The internet is a weird place. It allows us to connect to each other over vast distances, instantaneously share information, be with our loved ones across the ocean, and, sometimes, introduces swaths of people to a bizarre VN/fighting game hybrid that is tangentially related to one of the most massive anime-media empires we’ve seen since the inception of Dragon Ball. Of course, I’m talking about the expanded universe known as the “Nasuverse”.
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Change does not come of complacency. Witches know this; their craft is that of action. Nestled in the heart of the city, one of them steps out of their dwelling to a dystopic city block: propaganda lines the walls, morose denizens wander aimless, homeless shiver street-side.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Urban Legends, Myths, Scary Stories, Surreal Tales of the darkness that lurks behind the window and in the shrouded corners of our homes; these so very often form the life blood of our design ambitions, but are we truly doing them justice?
It’s been a popular trend ever since the famous found footage thriller Marble Hornets to make rapid adaptions of the often fascinating concepts and urban legends that have their genesis in the online public domain of anonymous forums and social media. However, it is this very trend which kicked off a seemingly endless assembly line of content, churning the latest viral meme of terror du jour into a cynical cash-in soon to be found in the dark alleyways of Steam recommendations and forgotten itch.io tags, with only a handful of genuine gems cropping up from time to time. This isn’t to say that interactive media is alone in this trend, television and radio have a longstanding tradition of revitalizing the most haunting stories in our collective subconscious across multiple decades, bringing us works like Sci-Fi’s Channel Zero which seek to create direct adaptations of work pulled from stories found on the notorious imageboards of the late 2000s.
I’ve been playing a lot of RUST lately, and it’s left me reflecting on both the works of Joseph Conrad and the various interpretations they’ve inspired. We talk a lot in games about how the subject of violence deserves far more scrutiny in whatever form it takes- Jingoism, Gore, Abuse, but we have a strong tendency in critical analysis to overlook the systematic violence that is perpetuated through the context of the material itself.
If Metal Gear Solid and Spec Ops: The Line are anti-war critiques, then I would wager that the likes of Far Cry 2 or Cryostasis are more in line with the original thesis of Conrad’s subtext, one also found within the core of Coppala’s interpretation: the prevailing focus on the liminal and transformative nature of warfare. One cannot go through war, either as an individual or a society, without drastically altering one’s super-ego (the self-critical consciousness) and their general perspective on life and the world at large.
It’s a recent trend in online folk horror to rapidly adapt those whispers from social media aggregates like Reddit, imageboards, and forums into short films and games. The Backrooms are a famous example, still palpable in the current zeitgeist, now blossoming in horror game jams or bespoke developer catalogues, such as PuppetCombo’s newly announced entry.
“If you’re not careful and you noclip out of reality in the wrong areas, you’ll end up in the Backrooms, where it’s nothing but the stink of old moist carpet, the madness of mono-yellow, the endless background noise of fluorescent lights at maximum hum-buzz, and approximately six hundred million square miles of randomly segmented empty rooms to be trapped in
God save you if you hear something wandering around nearby, because it sure as hell has heard you”
– Anonymous /x/ board user, source: Knowyourmeme.com
Darting between overhangs, I’m desperate to put distance between myself and the security drone on the other side of the road. Raining, again, but I need space. My battery is running low already, but I can see batteries just one more building away. Not wanting to risk it draining while waiting for the rain to subside, I choose to sprint from this dilapidated sanctuary to the next. The rain proves too corrosive, however, and spells my end. I collapse in the street before my vision goes dark. Time to try again.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for Can Androids Pray and features discussions of derealization and suicide.
Across the war-torn battlefield, mechanized corpses lay smoking, holding bodies inside like metal sarcophagi. Craters scar the wastes, reminders of the convulsions of humanity sparring for unnamed ideations. In a pocket at the edges, two Venusian Confederacy fighters lie locked up and damaged. Servos burnt out, they stare at each other alongside the wreckage of a Mercury Protectorate soldier, a reminder of who caused their downfall. Here, in their last moments, a momentary rest is found between these two in their solitude.
Here’s what you’ve all been waiting for! The list of the contributors to the meditations project who reached out to us with their details. We encourage you wholeheartedly to give the list a thorough look, the developers here are doing fantastic work, and we think you’ll find more than one or two projects that’ll just brighten up your day!
We reached out for comment from Rami Ismail and Jupiter Hadley regarding their thoughts on the meditations project and how it’s been handled. Here are their thoughts.
We’ve been very interested in the actual workings of the meditations.games project, how the crediting system put in place came to be, and the level of social media reception that developers involved with the project experienced, so we reached out to multiple developers involved with the project for their input. Below you’ll find the second batch of interviews we conducted with the developers who did not opt to be included in the partial credits list for the project, and what they had to say.