135 items found for "audio-accessible"
- Pixel Sounds: 11 Essential Video Game Soundtracks
by John Rogers, Jeremy Miller & Ruth Coppens Video games are perhaps the most intrinsically multidisciplinary of the artistic media. When immersed in playing, it’s easy to forget the amount of work and talent that goes into crafting each game’s interactivity, visual design, foley art, motion-captured physical performance, voice acting, and – of course – music. Much like video game development itself, the production of soundtracks can vary in scope from home-recorded solo projects, right through to grand productions played by world-renowned orchestras. As you’ll see in the list below, much of the more experimental work is to be found on the independently produced side of things, but there are also some AAA productions included in our list. One thing is certain – video game composition is a thriving biome of music that shouldn’t be overlooked. Hyper Light Drifter | Bandcamp | Spotify This pixel art action-adventure is lovingly crafted in all respects, from the expressive sprites to the crackling campfires, colourful wastelands, and mesmerising mountaintops. Award-winning composer Disasterpeace’s soundtrack is absolutely key in creating the emotional core of the game. Fans of Fez will recognise his signature sound, in which distinctive synths are bitcrushed like they’ve journeyed through a dial-up modem before arriving in the game. These pieces are interspersed with quietly mournful piano and guitar melodies, with brighter moments arriving like pixelated sunlight through a forest canopy. One to remember. JR Related: Hidden gems: seven great games you might have missed Final Fantasy | Apple Music Music from several Final Fantasy games – more specifically those composed by Nobuo Uematsu – are songs that deserve a frequent relisten. Over the years, these soundtracks have presented a wide array of emotion and intensity in a variety of musical genres. There have even been touring shows of orchestral performances of these soundtracks, such as “Distant Worlds: The Music of Final Fantasy”. At these events, local orchestras perform the music during multimedia presentations, sometimes accompanied by Nobuo-san himself. The orchestral renditions are a mainstay of the series, but the MIDI and chiptune originals are very much worth a listen. JM Sayonara Wild Hearts | Spotify This neon dream of Nordic design describes itself as an interactive pop album, and justifiably so. Composed by Jonathan Olsén, Daniel Eng and vocalist Linnea Olsson, it’s a sugar-rush of dreamy dance-pop that’ll summon the endorphins as you navigate the barrage of high-speed on-screen action. From the magical reworking of ‘Claire De Lune’ that welcomes you into the game to the anthemic, emotional finale of ‘Wild Hearts Never Die’, this is an unprecedented pairing of contemporary Scandi-pop and thrilling gameplay. JR The Unfinished Swan | YouTube Somewhere between electronic composition and symphonic scope lies Joel Corelitz’s wondrous and surprising soundtrack for The Unfinished Swan. There are grand, chiming melodies, like the lutes and lyres of a fairytale monarch’s court, with eddies of strings swirling around them; washes of electronic sound add softness and ambience. The eponymous opener is intriguing, and it’s built upon throughout the game, as fresh environments and new mechanics are each welcomed with surprising new sounds. JR Hollow Knight | Bandcamp | Spotify This fascinating Metroidvania was an indie smash-hit. It’s an engrossing journey into the depths of a devastated insect kingdom called The Hallownest, and as you creep ever deeper into its dark and dangerous confines, Christopher Larkin’s striking orchestral soundtrack accompanies you into the darkness. It’s that certain kind of adaptive video game music in which every track has several phases, from, say, a quiet cello line to a propulsive, symphonic crescendo, based on the on-screen action. It’s a masterclass – this is how it’s done. JR Mutazione | Bandcamp | Spotify Mutazione is a wonderful narrative adventure game that drips with atmosphere. Set on a steamy tropical island overrun by extranatural plants and populated by a diverse community of friendly mutants, the sounds of the game are drenched with summer sun heat. With a mixture of languid surf sounds, lazy psych jams, lo-fi garage rock, atmospheric guitar sketches, and late-night dream-pop, it’s an indie fan’s dream. JR Signs of the Sojourner | Bandcamp | Spotify This striking game is set in a near-future climate-stricken wasteland, but it’s very far from the post-apocalyptic cliché we’ve become accustomed to. The denizens of the desert spend their time farming, foraging, hustling, making art, and clinging on to the precarious remnants of civilisation. As you traverse the colourful landscape, you’re serenaded by the wonderful music of Skewsound and Steve Pardo. The melancholy finger-picked strings, lively uptempo market-town rhythms, and muted woodwinds provide a lingering desert ambiance that’s mournful, joyful, and wondrous. It’s an intelligent, atmospheric, and prescient game that’s brought to life by the music. JR Kingdom Hearts | Apple Music The Kingdom Hearts series is packed with recognisable and iconic tracks by Yoko Shimomura. They evoke a sense of nostalgia while still feeling fresh. Each character has their own theme, which ties a welcome sense of emotion to each song. A highlight is Roxas, who has a reworked version of ‘The Other Promise’ during