RE:BIND

It’s become something of an in-joke within the greater games community that Nintendo is not an entity to be trifled with. Between DMCA notices against ROM sites and fangames utilizing their IPs, attempting to tango with the corporate monstrosity has a predictable end. It makes sense from a business perspective: Nintendo doesn’t want anyone marring the oh-so-marketable franchises they’ve produced over the years, and they certainly don’t want anyone accessing their creations without paying for them, regardless of the ability people have to legally play them.

Enter the bootleg. Where demand was not met by the official channels of distribution, pirate groups took it upon themselves to fill the niche. Creating their own cartridges with ripped games implanted, these groups would sell their wares on a black market at a far more affordable price and with a greater selection than typically available in these areas. Naturally, the companies these pirates were profiting off of were none too pleased with their actions.

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AI Dungeon 2 – By Nick Walton

This article was written using AI Dungeon 2, a procedural generated natural language narrative generator, prior to it going offline. Stitched together from multiple playsessions, it seemed appropriate to use the game to talk about itself as an experiment.

You are Emily Rose, a detective living in Chicago. You have a pistol and a police badge. You enter the forest where you believe the criminal you’re searching for fled to. Suddenly, you hear a gunshot behind yo

move to Seattle

You turn around and see that the man who shot at you is still there. He’s standing right behind you with his gun drawn.

“I’m sorry,” he says. “It was an accident”.

visit seattle

You walk into the city of Seattle and find that it has changed since you last saw it. The buildings are taller, and people are more active than they were when you left. There are even signs of violence here. A few bullet holes can be seen on the walls of some buildings

rent an apartment

You go to the rental office and ask for an apartment. They tell you that they don’t accept new applicants until tomorrow morning. You decide to wait until then. After all, you’re going to need your sleep

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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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“How long have I been alone?”

“My entire life I suppose. How old am I now? God, like it even matters anymore, what’s the point of keeping track when you’re just running down the clock? I can hear them scrabbling about out there, in the mist, the damned impenetrable mist, I can always hear them. I can’t get that note out of my head. Is it even worth the risk of trying to get to the top of the Solar Cathedral? … Fuck it, maybe for once in my life I can finally know what it’s like to not be alone.”

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The dudes big on discourse.
(Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, Troika Games, 2014)

Just what is a Thin-Blood, anyway? According to some in the lore of Bloodlines, they’re fledgling kindred with a tenuous connection to their forebears, earlier generations of the clans aren’t just more powerful but necessarily more in tune with their origins and the primal energy that drives them. Bloodlines has it’s own in-universe equivalent stand in for the apocalypse for all kindred- the belief that the grand ancestors of yore will once again rise from their slumber only to consume their descendants as the blood runs so thin as to be impotent and dry.

Exhaustive repetition of a concept, once-unique traits with diminishing returns, the newest members inducted into invisible, involuntary social pacts with unwritten etiquette that has visible and harsh consequences for failing to correctly guess them, a paranoid fear of the end times, the belief that the most affected fledglings somehow portend such an ever-present, overshadowing threat. Petty politics, presumed loyalty to an unelected prince, anarchs running rampant, violent sabbat overthrowing all around them to establish furious fiefdoms. Is any of this sounding familiar? If not, it should- in a sense, we’re living it right now.

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The 3rd Night – By Asteristic Game Studio

While there is no shortage of games inspired by playstation era horror titles like Silent Hill or Resident evil, there is a shortage of games that know how to do it well. It goes far beyond simple graphical pastiches, or emulating the quirky flaws of the technical limitations of the time, one has to dive deeply within to the production values instilled in a generation of game developers long past in our rear view mirrors. We can easily recognize as an audience that films done in 16mm require a vastly different technical implementation than contemporary digital cameras used today.

The 3rd Night takes a different approach than most of its contemporaries, instead diving more deeply into the nuanced production values that put those classic titles on the map in the first place.

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How has it come to this? As far as I can see from my apartment, lofted high above the deserted streets — save a car or two — there’s nothing. Nothing but property management companies and liquor stores. A never-ending sprawl of grey, lifeless, dead nothing. Why bother? Another rejection letter from another application to another company. The bills pile high, high, higher and I drown. The rain outside trickles through the cracks in the walls. I check the fridge for a bite, decide against it. But, even after walking away from the kitchen, the hunger in my stomach bares knots that demand something be put in there. I go back, take another look: empty. Ah. Right.

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The kind of game that hurts to play for all the right reasons. (Homesickened 2015 – by Snapman)

Is home a physical space or a state of mind? Then again, maybe it’s the feeling of booting up a long-forgotten machine, comforting clicking churrs audible as an ancient magnetic platter spins to life. This is, in my experience, the real homeland for many of our generation, a world locked within the shifting grains of decaying binary, digits, and bits left to erode like so many distant ancestral abodes.

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