RE:BIND

A requiem for the unique and the whimsical.

Throughout the personal computer revolution, the landscape was awash with architectures. Z80. 68000. PowerPC. SPARC. MIPS. Everyone wanted a piece of the pie, and innovation looked radically different across the board. By the turn of the century, however, the market had collectively settled on Intel’s x86. At a stretch, one may buy an Intel machine distinguished by, one: having a picture of a fruit on it, and two: the ability to run an operating system with a picture of a fruit on it.

It was inevitable that game consoles would meet the same fate.

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As the guitar solo kicks in, the landscape in front of you shifts. Barren crags of rock erupt into fluttering red ribbons, ascending to the heavens. Your trio pushes forward nonetheless, unabated by the explosion of colors. In a few moments, the track comes to an end, and you’re whisked away to another landscape. Words fade in and out overhead, or trail behind as footprints, a song of solitude pressed against a new backdrop of kaleidoscopic gems and whirring panels.

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Jumpstarting the modern understanding of survival horror, 1996’s Resident Evil set the standard for what could be achieved with the right mixture of tension, tight item management, and puzzles. A breath of fresh air amongst the unending torrent of platformers and JRPGs, Resident Evil would quickly find itself subject to the commodity machine that is the blockbuster video game market. Beyond countless sequels over the subsequent years, the true legacy of Resident Evil is in its copycats, however stripped they may be of director Shinji Mikami’s deliberate pacing, use of lavish pre-rendered backgrounds, and spot-on attention to crafting tension. Stripping away Mikami’s direction left the core of the experience: the nail-biting agony of clunky controls and piss-poor item management.

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VR screenshots are square, so it’s hard to get something both representative and sensibly-proportioned. This, we think, gives a good first impression.

A Piece of the Universe, which will henceforth referred to as APOTU for brevity, is a VR diorama developed by naam, wherein the player explores, as the title suggests, a little piece of the universe, learning about its absent resident and discovering the strange reality contained within. It spoke to a number of us, affirming that VR can produce something truly special and heretofore impossible. We had the good fortune to sit down with naam on video call and conduct an interview, and it’s our pleasure to share a transcript, full of insights about APOTU and beyond.

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Ken George develops The Technician, “a VR action puzzle game about hacking your way through security systems”, wherein the player must rewire logic circuits and, if the wrong wire is tripped, defend against hostile armed guards. After a brilliantly fun demo, with live developer commentary to boot, we sat down with Ken to discuss the game and its development.

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