RE:BIND

Browsing category: Overviews

Consider a video game, in the abstract. Knowing nothing of it, save for that it is, in fact, a video game, what inference can be made about the player’s objective? At this level, the constant is, approximately, invert some transistors somewhere. Nothing between the player and those transistors is yet implied; the imposition of artistic will or complex structure is not yet given. What we can say, however, is that a game implies play, and we do happen to be dealing with a game. To quote:

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.

Carl Jung, Psychological Types, CW vol 6. #197


This is as good a place to mention it as any: This piece is really best read after Part 1, so feel free to click here if you need to catch up.


Read the rest of this article »

Of course it has a level editor, but we’ll get to that.

DROD is, at every turn, a hard sell. Mind, this is not for lack of ingenious, deceptively simple design, of boundless character and charm, nor of literal hundreds of hours of play across its main story. No, it has all of those in spades; rather, it is as World’s Greatest Salesman Danforth Strout freely admits:

Can confirm personally, on both fronts.

Gushing about DROD to any coherent effect is worse than trying to get someone into your favourite obscure band, or, in other terms, it’s as tortuously difficult as the game itself. How, then, shall we do this legacy, spanning across 28 years at time of writing, justice? Where, oh where, dear reader, shall we start? Per the wisdom of Maria von Trapp, why, where else than the very beginning?

Read the rest of this article »

Long ago, Nvidia’s new GPU brought us physics engine acceleration and with it we were promised a golden era of new exciting titles that would feature destructibility, fluid simulation, and heavy usage of particles that reacted to their environments. Few, if any, of these came to pass, but one game prominently featured in a popular tech demo was an indie title called Cryostasis: Sleep Of Reason by the small Ukranian Studio, Action Forms.

There was so much more to Cryostasis than water physics, but unfortunately, despite the positive PR brought on by the tech demo video it suffocated by the high expectations it had set. With high technical requirements that had befallen other games of note, like Crysis, combined with poor optimization, it was another release from a small publisher that became lost in the noise of the industry, falling into relative obscurity to the point that it is no longer even available on steam due to lapsed licensing agreements.

Read the rest of this article »

I’ve heard of redstone in minecraft, but this is ridiculous.

I like RUST and I think it’s one of the most innovative and exciting multiplayer survival games out there. Simple game design gives way to a relatively robust desert isle experience, this combined with the intersection of systems helps lend RUST its compelling campfire story qualities. If you haven’t played it in years it really is a vastly different game now and worth another go, but the game still has.. problems, a lot of them.

Read the rest of this article »

Growing up my family didn’t have a lot of spare money to throw at the newest releases, so a pass-time favorite of myself and my father was rummaging through a diverse range of demo discs picked up on various expeditions into town. These discs often contained standalone shareware experiences, or delightful samplers from an entire publisher’s catalog.

One of these offerings I found myself enamored with was one of Microsoft’s Motocross Madness titles, a dirt bike rally game that offered (for the time) satisfying and compelling physics. It was two pieces of forbidden fruit in one- the hardware intensive simulation qualities of a racing game, and the mystique of dangerous rally motorbikes. My family was incredibly dubious of the concept of motorcycles, fearing the many urban myths and folklore surrounding them as inevitable bringers of death, but to me they were a fascinating invitation to dance with joy and mortality.

Read the rest of this article »

(CW: Implied Cannibalism, Themes of Animal Cruelty)

It is astoundingly rare that I find a gameplay loop this compelling in any title, commercial or otherwise, yet Dan Mullins has managed to deliver something so mouth-wateringly enticing that it’s impossible to resist.

Known for Pony Island, Mullins is an experimental game designer that produces juicy Ludum Dare entries that push the boundaries of presentation and remind us what Game Jams should strive to accomplish.

Read the rest of this article »

When I was younger there was a strange atmosphere to exploring the internet, the heady sensation of an explorer standing on the edge of the world. You could find the most fascinating places to delve into and map out through obscure web forums, conversations with friends who would drop mysterious locations that they had discovered themselves in your lap, or even a spiraling web of Wikipedia notations.

It was on one of these early web-dives that I, entirely by chance, came across Knytt Stories, a seemingly little known game series by Swedish developer Nicklas Nygren (@Nifflas on twitter). The series had multiple fantastic main entries with countless pages of fan-made content that I spent the next month playing through, one after another.

Knytt Stories, or geocities? You decide.

Read the rest of this article »

At first glance, Spirits of Xanadu isn’t quite the same as Good Morning, Commander‘s previous entry, King Of The Wood which built a functional allegory for the premise of Bladerunner. It was an insightful, simplified meditation on taking a synthetic life as an impactful moment for the player, as well as a stylistic bedrock for Spirits Of Xanadu to build upon.

As a spiritual successor, Xanadu may come across as a clumsy shooter, but this is an intentional, stylistic choice. The clunky combat incites a sense of dread, serving both to set it apart from the genre of walking simulator and to maintain a healthy level of tension.

Read the rest of this article »

Intruder doesn’t really strike me as well-known despite the warm reception it has gotten from developers. It’s not often you ever see it mentioned or cropping up on twitter, which is a shame considering how forward thinking it is from a design perspective.

We’re a big fan of Immersive Sims at Rebind (I can’t think of many critical analysis sites for games that aren’t) but the genre is very under-represented in the multiplayer department. Because of this, it’s easy to think of Intruder as a Counter-Strike or SWAT variant.

SuperBoss has put in a lot fore-thought into the balance of their game through unconventional gadgets and mechanics like security cameras, mirrors, and the ability to be knocked off balance. If anything, the game has a lineage more in line with early rainbow six entries’ emphasis on finite tactical considerations, or games like Due Process and Project Reality spin-off SQUAD.

Read the rest of this article »

In our previous Weekend Roundup, we mentioned that @tall_shrimp‘s Philosophy Game Jam had just finalized entrants for the voting round. As promised, we ponder the most troubling dilemmas this side of the trolley problem:

(Content Warning: Given the heavy themes of self-harm, nihilism, and death in some of these titles, please proceed with caution if you don’t have an appetite for such themes. We will provide individual content warnings per title, as some are not as heavy.)

Read the rest of this article »