his boss battle. It’s a sombre track that makes you feel for the character, in stark contrast to the optimistic, adventurous theme of Sora, our main character. Aside from the character themes, there are also some amazing battle tracks that make you feel like you can take on the world. Memorable ones include ‘The 13th Struggle’, which you’ll encounter a lot. But the staple of Kingdom Hearts’ battle music is ‘Destati’, the very first boss fight song in the original game, which will always be synonymous with the epic music of Kingdom Hearts. It’s impossible to talk about the music of Kingdom Hearts without mentioning ‘Dearly Beloved’. When you boot up a Kingdom Hearts game, it’s the menu song that greets you. Each game has a different iteration of this song, and each version is somehow better than the last. It’s a song that makes me feel like I’m coming home. RC Kentucky Route Zero | Bandcamp | Spotify As much a multidisciplinary artwork as a video game, Kentucky Route Zero excels in all departments, including the soundtrack. The blissful electronic washes by Ben Babbitt are accentuated by occasional folk interludes by The Bedquilt Ramblers, who appear in silhouette at pivotal moments in the game. There are also several in-game concerts, the most memorable of which is a performance by Junebug & Johnny – two android musicians who perform a jaw-dropping number entitled “Too Late To Love You”, in which the player can choose the lyrics. JR FAR: Lone Sails | Bandcamp | Spotify Joel Schoch’s score for the unusual vehicle-based trundle-simulator FAR: Lone Sails is a thing of rare beauty. As the player propels a hulking vessel over a shattered landscape, the music brings the experience to life, with plucked strings, stirring cello, and flurries of plucked notes combining into a soundtrack that’s simultaneously propulsive and contemplative. Lingering somewhere between experimental instrumental folk and contemporary composition, it’s a vibrant, atmospheric cycle of music that summons goosebumps, whether in the game or on the stereo. JR The Pathless | Bandcamp | Spotify Austin Wintory’s score for this 2020 indie game is a real one-off. Based around the idea of “the familar new”, Wintory sought to create a score both symphonic in scope and ear-catchingly unusual by bringing together rarely-heard instruments from outside the orchestral canon. This involved researching folk music traditions, and finding a diverse range of performers and players, from a Tuvan throat-singing ensemble Kailesh, to the nyckelharpa, viola da gamba, oud, and bass kazoo. The results are quite astonishing whether experienced in the game or listened to alone, and so much music was produced that a sister album, ‘The Pathless: Meditations’, was released alongside the game’s OST. You can also catch various documentaries of the soundtrack’s production at Wintory’s YouTube channel. JR JR = John Rogers | RAR Gaming Editor & Gaming In The Wild podcast host | Twitter JM = Jeremy Miller | Games critic & collector | Twitter RC = Ruth Coppens | Games critic & Game For Thought podcast host | Twitter
- Muneera Pilgrim: The disruptive Bristol storyteller fighting back against gatekeepers
by Steve Topple "People, communities and stories have the potential to break the system. We don’t realise how close we are to a better way." Listen to the full podcast version of this article below For Muneera Pilgrim, poetry is all about storytelling. In fact, she believes it is "fundamental to life". Her work, ranging from poetry to music and spoken word, is proof that we can all affect change by telling our stories. Regardless of the grip the system has on us, or the monopoly the media has on the narrative, Muneera is living proof that true storytellers can break through and affect real change. Born and raised in Bristol, her background is actually in Hip Hop. DJing from the age of 14 on pirate radio stations, eventually Muneera formed a Hip Hop group called Poetic Pilgrimage in the late 2000s. Motivated by the lack of representation for Black women and the misrepresentation of Jamaican culture in British culture, Poetic Pilgrimage was a unique collaboration between Muneera and friend Sukina Abdul Noor: two Muslim women whose musical eclecticism represented their own diverse cultural heritage and passions. Performing around the world, Poetic Pilgrimage mixed Hip Hop sensibilities with radical and disruptive social narratives. But after struggling to break through in the 'gate-kept' world of Hip Hop in Bristol and London, and upon realising that Poetic Pilgrimage was already so poetry-heavy, Muneera switched gears to focus on written prose as an artform. Since then, Pilgrim has become a respected and influential name in the arts as well as activism and education – featuring on the BBC, having her own TEDx talk and writing for the Guardian and Al Jazeera. In 2021 she released her debut collection of poetry, called That Day She’ll Proclaim Her Chronicles and published by Bristol-based Burning Eye. The title of the collection is taken from a verse in the Qur'an. It explores belonging, gender, race, identity, girlhood and familial bonds – all set against the back drop of colonial power structures in the streets of London and Bristol. Muneera admits that the collection is 'not a comfortable read at times—in the same way life isn't. She says: "I often think about what it takes for a caterpillar to become a butterfly: that growing and the sprouting of wings, and how painful that must be. And I think