Publisher: Quantic Dream
Developer: Quantic Dream
Platform: Windows, PS4
Detroit opens in an elevator as we see Connor (an android whose manufacturer contracts with the police department) flip a quarter back and forth at dizzying speed between his hands. The moment the familiar ding notifies Connor he’s reached his destination, we watch the quarter stop between two fingers, Washington’s face shining with perfect detail. The scene is totally unnecessary, but it sent chills up my spine and my anticipation through the roof. I was not disappointed.
Continue reading Detroit: Become Human →
Publisher: Brian Fargo
Developer: Brian Fargo
Platform: PC Booter, Apple II
I played this as a child and never got out of the first area. I figured I was young and impatient and decided to revisit this with additional forbearance and wisdom. I got exactly as far as I did thirty-five years ago before pulling up a walkthrough.
Continue reading Demon’s Forge →
Platform: DOS, Apple II, Mac, Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad, Commodore 64, TRS-80
Playing a tomb raider is a perfect setting for a text adventure, and there’s so many things about this game that Infocom got right. Unfortunately, I just didn’t have a lot of fun while playing.
Continue reading Infidel →
Platform: DOS, Mac, Amiga, Commodore 128, Atari ST, Apple II
On the heels of A Mind Forever Voyaging, Infocom told another story about a nightmare future brought down on us by power and hubris. But rather than a projected future brought along by Reaganomics (which is still pretty damn accurate, dangit), this game explores the impacts of Project Trinity, the first detonation of an atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert. While the examination of atomic history is impressively accurate and subtly powerful, the game itself gets in the way, with the fallout leaving a pernicious impact on its emotional resonance.
Continue reading Trinity →
Developer: Fullbright Company
Publisher: Fullbright Company
Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PS4, Linux, Mac, Luna
I am a sucker for games about abandoned science stations. So needless to say I was delighted firing up Tacoma, where you must explore an abandoned space station to collect all the data on what went wrong. And while the plot mechanic remains engaging throughout, unfortunately the story holds no surprises.
Continue reading Tacoma →
Developer: HitherYon Games
Despite the tantalizing and highly suggestive title, murder is just game on in this point-and-click mystery. And yet it is indeed game over soon enough, not only for the victim but also for the player in what turns out to be a highly abbreviated experience. The murder occurs in the prologue as we learn that a rich video game designer has been offed shortly after a tense board meeting and a confrontation with protesters. What follows is a classic whodunit with eight suspects, a detective, and his clue-sniffing canine. Clocking in at just over an hour, its ease of play and charm may satisfy those looking for a casual diversion, but it’s not nearly deep or difficult enough for those looking for a more substantial game.
Continue reading Murder Is Game Over →
Developer: Adam Robinson-Yu
Publisher: Adam Robinson-Yu
Platform: Windows, Xbox One, PS4, Switch, Linux, Mac
My five year-old daughter saw this game on my desktop and asked if we could play it. Fifteen minutes later, my ten-year old son joined us. I had to slow the game down a bit so I could read aloud everything to my daughter, and they doled out advice on what I should do. Two hours of giggling later, we finished it together. And it is one of the best gaming experiences of my lifetime.
Continue reading A Short Hike →
Developer: Don’t Nod
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Windows, Xbox, iOS, Android, Mac
I came for the time travel. I stayed for Maxine and Chloe.
Life is Strange begins in media res, our hero Maxine Caufield alone in her thoughts in the middle of a photography lecture at the esteemed Blackwell Academy, a private art school for ambitious high school students. After being admonished by her professor and teased by the class bully, she plugs in her headphones and heads for the bathroom. There she witnesses the murder of another student, and following an emotional outburst of fear and anger, finds herself back in the same photography lecture ten minutes prior, with just enough time to prevent the murder from happening.
Continue reading Life is Strange →
Developer: Half Mermaid
Publisher: Half Mermaid
Platform: Windows, Xbox, iOS, Android, Mac
One daunting goal for any game designer is ensuring the player experiences the story as intended while affording them enough agency to experience it at their own pace. Immortality is the third interactive film by Sam Barlow, following Her Story and Telling Lies, the common thread between them being that their narratives are pieced together nonchronologically at the behest of the player. Much like shuffling a deck of cards, no two players will experience these games in the same order, with just a few major reveals held back until a majority of their respective tales have been told. More ambitiously than its predecessors, Immortality successfully manages to tell several stories all at once. While the audience for the stories themselves may be somewhat limited due to the nature of the material, the game as a whole is another impressive achievement of game design in filmmaking.
Continue reading Immortality →
Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Switch, tvOS
The ending isn’t any more important than the events leading up to it.
To the Moon is near highly regarded and nearly every review you’ll see is from a dude who cried or became otherwise really emotional while played. While it didn’t hit me as much as most, it is indeed a lovely little interactive story that just about anyone would enjoy.
Continue reading To the Moon →
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