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.
The 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
Kitty 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).
Interesting 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.
Seriously impressive game-inspired stitching project right here.
In Untitled Goose Game, you are the goose: an irascible, annoying, hostile bird waddling around the environs of your pond, attacking children and ruining things. It’s a lovely morning in the village, and you are a horrible goose. Makes me think of a cross between Katamari Damacy and Postal. It’s made by Aussie developer House […]
Lily’s Garden is a variant of Candy Crush, a brainlessly addictive match-three smartphone game. The thing that makes Lily’s Garden different, says Brian Feldman of New York’s Intelligencer, is its bizarre ad campaign, which has Lily telling her friend about the penis size of men she knows, and magically erasing her pregnancy by swiping away […]
Studies have shown cannabidiol (more popularly known as CBD) to be effective in two main areas: Pain relief and stress relief. Both of those make the non-psychoactive, cannabis-derived compound a natural for topical creams. There’s no shortage of CBD products out there, but here’s eight of our favorites, all specifically designed for dermatological use – […]
If you’re part of the maker community, you know Make:. Though Make: magazine is off the shelves as of this year, the eBooks and resources put out by Maker Media are still a fantastic resource for the new generation of tinkerers, hackers, and robotics geeks. If you’re in that tribe, listen up: they’ve released a […]
Life isn’t getting any less hectic, and pressure cookers are a quick, healthy solution for a growing number of kitchens. But if you thought your Instant Pot was versatile, there’s a major upgrade on the market: The Yedi 9-in-1 Total Package Instant Programmable Pressure Cooker. If you’ve somehow never used a pressure cooker before, try […]