about life and all the phases of experience we go through – yet at the same time, we’re still given an opportunity to start again." Crucially, Pilgrim felt with That Day… that she was “doing a duty to myself, my heritage, the women and girls that I work with, people’s stories that I was holding”. Needless to say, she achieved this. Because That Day… is a stunningly powerful piece of work - almost musical in its peaks and troughs of emotion, subject, rhythm and meter. At the core of all it is disruptive storytelling. She says: “We need to tell our stories to disrupt but we have to be authentic in telling them – and not compromise on that. It’s also about trying to put a dent in some of these borders and the things that separate us." So, her craft is also about affecting change. As Muneera explains, “the system is not for our benefit, so it’s working perfectly fine—it’s broken and we need to fix it”. But how do we do that when the system clamps down on resistance at every turn? Just as Muneera discovered that Hip Hop was filled with gatekeepers, restricting who made it big and what they were able to say, so too is the Internet and the ecosystem artists rely on to get their voices heard. She says: “The idea that it has broken-down [barriers] is an illusionary thing that has been put out. And then, we create exceptionalism. "So, there are a tier of people who are doing extremely well and we’re like ‘look at them: they’ve done it from the internet’ – and that is very true. But it is a tool of the system. It runs on algorithms, there’s a reason we’re scrolling on different sites – and I feel that if you’re looking for good music, you still really have to dig for it." So, what’s to be done? Or, as Muneera puts it, “how do we create new systems and cultivate our own communities?” She believes this is a cross-generational struggle, as our elders have often fought the same battles we’re fighting today. It’s also about addressing trauma and recognising and managing this—again, across generations. Divisions need to be healed. Connections between movements need to be made. We must look across and beyond the borders the system has created. Ultimately it starts with each of us, even if, like Muneera, we sometimes struggle to maintain resolve against the system. But 'poetry has helped' with that. “I use it as a methodology to interrogate the world – and I feel extremely blessed to have, and be able to share, it. My faith is also really important. "But we have to change this society, make this society better. The change may not be with us: it may be in 100 years’ time. But it is our duty, now, to try. People, communities and stories have the potential to break the system. We don’t realise how close we are to a better way." That Day She'll Proclaim Her Chronicles is available via Burning Eye. Find out more about Muneera Pilgrim Steve Topple is an independent journalist, broadcaster and publicist. A staff writer at The Canary, Steve specialises in issues surrounding disability, health, housing, class, economics and government. Follow him on Twitter
- Gaming In The Wild #47: The Collage Atlas
by John Rogers These week I leaf through the pages of The Collage Atlas – a wonderfully delicate, aesthetic hand-drawn game that came out in 2020 for Apple Arcade. Also: an earthquake update, more praise for Fallout 4, and some news about the great games that are lined up for future episodes. Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Three Ain't A Crowd #3: Love Sober - Sobriety, Unpopular Opinions & Holy Moly
With a different guest each week, the aim is to create an informal, diverse and accessible platform which
- Gaming In The Wild: Games Of The Year #3
by John Rogers Still: Umurangi Generation (2020; Origame Digital) In the final of three GOTY 2020 episodes, this week’s guest is gamer, streamer, and brand new dog owner Dani aka Girl With Box. Dani brings a fresh multiplayer selection that helped her stay sane in the year that was. You can follow Dani at twitter.com/girlwithbox. (Note, Dog With Box, aka Muncy, does a bit of background gnawing at the start - if it bothers you, jump in at minute 17 and you’re safe from there. The game under discussion is Just Dance.) Music by Ben Babbitt, from Kentucky Route Zero Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Acid Left Review Radionautica: Synchronicity and the Situationist Dérive
by Mike Watson Adam Ray Adkins of the Acid Left tries out Randonautica, the app that gives its users a set of quantum random coordinates for them to explore at their leisure (or risk, if some accounts on YouTube are to be believed). The app admixes genuine quantum random number processing with the concept of Jungian Synchronicity. Here we discuss Acid Left co-host Adam's use of the app in relation to Synchronicity and the Guy Debord's Dérive. The Dérive is the idea of free-flowing walks that take you outside your daily routine, while synchronicity explains the existence of 'meaningful coincidences'. Users of Randonautica have stumbled upon spooky, criminal and simply scarily coincidental finds, warning some people to avoid the app. Adam investigates for himself. Music by 'Made in 1985': https://madein1985.bandcamp.com/music with permission Co-Produced: Adam Ray Adkins & Mike Watson Visuals/Editing: Mike Watson Follow the Adorno Studies Podcast Support the Acid Left on Patreon and Facebook Mike Watson is a Finland-based curator, critic, and author of Zer0 Books' 'Can The Left Learn To Meme?' Follow him on Twitter.
