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Giada Zavarise

3 days ago

Feature: Okay but did you buy the straight to DVD spin-off movie?

A Panel Shaped Screen: the confusing world of multimedia franchises

It was so much easier to just enjoy things back then. You know, then. The good old days. If you liked a game, you played it. If you wanted more, you looked for mods or became involved in the fandom. Once in a while, Hollywood would announce the movie adaptation of some popular game you liked, like Doom. Movies about games were always terrible, but…

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6 days ago

Feature: A spiritual experience

How not to cut trees in Woodcutter Simulator 2011

I am not a religious person, but I must admit some phenomena can’t be explained in a rational way. Like the inconceivable vastness of space. Ghosts sightings. The Brexit. Or United Independent Entertainment’s decision to release Woodcutter Simulator 2011 on Steam in the year of our Lord 2019. I discovered it by chance, a tweet by our dearly departed John Walker casually appearing on my…

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1 month ago

Feature: Yes, I'm confused too

A Panel Shaped Screen: the comics about living in a game that have inspired games

There's a child in front of a door. You know how the story goes. You know behind that door lies a fantastic world, and our little protagonist will get lost in it. You know the child will meet new friends and strange wonders, and will end up saving the realm. You know this because you read this story so many times already, the same plot…

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2 months ago

Feature: Boxes within boxes

A Panel Shaped Screen: screen shaped panels and games that play like comics

Drawing a comic book is like playing Tetris with narrative beats. You have to somehow put on a page everything the script requires you to draw, give the right amount of space to important moments, make sure the reader’s gaze flows naturally from panel to panel, and all your panels must look nice and clear but also in harmony with each other. So you, the…

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3 months ago

Feature: A-mazing

The best games from A Maze Festival in Berlin

I am not hip enough for A Maze, the international games festival held in Berlin. Like every game developer convention, its schedule is dotted with workshops, talks and games to play. But during the festival I also helped make a zine, learned how to not read tarot cards, got my nails painted, and helped deal with the byproducts of paper-shredding game The Book Ritual. There…

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Feature: Let's be adult(s)

A Panel Shaped Screen: porn with plot in comics and games

WARNING: basically every single link in this article is NSFW. Duh. Remember being fifteen and desperately looking for porn on the internet? Perhaps you googled basic terms like “boobs”, like the protagonist of You Must Be 18 Or Older To Enter. Or perhaps you held on to familiar characters, and searched for “Naruto hentai” on Newgrounds to play wonky flash games.

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4 months ago

Feature: Identity crisis

A Panel Shaped Screen: the comics and games that reimagined Disney

I played so many Disney games as a kid. It wasn’t really on purpose, it’s just that I was an avid reader of Disney comics, and sometimes they were bundled with games. Most were simple minigame compilations, parts of the Disney Hotshots series. Others were more elaborate, though they all felt nearly identical. Aladdin, The Lion King, The Jungle Book: the same impossibly hard platformer,…

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Feature: More than Marathon

Remembering old games on Mac is like visiting a lost world

My first videogame memory is about falling. I remember a blue sky and green land and some yellow rectangle where I was supposed to land, but couldn’t, because I was three or four years old and videogames were new and confusing. Unable to control my plane, I could only watch it spiral and crash. The game was Hellcats over the Pacific. I learned this only…

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5 months ago

Feature: Per aspera ad astra

A Panel Shaped Screen: Rediscovering Moebius, the artist who influenced Sable (and a million other games)

Talking about a game’s influences is always a tricky business. Sure, developers love to give long talks about the artists they admire. About their inspirations, the concepts they remixed, the idols they wish to surpass. But there’s a difference between the influences they are trying to evoke consciously, and the many-finned chimeras swimming just under the surface of consciousness. Take Sable, for example. When the…

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Feature: No rest for the Witcher

7 more games that could use a Geralt of Rivia guest appearance

I worry about Geralt. The Witcher series may be over for now, but this hasn't stopped Geralt from taking odd jobs here and there, slaying beasts in Monster Hunter: World, or stabbing folks in Soul Calibur VI. Is Geralt getting adequate retirement benefits? Have witchers unionized yet? I hope he can get some rest, or at least find more contract work that doesn't involve exterminating…

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6 months ago

Feature: Fifty shades darker

A Panel Shaped Screen: which run of The Darkness should you read?

