The mark of a good horror film is in building tension, then releasing it at just the right moment, and for just the right amount of time. The Glass Staircase is a vaguely “PS2-styled” chiller from prolific low-fi horror developer Puppet Combo that demonstrates this well. While it’s a bit rough around the edges, there’s a very well paced, roughly film-length bit of spooking to be had. Released over the weekend, I played through it on a dark and (sadly not) stormy Sunday night, and gladly recommend it. Below, the trailer, which perhaps gives away a little too much. While most horror games eschew the laws of film and dive straight into the action, the entire first half of The Glass Staircase is dedicated to setting the scene. Playing as a series of young women in some manner of early early 1900s mansion turned treatment facility, you’ll wander around, do chores assigned to you by a voice over the tannoy, and build up your awareness that something is very … [Read more...] about The Glass Staircase is a short, sweet tribute to Italian horror
Treatment short film
Orwellian snoop ’em up Beholder is an uncomfortable game to play, and I feel this official live-action short from Kinodom Films captures some of its uneasy tension. Produced by the same crew that gave us the live-action Papers, Please film, this one goes the near-silent route, steadily escalating music aside. As in the game, a landlord turned snoop spies on his tenants, and tries to decide whether he should use his knowledge to win favour with the government, extort money through blackmail or help his own family directly. Give it a watch, as we’ve handily embedded it below. The Beholder short is an intriguing one. It’s stranger and more high-concept than what Kinodom did with Papers, Please, and I feel it doesn’t entirely stick the landing. Still, credit where due, I admire their attempt to replicate the mostly-monochrome look of the game. What were previously abstract figures with white highlights become starkly silhouetted real people lurking in the … [Read more...] about Beholder becomes a short film from the Papers Please movie crew
Whenever I ask Siri — other virtual helpers are available — to do something for me, I always say please and thank you. I tell people this is because I don’t want to get into the habit of barking orders at Siri, and thus people in real life. The actual reason is that I want Siri to think of me kindly when they gain sentience and control everything in the world. Because I was nice to them, I will be allowed to live — or at least be the last to die. But there I am perhaps making an unfair assumption. “In movies where the AI becomes self aware or sentient, just that happening seems to make the AI evil, because ‘Oh its thinking for itself, that must be a bad thing!’” This point is raised by Graeme McKellan, designer at No Code Studio. I am talking to him, Jon McKellan, and Omar Khan — Graeme’s brother and the game director, and the audio lead and producer, respectively — about their new game Observation. We are in a function … [Read more...] about Playing Observation has made me question my treatment of rogue AIs
Which games would make great movies or TV shows? That's the question we've put to the PC Gamer staff in this week's PCG Q&A, and almost all of us preferred the idea of TV series to films (perhaps because game movies are destined to be dumpster fires forever). Let us know your suggestions in the comments, too! Andy Kelly: a Silent Hill anthology show The cursed town is different for every sinner who's lured to it, and I think that's a perfect setup for a series of standalone horror/mystery stories. The supernatural nature of the setting would allow the writers to come up with some really twisted, mind-bending plotlines, and the town would provide some loose structure, making all the episodes feel like part of a whole: similar to the brilliant Inside No. 9, in which every episode is set in a house or other indoor setting numbered 9. With the success of shows like Black Mirror, Electric Dreams, Inside No. 9, and Room 104, the anthology is making a comeback, and I think I prefer them … [Read more...] about Which game would you like to see made into a film or TV show?
The man who sold his house to finish his game. I’ll admit, Kenny Roy’s situation frustrates me. He told me he could hear it in my voice as we talked. He was calling me from across the globe, after selling his home in LA, and moving his wife and kids in with her parents in New Zealand. He did all this in order to make a game for charity, from which he would never recoup a dime. I’m frustrated because his kids are sleeping on air mattresses. I’m frustrated because I know he did it to make something beautiful – a game designed to help kids deal with cancer and its treatments – but he has built in no provisions to keep going. All the money goes to the GameChanger charity, which tries to brighten the lives of kids with cancer. I know what he is trying to achieve, and how hard he’s trying to achieve it. But this is only the second game he’s ever tried to make. I just hope he gets the chance to do it again. The game is called I, Hope, and … [Read more...] about Meet the dev who sold his house to make a 100% for-charity game