- Love is the Message #2: Counterculture Part One
by Matt Huxley In the first of two episodes on Counterculture, Tim and Jeremy focus on the late ’60s and early ’70s – a period of exceptional cultural and political activity in the UK and the USA. They discuss the emergent New Social Movements, how Rock was institutionalised as the sound of the counterculture at the expense of other genres, the limitations of Timothy Leary’s invitation to ‘tune in and drop out’, the under-appreciated importance of Miles Davis and Jazz to the moment, and whether love really is all you need. Join us next episode for part 2, where we’ll look at countercultural tendencies in Reggae, Hip Hop, Punk, House and Techno. LISTEN BELOW: Produced and edited by Matt Huxley Become a supporter by visiting our Patreon Tracklist: Jimi Hendrix - Purple Haze (live) The Youngbloods - Get Together The Grateful Dead - Birdsong (live) Miles Davis - Bitches Brew Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
- Gaming In The Wild #59: Slay The Spire
by John Rogers This week’s featured game is indie smash-hit Slay the Spire. It’s an easy to play, tough to master deck-battler game in which you try to fight your way to the top of the mysterious spire via bouts of addictive, strategic combat. There’s also a less positive review of the conceptually interesting, visually spectacular and deeply flawed Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Also mentioned this episode: Ni No Kuni, Immortals: Fenyx Rising, Card of Darkness, Loop Hero, Sludge Life, Umurangi Generation. Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Gaming In The Wild #58: Fantasian
by John Rogers This week, our featured game is Apple Arcade's very own JRPG epic: Fantasian. Made by the producer of the original Final Fantasy series, it's a loving tribute to classic JRPGs past, with all of the charm and eccentricity that entails. Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Tender Buttons #4: The Poetry of The Mundane
by Ciarán Daly In the first of our Bristol-based episodes, we speak to graphic novelist, musician, educator and all-round local legend Joff Winterhart about the poetry of the mundane, the hinterlands of suburbs and industrial estates, crises in contemporary masculinity and Joff's use of the graphic form. Joff's graphic novels are Days of the Bagnold Summer (2012) and Driving Short Distances (2017). You can find both of Joff's books at storysmithbooks.com/tenderbuttons As a Tender Buttons listener you can purchase Joff's books with 10% discount, have a listen for more details on this... Joff's band Bucky can be found here Tender Buttons is a Bristol-based podcast chatting to writers and artists about their ideas, process and politics. Hosted by Jessica Andrews and Jack Young, the show is produced in partnership with Storysmith Bookshop in Bristol. Follow Tender Buttons on Twitter and Instagram.
- Gaming In The Wild #57: NUTS
by John Rogers This week I delved into the mysteries of Melmouth Forest in Apple Arcade gem NUTS (also available on Steam and Switch). Just what are those squirrels up to? Well, I won’t tell you, because it’s a spoiler-free show – but I will tell you about the art, sound, gameworld and mechanics of this Iceland-made indie title. Also mentioned: Bioshock Infinite, King of Seas, Cozy Grove, and Fallout 4 (yep, I'm still playing it). Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Tender Buttons #3: Flesh, Meat and Fighting the Guerrilla Culture War
by Ciarán Daly We chat to writer Huw Lemmey about queer desire, shame, a politics of bodily love and ways to fight the British culture war. You can subscribe to Huw’s weekly essays on his ‘Utopian Drivel’ substack here His two novels are Chubz: The Demonization of My Working Arse (Montrez Press: 2014) and Red Tory: My Corbyn Chemsex Hell (Montrez: 2019) His Bad Gays Podcast, with co-host Ben Miller Tender Buttons is a Bristol-based podcast chatting to writers and artists about their ideas, process and politics. Hosted by Jessica Andrews and Jack Young, the show is produced in partnership with Storysmith Bookshop in Bristol. Follow Tender Buttons on Twitter and Instagram.
- Gaming In The Wild #56: Signs of the Sojourner
by John Rogers This week's game is the fascinating conversation-based future road trip simulator Signs Of The Sojourner. I really loved this game, and I highly recommend trying it out! Also mentioned: Cozy Grove, Streets of Rage 4 and Bioshock Infinite. Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Tender Buttons #2: Slippery Desires
by Ciarán Daly For Tender Buttons' second episode, they spoke to writer Catherine Madden about form, sexuality, and childhood. Tender Buttons is a Bristol-based podcast chatting to writers and artists about their ideas, process and politics. Hosted by Jessica Andrews and Jack Young, the show is produced in partnership with Storysmith Bookshop in Bristol. Follow Tender Buttons on Twitter and Instagram.
- Tender Buttons #1: It Begins With Our Bodies
by Ciarán Daly For Tender Buttons' first episode, they spoke with co-host Jessica Andrews about her debut novel, 'Saltwater'. Tender Buttons is a Bristol-based podcast chatting to writers and artists about their ideas, process and politics. Hosted by Jessica Andrews and Jack Young, the show is produced in partnership with Storysmith Bookshop in Bristol. Follow Tender Buttons on Twitter and Instagram.
- Archive, Exchange, and Process in a Pandemic: Conversation Between Leanne O'Connor and Larissa Shaw
by Megan Daly Leanne O’Connor and Larissa Shaw are two interdisciplinary artists based in the West Midlands, working in media associated with craft and trade such as steel and textile. Both artists explore the role of these materials in the collective identity of local communities in the post-industrial landscape of the West Midlands. At the beginning of lockdown, O’Connor and Shaw began communicating remotely to discuss the impact of the pandemic on their creative work. In these reflective conversations they exchange thoughts on their shared and distinct approaches to making, exploring how communication can be a method to navigate being separated from their mode of practice. LISTEN: Leanne and Larissa are both members of Black Hole Club 2020, an annual artist development programme at Vivid Projects, Birmingham. See what’s on here.
