Indie games roundup!
The best from the independent dev scene
In this Critical Distance digest, I'm bringing you three little collections of pieces published in the past week about some of the latest hit indie games. We'll be exploring action movie pacing, the awkwardness of interactivity, and how to make the familiar feel terrifying.
SuperhotThe release of Superhot has many reviewers drawing comparisons with action movies, not simply because of its violent content which directly draws on hit films, but because of the way that pacing and the gaze are used.
Superhot review | Eurogamer.net Christian Donlan considers dramatic tension and Superhot
"Turns out there is a killer trick to creating hyper-violent entertainment: do the slow stuff fast, and the fast stuff slow."
‘Superhot’ Is the Shooter Game for People Who Hate Shooter Games | VICE | United Kingdom Ed Smith explains why Superhot appeals to a different play style than other shooters SUPERHOT Review Impressions | ZAM
AnatomyKitty Horrorshow's latest release Anatomy is inspiring thrilling discussions of the meaning and experience of a house.
Uninterpretative | Short on Games: January/February 2016 How Anatomy sees the house as a body
"The theory of houses espoused in Anatomy is of the house as body. The tapes tell the story of living room as heart, bathroom as digestive tract, bedroom as mind, and basement as subconscious."
ANATOMY Review Impressions | ZAM Claris Cyarron looks at Anatomy from her perspective as an architect and game designer (full disclosure: Claris and I have a close professional and personal relationship).
FirewatchInteresting discussions about Firewatch have continued apace weeks after its initial launch, with some critics starting to push beyond the "walking sim" label to look at how actions centered around technology provide tactility, as well as how some interactive elements undermine it.
How Firewatch hearkens back to relationships on the early internet | Gamasutra (Content warning: spoilers) Kat Cross describes the interpersonal intimacy of Firewatch through the terms of another medium.
"Cibele takes on the online dimension of this phenomenon forthrightly, but Firewatch abstracts it away from even the mediating force of the Internet, instead exploring all the other ways we can have ineffable but meaningful contact with human life."
Firewatch Debrief | Experience Points: EXP Podcast #366: How Firewatch uses the physicality and immediacy of videogames for storytelling Bad Hands in Firewatch | Pippin Barr Pippin Barr offers an amusing critique that seems to have been missed in most writing on it so far (note, I'm sure the problem raised is a technical issue that will be patched in future, but I like this narrativist reading of its effect on the experience.) If that hasn't sated your thirst for great discussions on games, check out the Critical Distance website to find the full-length roundup, our podcast on neglected games which you should not miss, and more.
To those unfamiliar with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, it suffices to say that it’s the blandest and goofiest of a game series otherwise famed for overcoming the creative limitations of its whitebread genre fantasy setting. So to those unfamiliar with Oblivion, these startlingly accurate parodies of its AI behavior may be bafflingly dorky and […]
Magali Barbé’s short film Strange Beasts depicts a futuristic augmented reality product for kids and parents — a piece of design fiction with a serious sting it its tail. (via Beyond the Beyond)
Pippin Barr (previously) created a game that presents itself as a Windows 3-ish desktop from about 25 years ago. Mash away at each task in It Is As If You Were Doing Work until you win promotions and break time, wherein Breakout may be played. “I positioned It is as if you were doing work […]
The Fader Stealth Quadcopter from TRNDlabs packs incredible flight performance into a package small enough to land on your phone screen, and it’s available now in the Boing Boing Store.The Fader’s six-axis gyroscope module gives it perfect balance in the air. This makes the onboard 720p HD camera all the better for shooting amazing flight […]
Although fully autonomous vehicles aren’t yet allowed on public streets, they are poised to dominate the roads in the not-too-distant future. But before that happens, Apple, Google, Uber, and other companies now investing in self-driving tech are going to need talented developers that can account for the dizzying array of factors at play when a […]
The PiCar-V learning kit comes with everything you need to build a Python-powered robot, and it’s currently being offered in the Boing Boing Store.