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Connection via Control: Thirteen Gates

13. December 2012

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Thirteen Gates is a strangely disorienting first-person exploration game by Ian Snyder that withholds most of the normal cues of a 3D space. There is none of the lighting, depth of field, texture mapping, or atmospheric effects that might normally aid a player in perceiving depth and perspective. A "spiritual successor" to one of Snyder's previous games Feign, Thirteen Gates takes his minimalist first-person experiments one step further, creating a world so abstracted that, without player movement, the world becomes completely unrecognizable as an interactive space:

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Fotonica

2. September 2011

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Fotonica is a fast-paced, first-person, rail running game developed by Italian game design studio Santa Ragione, made up of Pietro Righi Riva and Nicolò Tedeschi. Its visual style is a psychedelic throwback to vector arcade classics like Tempest and cult console favorites like REZ and Space Giraffe:

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TRAUMA

11. August 2011

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TRAUMA is a unique first person point-and-click adventure game where the environment is assembled from augmented photography instead of conventional 3D graphics. The mood is dark and surreal, as the player explores mysterious dreams of a character that has fallen victim to an automobile accident, filled with hints of her past and clues to her present condition:

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Dutch Angles

8. August 2011

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Dutch Angles is a simple sidescrolling arcade game created by Yuliy Vigdorchik and Benjamin Esposito, submitted for the Lunarcade Factory game jam in April 2011. The theme of the jam was "Lines". Dutch Angles presents what is essentially a 2D game in a more dynamic 3D space, with converging lines and a constantly shifting camera angle, and a very simple color scheme made up of gradients of bold yellows and oranges... small choices that yield strikingly beautiful visualizations at any given point in the game:

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The Influence of Memory: Feign

1. February 2011

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Feign, a Flash game developed by Ian Snyder, sends the player on a first-person journey through a 3D maze where positive and negative space are reduced to stark, solid shapes. Every hall, floor, wall, doorway, and ceiling becomes a becomes a minimalist arrangement of contrasting fields, a stripped-down snapshot of abstracted graphic elements. Distance is only perceived by making assumptions about a few converging lines, and not by recognizable objects or atmospheric effects common in other FPS games. There is an old adage: "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication", and Feign simplifies its world to an extraordinary degree:

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Valentinel Hopes

24. January 2010

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Valentinel Hopes is described as "an abstract open world platformer for hardcore gamers", a brief and uncomplicated game where the player must speed down a narrow track through a world resembling abstracted, fractured glimpses of our own, unfolding in a stunning kaleidoscopic fashion.

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The Mesmerizing World of Devil’s Tuning Fork

23. November 2009

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Devil's Tuning Fork is an unusual 3D exploration game created by a student team at DePaul University known as the DuPaul Game Elites. The game takes place in the dark, shared subsconcious of children in a coma, where the player must use waves of sound to illuminate their surroundings. The goal is to free yourself and other children who are imprisoned in this alternate reality and find the cause of the mysterious epidemic.

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Games to Watch: Love

15. September 2009

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Painterly approaches to video game art are nothing new, though most attempts in the past have been to simply apply painted textures to models using fairly conventional rendering techniques. In 2006, Clover Studio developed Okami, which featured a groundbreaking display of Japanese sumi-e art, and has since been the hailed as the finest achievement in bringing a classical artistic sensibility to video games. Then, in 2008, lone indie developer Eskil Steenberg, under the moniker Quel Solaar, began releasing screenshots and videos from a project called Love:

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Fig8

14. September 2009

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Fig8, by Intuition Games, is a Flash game that borrows heavily from the aesthetics of architectural and technical blueprints. The game began as a student art installation before evolving into a game (full story at Intuition's site). It's basically a top-down bicycling game where the player literally rides through patent-inspired design documents. Beautiful

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Dyson

14. September 2009

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What struck me at first about IGF 2009 contestant Dyson is that I had a hard time deciding if the world I'm playing in is on the micro- or macro- scale. The game tells you that you are using seedlings to populate asteroids, but the asteroids themselves seem almost cellular. Either way, I was also struck by the very minimalist and utterly beautiful art for this game. Heavy in strategy, you start with a small group of flying "seedlings" populating an asteroid. You can cash in some of these seedlings and grow trees with them... some trees produce more seedlings, and some trees produce defensive spore-like missiles. To complete each level, you must populate other asteroids in an asteroid belt, while conquering an opposing army of seedlings, and defending your asteroids from them.

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