- Gaming In The Wild #51: Fez
by John Rogers This episode looks at Fez, the classic 2012 indie platform game that made its way to Switch last week. It’s as wonderful today as it was upon release, and I talk through its high points (aesthetic, music, gameplay) and a few of the low ones (that map - my god!). Also mentioned: Ring Fit Adventure, Forgotten Fields, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Thanks to my latest Patron supporter Major Jennyral. Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Gaming In The Wild #50: Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds
by John Rogers For episode number fifty, I revisited the featured game of episode one – the classic open-world saga Horizon Zero Dawn – to explore the impressive Frozen Wilds DLC. There's also a review of Aggro Crab's colourful rogue-like dungeon crawler Going Under, and we finish with some fun listener questions. Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Gaming In The Wild #49: Shinsekasi: Into The Depths
by John Rogers This week I explored the bed of a far-future ocean in Shinsekai: Into The Depths. This exploration-focused Metroidvania feels like an indie game, but it was actually developed by Capcom Japan specifically for Apple Arcade. As of late 2020, it's also available on Nintendo Switch, where it definitely qualifies as a hidden gem for fans of underwater games, Metroidvanias, and sci-fi with a Japanese flavour. Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- POEM: Burning Kashmir
by Huma Bhat They shed our blood merely to slake their ego But everytime they forget They, too, will bite the dust They who have the hanger for the blood of humanity One day the hands of despotism too will become cold and dead Our blood might quench their thirst but for how long we shall endure? The skies and the mountains outcry, Praying rugs drenched in tears of blood, Our roses procure "martyrdom", They have flitted to the heavens, how can half-mothers sleep tonight? how can they calm their inner tonight? Written is on the leaves of chinar "The tales of disappeared buds of decades" The spring sun looks gloomy here saffron fields lay barren and colourless, O ' ye Lord! Be my 'GUEST' tonight and see how the tyrants burn my heaven to ashes, With no noise, no smoke, no sensations and, No "feelings" thereafter. LISTEN Our feature on the art of Kashmiri resistance is available here Huma Bhat is a poet who happens to hail from Srinagar, Kashmir.
- POEM: 'Anchorage'
by Olúwádáre Pópóola Because my grandfather's departed hands are still coffering fruits / into the cacography of my mouth / the moon walks 6 cubits away from the stars / soil blighted and looking for warmth / your salvation is in your blood / leaves clapping soil raised into protests / of a body limping back into body. By how we measure our grief / all our good is slung on the lower branches of yellowing paper / exposing a dessicated thing / bearing suchness with squeezed skies like a mouth planted on legs / expecting the bulk of rain / sea unshackled into the pamphlets of hands / decoding god's message in excrescences / epitaphs collected in scrapings / a body unbridled and flooding / & a new cut on your bruised lips or is it your leg / is strumming a blessing. LISTEN BELOW Olúwádáre Pópóola is a 19-year old Nigerian poet, a student of Microbiology and a Sports Writer for a media company. He writes from a city named by rocks and longs to see the world without discrimination of any form. Learning the art of imagery, his poems are up/forthcoming on Mineral Lit. Magazine, Headline Poetry & Press, Feral: A Journal of Poetry & Art, Roadrunner Review, Lumiere Review and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter
- Play Test: Death’s Door
by John Rogers Death is a serious business for the reaper crows of Death’s Door. When a fledgling reaper loses its allotted soul, it leads to a very bird day at the office. Death’s Door is a charming isometric adventure that begins when our protagonist – a delightfully animated sword-wielding crow – arrives to work one morning at the stuffy, grey offices of the Bureau of Death. But this day proves to be anything but normal when a humdrum spirit-reaping field mission goes awry. At the garden of spirits, your allotted soul is whisked away by a mysterious thief. Back at the office, you’re ridiculed for this professional faux-pas, and tasked with tracking the stolen soul down. The trail leads to a mysterious sealed-off realm, where giant beings evade the inevitable through nefarious means, and an intriguing adventure begins. Related: The quest for the seven crystals of... whatever This engaging premise kicks off a story that’s packed with fun dialogue, exploration, hack ‘n’ slash combat, and plenty of puzzles and secrets. You’ll pass through a series of evocative environments, from the creepy stillness of the Ceramic Manor, to the colourful painted walkways of the Sunken Fortress, to a cheery forest village, and the chilly halls of the bureau itself. They’re all painstakingly rendered in a clean and uncluttered visual style, but nevertheless packed with the kind of details that give a tangible and grounded sense of place. Traversing this strange limbo entails regular battles. The game’s combat is solid, if unremarkable; a simplistic take on the strike-and-dodge wave-based fights of Hyper Light Drifter. There are several interesting weapons that feel too similar to weild, and the hard-earned power-ups are incremental stat buffs that do little to add variety. The game is generally polished, but has other issues, stemming largely from design choices. There are some unwelcome difficulty spikes, including two frustrating late-game bosses that sour the experience towards its finale. Sometimes, the isometric perspective can fool the eye, and you’ll find yourself jumping for a platform that turns out to be in the background. Most