Bookstores are a special kind of consumptive hell, their walls insulated with the drab unending detritus of bygone publishing trends. Countless tomes wash up upon the shelves where Graphic Designers trade in their enthusiasm for cynical cash-ins to survive, their work adorning the latest innovations in shallow pop-philosophy, tacky comic books disguised as ‘novels’, and ahistorical biographies that skip over all the messy bits. Yet here you are, still browsing them in an endless mobius strip of indecisiveness, stuck wandering between the trite poetry and the robust offerings of wizard fan fiction, trying to find something compelling for dear old dad.
The Great Engine has ground to a halt, parts are missing, smoke is everywhere! Is that guy’s hair on fire??? The inner workings are so incomprehensible, it’ll take years of expert analysis to figure out how to fix all of this. Panic! Fish! Despair!
Well, the economy aside, there is some good news: your time machine is broken, and that’s waaaay easier to understand how to fix.
Our protagonist crash lands on a distant star, trapped on a sandy beach with nothing but determination and a trusty spherical lifeboat. As the calm waters lap against the shores, The Seeker takes a moment to center herself and steel her courage, embarking on her journey at dawn to recover the remains of the spacecraft to build a new future on.. Aquamarine.
A colorful rubber ball bounces past, immediately drawing your focus and illustrating the short lived nature of your fledgling autonomy against your newly formed limbic system. Play, at this point, is far more important than any budding sense of self-awareness.. such a vivid color, so squishy… it even bounces… You could toy with it for hours on end and never lose any satisfacti- Is that Mister Caterpillar? He’s so green…
Lurching towards the plastic green structure adorned with egg-shell colored “eyes” to provide animistic illusion, you fumble and fall over… you’re still getting the hang of this walking thing after all, that’s what mum keeps telling you at least.
A distant figure by the back yard gate catches your vision, an animal like silhouette announced with an audibly heavy breathing sound… is this a new friend you wonder. But before you can investigate this character, mum calls out to come inside to get ready for snacks, and the good child that you are you head in paying no mind to the mysterious new friend.
It was meant to be a simple case Pay my rent, get me outta the rat race But I’m starting to think I’m out of my depth And it might just mean my horrible, untimely death Trying to get out of here, but it’s no use And for the love of God, the name’s not Pimplemoose!
Musicals are a time-honoured tradition in both theater and cinema, but sadly, the artform has seldom made the jump to video games. Dominique Pamplemousse by Squinky, however, happily bucks this trend with a foray into the even rarer musical noir subgenre. You control the titular gumshoe as they sing their way down the rabbit hole of a case full of intrigue, deception, delinquent landlords, autotuning, and brutal student debt.
Sitting in your car, you take a deep breath in a vain attempt to mellow your nervous tics and anxiety. You’ve been showing up increasingly earlier to your store over the past month, you lie to yourself that you’re just playing it safe to avoid rush hour traffic, but deep down you realize it’s become harder and harder to work up the nerve to walk through those doors.
Sitting there in a moment of numb serenity as the clock ticks closer to the top of the hour, you shut off the engine, the radio cutting out after half a second. As soon as the cold silence of the car interior hits, your stomach drops and the anxiety comes flooding in: Time to start your shift.
There’s a common trans experience of wishing you could see your future self, the self you want to be. This experience blossoms, over time, into the earnest wish that you could send your younger self a message in a bottle telling them how everything will change, and who they will become.
Watering a Flower by Lily Belmira is a perfect encapsulation of both sides of this experience, at once presenting a small, safe place for her younger self to seek out the wisdom and reassurance of her older self, nurturing them with kindness, understanding, and hope, while also allowing the older side of herself to reflect upon the events of her past and reify all of those precious memories eked away by time or necessity.
The skeezy little rats under the bleachers smoke their cigarettes in blissful ignorance, not realizing the extractor fan is on full blast putting them on Mr. Mahoney’s war path. With Suzy nowhere to be found, you’re stuck playing errand boy for the jokers, wannabes, and wall-flowers, slowly drip-fed a goose chase for your high school sweetheart.
[Content Warning: Discussions of death, murder, trans/queerphobia, exorcisms, religious and familial abandonment, and teenage pregnancy.]
Disclaimer: Mx Medea was apprenticed under a pastor in the protestant church for several years.
As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…
There is a monster here, although not the one charging at me from the treeline, nor the one hovering towards me with supposedly murderous intent, instead the monster is more austere, more insidious, more indignant. This demon wears a clerical collar, waves aloft a crucifix, and is absolutely convicted that what he is doing is not only acceptable, but the will of a completely just and loving God. Today, his God says to kill.
FAITH, by Airdorf, is a retro-styled game that leans heavily upon Exorcist horror tropes that compliment the simple style quite well by framing the expected archetypes clearly within the mind of the player by evoking already established characters. It’s a well-made horror game that stays true to its roots and will definitely make you more afraid of a white pixel-monster charging towards you than any game since Ski Free.