Developed by the worker owned cooperative Pixel Pushers Union 512, Tonight We Riot is a side scrolling crowd brawler with a retro-anarcho-communist aesthetic. Set in 20XX, Tonight We Riot depicts a society at breaking point under the oppression of capitalism, with the working masses living precarious lives in service of the capitalist owners whose power is entrenched through owning the media and political institutions. So pretty much like right now, without the global pandemic.
Before we go on, a big trigger warning for any reactionary readers we might have who prefer their video games to not contain politics; Tonight We Riot is unashamedly political, featuring not only women but people who are not white too.
From independent Taiwanese developer Sigono, the pair of games OPUS are linked by their common themes and aesthetic rather than their gameplay or story. Both games share themes of loneliness and hope, with characters isolated in the distant future, determined to complete a seemingly impossible task that was thrust upon them. Despite these similarities, both games can stand alone, they don’t refer to each other, and are a testament to the diversity of unique gaming experiences we’re so lucky to enjoy today.
Forty years ago, revolution swept Iran. The western backed autocrat, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was ousted from power by a popular coalition of forces and an Islamic republic, led by Allah’s apparent representative Ruhollah Khomeini, was established. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday tells the story of Black Friday, a turning point of the revolution, through the lens of fictional photo journalist Reza Shirazi. It’s less a traditional video game and more a kind of edutainment interactive historical drama, with developer iNK Stories borrowing heavily from the Telltale Games formula to immerse the player in the chaos of revolution.
Project Highrise, by Somasim Games is an unabashed homage to Yutaka “Yoot” Saito’s 1994 hit SimTower. The two games share the same premise and aesthetic, with Project Highrise’s art style firmly planted in the early 1990s. It’s a game where you’re tasked with constructing and managing a building, leasing out space to offices, shops, hotels, restaurants and apartments, with the revenue going into services for the tenants and further construction. It’s a sandbox management sim and I think it’s a really good one, but there’s a lot to talk about and the comparisons to SimTower have to be made. Continue reading “Project Highrise – A Vertical Empire”→
Sometimes I half-jokingly tell my friends I think gaming is a degenerate medium. Obviously I cannot claim to truly believe this as I spend so much of my time playing games. But really I think the lived experience of most games is that, played in excess, they are an affront to the human spirit and mind. That is because many games require you to repeat a certain enjoyable task over and over, training you to be dumber and less expectant of creativity and originality in the fictional world.
Inspired by the Jules Verne novel Around the World in Eighty Days, 80 Days is a choose-your-own-adventure game. You play as Jean Passepartout, the recently employed valet of English gentlemen Phileas Fogg who wagered that he could travel around the world in 80 days. As Passepartout, it’s up to you to pack Fogg’s bags, plan his itinerary and manage his belongings throughout the journey. Developed by British studio inkle and written by Meg Jayanth, 80 Days drenches Verne’s novel in feminist steampunk with a twist of romantic orientalism. Originally published on iPhone, 80 Days was ported to Andriod in late 2014 and eventually arrived on PC/Mac in mid 2015, this review was played on desktop version. 80 Days’s excellent writing, vibrant art and unique gameplay combine to deliver a polished game that comes highly recommended. Continue reading “80 Days”→
So there were a bunch of sales on Steam and as usual I was too tentative to buy anything. $5 for 5 indy games? But I already own two and two more of them aren’t Mac compatible! And this fifth game. VVVVVV? Is this the stupidest name ever? A more courageous friend of mine did buy the pack though and a few days ago I played it his place. The next time I could touch my computer I bought this $5 masterpiece.