pressingly, the game is crying out for a map. It’s a mind-boggling omission that leads to lots of schlepping around mazey dungeons looking for the way forward. In the lengthy post-game, finding secrets could have been a real pleasure – but without the aid of a map for more focussed play, it amounts to a tedious retread of each area. These flaws are unfortunate, but they don’t sink the game. The lovely visuals, symphonic score, and engaging story carry the game along nicely. You’ll uncover how this world ended up in such dire straits, and meet some delightful characters. An amateur explorer called Barb The Bard will comically serenade you whenever you cross paths. You’ll be fed by a chef called Jefferson – a giant squid cosplaying as a human, for some reason. And then there’s the unfortunate Pothead, whose head has been turned into a pot of soup by the spooky Urn Witch, aka “Grandma”. This wonderful ensemble cast evokes the surreal fairytale melancholia of grand adventures such as Alice in Wonderland and Spirited Away. Death’s Door is a lovely little game that’s more than the sum of its parts, somehow. With a couple of design tweaks it could have entered the pantheon of indie greats, but it’s still an easy game to recommend, warts and all. I loved my time in this still, gloomy world – and like many of the game’s oddball characters, I wasn’t ready to let go when the end did arrive. VERDICT Good: The visuals are crisp, atmospheric and uncluttered, and the art style is enticing. The orchestral music is fantastic throughout, from sad refrains to wistful shanties, and battle music that gets the pulse racing. There’s a sense of pleasingly logical progression as you move through each area. The setting, dialogue, and cast of memorable characters carry the story along. Bad: The strike-and-dash combat is a little basic, with barely perceptible stat boosts and similar-feeling weapons that feel like a missed opportunity. Where’s the map? This game desperately needs one. A jarring oversight. The restart points are patchy, leading to some repetitive hikes back to the tougher mini-bosses and arena battles. A handful of difficulty spikes feels out of tune with the main thrust of the game. Final score: 7.5/10 Death’s Door is an accomplished, high-quality game that’s loaded with enough heart and charm to overcome a couple of unfortunate flaws. A firm recommendation. John Rogers is an Iceland-based journalist. He is the Social Media Lead for dot big bang, Gaming Editor of the Radical Art Review and the host of Gaming In The Wild
- Locust Radio #6: Texas Ain't The Reason
by Locust Radio We’ve got Locust contributors and Texan communists Mike Linaweaver and Leslie Lea as guests this episode to talk about the disaster in Texas after winter storm Uri knocked out the whole state’s power. We discuss the uneven (and deadly) consequences of the catastrophe, the venality of the state’s conservative rulers, the ineptitude of liberals’ supposed alternative, and the slow unfolding apocalypse that now faces the state and the country. We also pay a modest tribute to our dear departed inspiration Lawrence Ferlinghetti, hear some poetry from Mike and Leslie, and plant a little bug in Leslie’s ear about starting a communist resurrection cult! LISTEN: “Powerless in Texas,” by Snehal Shingavi, Rampant: https://rampantmag.com/2021/02/19/powerless-in-texas/ Fire Alarm: Reading Walter Benjamin’s On the Concept of History by Michael Lowy “Live Free and Die: Notes On American Exterminism,” by Alexander Billet, Historical Materialism blog: https://www.historicalmaterialism.org/blog/live-free-and-die-notes-american-exterminism “Cosmic Catwalk and the Production of Time,” by Anton Vidokle and Hito Steyerl, e-flux: https://www.e-flux.com/journal/82/134989/cosmic-catwalk-and-the-production-of-time/ Locust Radio is produced by Drew Franzblau. It is hosted by Alexander Billet, Tish Markley and Adam Turl. Music is by Omnia Sol.
- Gaming In The Wild #45: A Plague Tale
by John Rogers This week’s episode journeys into the dark heart of an accomplished narrative-led adventure game – A Plague Tale: Innocence. Also: an Iceland earthquake update, first impressions of promising puzzle game Maquette, and further impressions of NUTS and Fallout 4. Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Gaming In The Wild #44: Entwined, Fallout 4
by John Rogers This week we take a step back in time to review 2014 title Entwined by PixelOpus, developers of Concrete Genie; and also a step into the future in the bleak but engaging wasteland of Fallout 4. Also mentioned: Solar Ash, A Plague Tale: Innocence, Nuts, Monument Valley, Maquette, and more. Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Locust Radio #5: Norming In America
by Locust Radio Lots has happened since our last episode: the storming of the Capitol, the fascists’ disorientation, and the inauguration of a new president who can’t wait for us to get “back to normal.” Tish, Adam, and Alex discuss what it is about capitalism’s obsessions with normalcy that is so detrimental to working and oppressed people. Also, an unexpected guest shows up in the form of a dead coyote wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses. For the second half of our show, available to SUBSCRIBERS ONLY, Alex reads a long excerpt from his massive essay in the newest issue of Salvage. Also, Tish, Adam and Alex talk about the aesthetics of the GameStop short squeeze, how capitalism presents us with the illusion of justice, and how we might see through the veneer. If you want to hear more than just the preview of this portion, you will have to subscribe. If you haven’t yet, do so here. LISTEN: Check out more of Omnia Sol’s work on YouTube, Instagram or Patreon Check out Adam Ray Adkins’ work at his YouTube or Instagram Locust Radio is produced by Drew Franzblau. It is hosted by Alexander Billet, Tish Markley and Adam Turl.
