Video Game Genres – Puzzle

From the side-scrolling small child running through the dark (INSIDE, Monochroma, Black the Fall) to first-person games about shifting blocks and pushing buttons (Portal, QUBE, The Talos Principle). I’ve also put the Hitman games here, and I do not feel bad about it.

Superliminal: How To Shift Moods

Superliminal is a 2019 surreal puzzle game from Pillow Castle. Following in the footsteps of Demruth’s 2013 Antichamber, it features puzzles based around forced-perspective. The story’s got kind of a Portal thing going, too – you’re a dreamer who’s accidentally stumbled into a sleep therapy dream, and nobody totally knows where you are or how […]

A Hand With Many Fingers

Alright, this one – this one’s a pleasure. Released in 2020, A Hand With Many Fingers is a Cold War conspiracy thriller set entirely in an archive. It consists of you lugging boxes up and down the stairs and cross-referencing files using a card indexing system – which is super interesting, for a bunch of […]

Black The Fall: Communism in Romania

In 1962, Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn published his first novel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. The novel focused on life in the gulag, of which Solzhenitsyn had first-hand experience. When I first read Denisovich, I’d heard about Solzhenitsyn, and I knew a little about the horrors of the Soviet labour camps – […]

The Gardens Between: On Artistic Vision

The Gardens Between is one of those games that feels indicative of where the medium is up to. It’s exciting to play, because as you do, you feel it moving towards the center of what contemporary games look like. It becomes a point of reference for everything else. Released in 2018, The Gardens Between is […]

FRACT OSC: Music and Pacing

When we’re talking about video game narrative, we often make reference to film as kinda the closest point of comparison. Cutscenes clearly exist in that film-space, and different games have tried introducing certain filmic techniques into their gameplay. For example, when you first get gassed by Scarecrow’s fear gas in Arkham Asylum, the screen tilts […]

The Talos Principle: On Religion

It’s the crossover event that this whole website has been leading up to. Four years, over 350 articles, and we’re finally talking about religion in video games. Fuck yeah, buddies. The Talos Principle is a 2014 game made by Croteam, who made Serious Sam. It’s about puzzles and AI and God, and I fucking hate […]


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