The Darkness II is a game about being a mafia hitman, shooting everyone, and feeding the hearts of your enemies to the black abomination coiled inside your chest. But it’s also a game about fighting your darkest self, doubting your own mind, and finding salvation in love. When John reviewed it, he said: “I was genuinely expecting a brash, stupid shooter, noise and bluster and…

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7 months ago

Feature: Golden tragedy

A guide to loving Berserk, the manga inspiration for the Souls games

You might have heard of Berserk already. A few people have pointed out the similarities between Hidetaka Miyazaki’s Souls series and the manga Berserk. Perhaps you’ve even gotten curious, toyed with the idea of getting into it, but without a clear idea of where to start. Or perhaps you got the impression that Berserk is not for you. You may have heard Berserk is filled…

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Feature: Okay lizardman, but no tongue

Why do we love smooching monsters?

2018 has been strange as hell, I think we can all agree on this. And yet, some bits of news can be even more baffling than others, the definitive proof we are living in the weirdest timeline. Our world may be literally burning, everything is a mess, and The Brexit still looms upon us. But thanks to popular hits like Del Toro’s Shape Of Water…

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Feature: Best listicle of the year

Giada Zavarise’s 5 best games of 2018

2018 is the year I played Symphony Of The Night for the first time. Can I just rave about Symphony Of The Night for the whole article? No? Fine. Here are some other games that aren’t too shabby, either.

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8 months ago

Feature: How a Japanese comic gave birth to a video game genre

How Battle Royale went from a manga to a Fortnite game mode

When you hear the words “battle royale”, most people in 2018 immediately think of the trigger-happy Plunkbat or the cheery Fortnite. But a decade ago, those same words only evoked bleak battles between crying teens, fought on the black-and-white pages of a manga -- a Japanese comic. Art doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Creators absorb ideas and translate them to different mediums, in a web…

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Feature: Sing me to life

Wandersong review

You can jump on your bed in Wandersong. You start the game by waking up after a revelation: the end is nigh, and you can’t do anything about it because you’re just a bard, the most useless class ever. The situation doesn’t look good. But before getting out of your house, you can jump on your bed. And in that moment I understood that, despite…

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Feature: The Galactic Tribunal has spoken

The criminal who killed 9.5 billion people in Elegy for a Dead World

Elegy for a Dead World is what happens when a story starts too late. When no hero appears to defeat the evil aliens, to assassinate the corrupted president, to warn the world about the impending natural catastrophe. All that remains is silence, ruins, and a morbid curiosity to know how it all went down. The game lets you walk through the ruins of three different…

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10 months ago

Feature: A dicey adventure

Pathfinder: Kingmaker review

Starting a new tabletop RPG campaign is a bit like joining an complicated polyamorous relationship. You have to make sure you like your companions, but most importantly, you and the Dungeon Master must share the same vision. ANYWAY, my point is that in a game of Dungeons & Dragons, some DMs like to follow the rules by the book, others just use rules as a…

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Feature: It's all kicking OFF

Ten years later, OFF lives ON

Every year, Tumblr publishes its Year in Review, an annual summary of the biggest, hippest fandoms on the site. In 2013, the “most popular games” list included big names like Pokemon, Animal Crossing, Kingdom Hearts, Legend of Zelda and Mass Effect. But the sixth one was a small indie game called OFF.

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12 months ago

Feature: The cat's miaow

From panel to screen: cartoon cats and visual subjectivity in Blacksad

In June 2017 Pendulo Studios, creator of the Runaway series, announced its next project: a video game adaptation of Blacksad, a noir comic starring a feline detective. In the world of games, the news was received with a shrug. But in the comics scene, people were screaming incoherently.

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