- Gaming In The Wild #41: Interview - 'In Other Waters'
by John Rogers This week's episode is an interview with Gareth Damian Martin, an artist, writer, and the developer of 'In Other Waters'. It's an unusual game that offers you the chance to explore an alien ocean, experience an imaginative, detailed and plausible-seeming marine ecosystem, and to uncover a sci-fi mystery. It was an illuminating conversation that covers the game's conception, the ensuing research, writing and design, and the process of launching a game as a first-time developer. Follow Gareth on Twitter at @jumpovertheage and @InOtherWaters. Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Gaming In The Wild #40: Alba - A Wildlife Adventure
by John Rogers How time flies… it’s episode 40! That means the podcast is old enough to wonder why it doesn’t yet own a house and start worrying about doing more cardio. Lucky, then, that this week’s game is Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, which is a wonderfully innocent game about childhood, nature, birds, and the unbridled fun of summer holidays. Also mentioned: the Backbone iPhone controller, PSVR, Apple Arcade, South of the Circle, Necrobarista, Nuts, What The Golf?, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Art of Rally, In Other Waters, Disco Elysium, and more. Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- A BLOOD CONDITION | In Conversation With Poet Kayo Chingonyi
by Jessie Jones Our Literature Editor Jessie Jones spoke to Kayo Chingonyi about his new poetry collection A Blood Condition. Kayo has also published his debut collection Kumukanda, which won the Dylan Thomas Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award. He is the author of two pamphlets Some Bright Elegance and The Colour of James Brown’s Scream. He was the poetry editor for The White Review, is a fellow of the Complete Works programme and is an assistance professor of Creative Writing at Durham University. You can buy his debut collection, and A Blood Condition here and visit his website for updates on his other passion project which is writing about the poetics of grime. Along with a reading of some of the wonderful poems from A Blood Condition, Jessie and Kayo discuss his impressive list of accolades, what poetry has meant, and how it has changed, during the global pandemic, and where art and literature can go from here. Founded in 2017, the Radical Art Review is a volunteer-run culture platform and magazine where art meets activism. We believe creativity is the most powerful tool for social change, and we aim to showcase how art and ideas are being used to transform lives and tackle injustices. We are reader-funded and publish digital content every weekday, two monthly newsletters, and biannual print issues.
- Love is the Message #3: Counterculture Part Two
by Matt Huxley In the second of two episodes on Counterculture, Tim and Jeremy leave the '60s and move through the rest of the 20th Century, identifying the countercultural characteristics of reggae, punk, hip hop, house, techno and drum & bass. They cover the anti-imperial and anti-colonial sentiment of Rastafarianism, the simultaneous emergence of DJing in both Kingston and New York, and discuss the ambivalent political status of Punk. We also dig into the historiography of House and Techno, and consider the idea and potentiality of 'the machine' for the creators of these musics, asking: can the embrace of pleasure alone ever change the world? Join us next week as we go back to Valentine’s Day 1970 and the very first Loft party. LISTEN BELOW: Produced and edited by Matt Huxley Become a supporter by visiting our Patreon Tracklist: Jonny Osborne - Truth and Rights Patty Smith - Free Money Talking Heads - Remain In Light The Clash - (White Man) in Hammersmith Palais Marshall Jefferson - Move Your Body Rhythim is Rhythim - It Is What It Is A Tribe Called Quest - I Left My Wallet In El Segundo Roni Size - Brown Paper Bag
- Gaming In The Wild: Games Of The Year #2
by John Rogers Still: Umurangi Generation (2020; Origame Digital) My second Games of the Year guest is Louis, co-host of the excellent Time Played 3hr podcast, who dropped by to talk about the history of rally driving, in-game photography, turning horses into glue, Cyberpunk 2077, and much more besides. It was a really fun chat, be sure to check out Time Played 3hr, streaming now on all reputable podcast services. Games discussed: 12:01 Umurangi Generation 18:35 The Pathless 30:40 Wide Ocean Big Jacket 36:00 In Other Waters 43:40 Animal Farm 56:00 A Short Hike 64:44 Art of Rally 72:36 The Last Of Us Pt. II 93:03 Cyberpunk 2077 106:07 Kentucky Route Zero 118:50 Wandersong 119:41 Manifold Garden You can find the article Louis mentioned about Last Of Us Pt. II here and you can find the great video games e-zine I referenced called Heterotopias here and the Adam Robinson-Yu Short Hike lecture here Music by Ben Babbitt, from Kentucky Route Zero Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Locust Radio #4: Make Acid Communist Again
by Locust Radio We have guests! Artists Omnia Sol (whose music you will recognize as a regular feature at Locust Radio) and Adam Ray Adkins (a.k.a. Dirt: Son of Earth and co-host of the Acid Left videocast) come on the show to talk their own work, the impact of acid communism, and what it means to build a 21st century psychedelic reason. Each of our guests shares some of their poetry and music, and we hear some more of Tish’s ongoing novel Sounds. Plus, just in time for the holidays, we get to hear what actually happened to George Bailey that night in Pottersville, after the Angel of History intervened... For the second half of our show, available to SUBSCRIBERS ONLY, Tish and Adkins share a bit more of their work. We also talk a bit more about narrative conceptualism, and why the Peoria Cookie Monster mural is so much more interesting than those stupid fucking monoliths that have been appearing lately. If you want to hear this portion, and haven’t subscribed yet, do so now: https://www.patreon.com/locustreview LISTEN: Check out more of Omnia Sol’s work on YouTube, Instagram or Patreon Check out Adam Ray Adkins’ work at his YouTube or Instagram Locust Radio is produced by Drew Franzblau. It is hosted by Alexander Billet, Tish Markley and Adam Turl.
