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Browsing posts from: December 2019

Bleakstead – By Valerie Dusk

It has becoming increasingly clear that there’s a sort of sub-genre brewing within microindie horror; The Norwood Suite, Bleakstead, Definition Of A Ghuest, and The Space Between all represent an undercurrent manifesting as a new subgenre. These pieces rely on their environments to relay tension instead of leaning on terrifying enemies or a tense narrative. This dream-like quality cultivated through queasy nightmarish vibes can render these games jarringly off-putting for many, both seemingly too acerbic for the gentle palette of most audiences, and at the same time too subtle for the adrenaline thirsty thrill-seekers.

Bleakstead’s outstanding presence finally gives some clarity to what makes this blossoming movement so special.

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I feel sick. It’s my third time in this room, and I still can’t stomach the way it stretches in and out, walls pulsating, music thumping. The drink in my hand is going stale; despite my body’s best efforts to refuse, I down the rest of the swill and push through the crowd of gyrating rats. I think I’m gonna puke. I overhear one passerby shouting to a friend, “A game? A downloadable game?”

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[Content Warning: This piece is pretty gay. Discussion of sex scenes, smoochin’, and how we view gender as a society ensues. Genitals are also discussed.]

Trying to sum up the average college experience always comes across as trite, belittling, or painting in strokes too broad to relate with most folks. For many, it’s the first time away from parents or familiar friends, thrust into a world of responsibility and curiosity. It’s a vulnerable time rife with shameless self-indulgence in an effort to explore the horizons of oneself to understand who you want to be. Ultimately, it’s a life-event that can define a lot of a person’s future for the next several years, and one that is all too often summed up in stoner comedies or coming-of-age dramas intent to approach the topic with nothing more than a navel-gazing story made up of cheap morals and feel-good solutions.

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