

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. The game Beyond Eyes can feel a little bit […] Read the rest

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

Leigh Alexander

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. Read the rest

Design a new subway system for your favorite city

Laura Hudson

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. Some of the biggest […] Read the rest

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

Leigh Alexander

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. Read the rest

These procedurally generated space bowls are killer

Laura Hudson

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. Other features of its landscape may include: mountains, trees, stones, ponds, birds, comets, planets, […] Read the rest

Relieve stress with Trumpiñata, a Donald Trump piñata app

Leigh Alexander

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

Grow plants to support your country in this wartime gardening game

Laura Hudson

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 […] Read the rest

Did you know Carl Sagan designed a game?

Critical Distance

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. Read the rest

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

Laura Hudson

"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 […] Read the rest

Going back to your hometown is hard when it's a 1986 computer game

Laura Hudson

The holidays are nigh, and with them, the annual pilgrimages made by millions back to their hometowns. For some, this is an opportunity to bask in the warm glow that radiates from the memories of their youth; for others, it's a reminder of the lives they were happy to leave behind. Homesickened is a game […] Read the rest

Try this graveyard simulator and imagine your own epitaph

Laura Hudson

Matthew Ritter's interest in epitaphs began in junior high, when a history book displayed the haunting message on the grave of an ancient Roman: "What I am you soon shall be." He started writing epitaphs of his own in the margins of his notebooks, summing up the imaginary lives of imaginary people in a few […] Read the rest

Cibele and the end of an era for internet lovers

Leigh Alexander

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

Return to the creepy thrills and intriguing puzzles of The Room

Laura Hudson

The less said about The Room 3 before you play it the better: and yet I will say things now. The award-winning puzzle series from Fireproof Games has returned for its third outing, and it's the best one yet. If you've never played the series before, the premise is pretty simple: you open elaborate puzzle […] Read the rest

An audio murder mystery game where you walk to find clues

Leigh Alexander

Wonderland is a wonderful idea for a game. It's an old-timey audio drama that lets you solve a puzzle at the and of each chapter—and if you can't, you can walk with your phone to get clues. Read the rest

Divebomb your friends in this elegant bird-jousting game

Laura Hudson

You're supposed to be a bird in Trills, a two-player jousting game by Crudepixel, but for some reason when you collide with another bird, it sounds like two swords clashing. Maybe birds can also be swords, in this beautiful, minimalist world of light gravity and elegant collisions? I'm not an expert in imaginary ornithology. You […] Read the rest