- Tender Buttons #7: Poetry as Magic, Witches and the Non-Human
by Ciarán Daly In this episode, we chat to poet and essayist Rebecca Tamás about the figure of the witch, the power of language to manifest change in the world and poetry as a way to speak with not for voices that have been silenced throughout history. We talk about the role of awe and emotion in forging a deeper relationship with the non-human world, climate grief, the loss of language and the impact of late capitalism on our psyches, bodies and planet. You can buy Rebecca's books from Storysmith with a 10% discount, check out the episode to find out more. Tender Buttons is a Bristol-based podcast chatting to writers and artists about their ideas, process and politics. Hosted by Jessica Andrews and Jack Young, the show is produced in partnership with Storysmith Bookshop in Bristol. Follow Tender Buttons on Twitter and Instagram.
- Gaming In The Wild #60: Immortals: Fenyx Rising
by John Rogers This week I took on Ubisoft's Immortals: Fenyx Rising. It's a comedic take on some familiar Greek myths, with gameplay DNA from both the Assassin's Creed series and, notably, Nintendo's Breath of the Wild. Also mentioned this episode: Sludge Life, Umurangi Generation, Slay The Spire, Death Stranding, FAR: Changing Tides and the Wholesome Games direct. Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Tender Buttons #6: Petrol Girls Cut, Stitch, Make, Do
by Ciarán Daly In this episode we talk to Ren Aldridge, artist, writer and singer in feminist post-hardcore band Petrol Girls about the intersection of her art and politics. We chat about the DIY punk practice of passing the mic, learning by doing, zine culture, the power and limitations of anger & more. If you would like to donate to the Solidarity not Silence campaign, to help raise funds for women facing a defamation claim from a man in the music industry for statements they made concerning his treatment of women, you can do so here or buy the Petrol Girls track, I Believe Them, here. Solidarity not Silence are also dropping a new single on 4th May via Alcopop Records - This Is Sisterhood. For updates on this follow the Solidarity not Silence Twitter here. Tender Buttons is a Bristol-based podcast chatting to writers and artists about their ideas, process and politics. Hosted by Jessica Andrews and Jack Young, the show is produced in partnership with Storysmith Bookshop in Bristol. Follow Tender Buttons on Twitter and Instagram.
- Tender Buttons #5: Thin Places
by Ciarán Daly In this episode we chat to writer Kerri ní Dochartaigh about her new book Thin Places (Canongate) and its powerful weaving of memoir, history, Irish folklore, language and nature writing. We discuss her childhood growing up in Derry amidst the Troubles, the necessity of expanding our kinship with the non-human world and the ways in which a new generation of writers of landscape are blazing open the field. You can find Kerri's book at storysmithbooks.com/tenderbuttons Tender Buttons is a Bristol-based podcast chatting to writers and artists about their ideas, process and politics. Hosted by Jessica Andrews and Jack Young, the show is produced in partnership with Storysmith Bookshop in Bristol. Follow Tender Buttons on Twitter and Instagram.
- Gaming In The Wild #54: Narita Boy
by John Rogers This week it's time to take up the Techno-Sword, become one with the Trichroma, and ride the Servo-Horse to victory in the Digital Kingdom of compelling high-retro pixel-art hack 'n' slasher Narita Boy. Also mentioned: The Longing & Bioshock Infinite. Also: many thanks to Stephan for being the show's newest Patreon Patron! If you'd to join him in supporting the show, I'm very grateful – in return, you get exclusive episodes, sale recommendations, and an invite to the show’s Discord community. Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Gaming In The Wild #27: Playdead's 'INSIDE'
If you enjoy the episode, you can support the show on Patreon for as little as $3 a month, and get access
- Gaming In The Wild #48: Life Is Strange
by John Rogers This week's episode takes a look at 2015 episodic graphic adventure Life Is Strange. It's a nostalgic game that's littered with pop cultural references from Twin Peaks to The X-Files to Groundhog Day, with a wonderful soundtrack and a story that's part paranormal mystery and part intimate character study, with moments of lightness set against some heavy themes. Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Gaming In The Wild #46: Disco Elysium
by John Rogers This week's episode is about one of the most cerebral, detailed gameworlds I've ever inhabited: it’s the award-winning Disco Elysium, by Estonian studio ZA/UM. It's a game that mixes a dense, layered, politically rich game world with a fear & loathing-style protagonist, an innovative "consciousness simulator", and an intriguing murder mystery. Also mentioned: Sea of Solitude and (yes, again) Fallout 4. Support the show on Patreon to get exclusive episodes and articles Thanks for listening! Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.
- Gaming In The Wild #22: The Unfinished Swan, Fujii PSVR, Gorogoa
by John Rogers Still: 'The Unfinished Swan' (2012: Sony Interactive Entertainment) This episode is about three games that all share a sense of wonder and fairytale mystery. First is The Unfinished Swan, a celebrated 2012 PS3 title that has just been released for iOS and Steam. Next up is Fujii, a mellow, nature-oriented VR journey. Then it's time for enigmatic dimension-shifting 2D puzzle game Gorogoa. We round things off with some chat about The Secret of Dank Mountain and Sky: Children of Light. Find The Unfinished Swan soundtrack on the PSN Store Find the Fujii soundtrack over on Bandcamp Find the Gorogoa soundtrack on Steam Follow the show on Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere: http://linktr.ee/gaminginthewild.