Notes on Desert Dreamer: Guilt-Free Fun

Desert Dreamer is a short and sweet musical game by Derek Andes, made for the Mystical Western Game Jam hosted by Juegos Rancheros on itch.io. Or, to be more accurate, Andes describes his piece as being more of a “musical plant toy” than a game. In that sense, it’s reminiscent of other kinds of browser […]

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Screenshot - Sacramento

Notes on Sacramento: Dreaming in Watercolour

Sacramento is a small game by French developer Dziff that, for lack of a better term, I’ll call a walking simulator. For some that reads as pejorative or dismissive of what the game has to offer—whether in its story, atmosphere, general aesthetic, or anything else that might resonate with a player—but I mean it as […]


Notes on Thoughts and Prayers: The Problem with An Empty Gesture

Thoughts and Prayers: The Game  is a political satire game that does exactly nothing, which is what it’s supposed to do. Brought to us by GOP Arcade, a newsgame development studio co-founded by Brian Moore, Chris Baker and Michael Lacher, Thoughts and Prayers: The Game was released in 2016 following the Orlando shooting that left […]

Screenshot - Thoughts and Prayers title screen

Screenshot - Pokemon Red

Distraction, Consumption, Identity: The Neoliberal Language of Videogames

In passing I’ve referred to the videogame industry as neoliberalism’s hideous nephew. Artist Liz Ryerson has gone into more depth on this sentiment; she’s written at length to this effect on her blog, and tweeted that “the language of videogames is neoliberalism” not long ago. It’s an easy observation to make, so plenty of critics […]


Guest Post: The Videogame and The Oracle

By Henrique Antero Henrique Antero is a Brazilian writer who would probably have a hard time distinguishing between a bug and a message from the gods. He is trying to string words into coherent sentences—but rarely on his Twitter, where you can reach him @erniquoa. I’ve always had a major problem making up my mind, […]

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Prince Had A Videogame, Here’s How You Can Run It

Prince Interactive came out in 1994, during a brief period where everyone and their dog had a CD-ROM game. In the same period between 1994-1998, CD-ROM games were released by the likes of Peter Gabriel, Laurie Anderson and DEVO, as much for creative and experimental purposes as for promotional ones. As a graphic puzzle adventure […]


Notes on Military-Industrial Complex: Finger on the Button

REPVBLIC’s Military-Industrial Complex attempts to pull off the notoriously difficult task of creating a trenchant, coherent and funny political satire in the context of a videogame. It resembles, in some ways, a Mason Lindroth game: aesthetically, it reflects that grainy black-and-white palette and texture typical of Lindroth, but in more of a topical, pop art […]

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Notes on Shadow of the Red Hand: Gesture as Fable

From a ludic point of view, Andrew Wang’s Shadow of the Red Hand is a fairly conventional platformer. It’s short, having been made in a weekend for Ludum Dare 35, and can be played in a matter of minutes, and it does what it’s supposed to. Entertain yourself for a spell by running right for […]


Notes on Cho-Am: The Myth of Closure

[TW: discussion of genocidal violence, exploitation] My body is nearly featureless and glowing like a light bulb. I think I’m tall; I’m definitely bald. My expression is fixedly placid, a little dreamy. I’m not sure if I’m some kind of ghost, but it feels ephemeral. Nothing feels particularly solid or permanent. The camera is generally […]

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Notes on CUBEISM: Shapes of Grey

CUBEISM is a browser-based Unity game by Pat Stefaniak (a.k.a Sutopat) consisting of, as the itch.io page describes it, one cube and multiple cameras. It loads to a low thrumming drone, like the hum of a cathode ray tube, while in fact two grey cubes of equal size appear projected on a black background. Using […]