Review: “What Happened Here” and When You Finally Step Out That Door

Review: “What Happened Here” and When You Finally Step Out That Door

Many immersive theater experiences and various LARP groups have learned how to innovate and adapt in response to the cautions and concerns created by the ongoing pandemic. Mirror World Creations offers a whole catalog of experiences that can be played remotely, while Lucid Immersive recreated the work-from-home conference call.

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Visual Novels and Other Visions: An Interview With Hanako Games

Visual Novels and Other Visions: An Interview With Hanako Games

As places to discover and publish games seem to be growing more accessible, we often take for granted how interests of the previously niche were hard to find and unapproachable, especially in online spaces. Although tracking down obscure media remains a challenge—and games preservation in particular remains a contentious issue—the influences left by fleeting memories of something seemingly lost has inspired many developers today to turn what was old into something new for contemporary audiences to indulge in.

Otome games, story-based games that originated in Japan targeted towards women, for example, have seemingly left an imprint on visual novel and romance elements that exist in games of other genres. I had an opportunity to discuss that question and more with Georgina Bensley, founder of Hanako Games. We discussed what goes into doing work as “Hanako,” and how the continuously changing landscape of the games scene—especially for independent games development—has offered both challenges and opportunities for visual novels and other forms of interactive fiction. From its early beginnings working within the narrow scope of its influences through Cute Knight, to expanding into even wider themes with more recent titles like Night Cascades, Hanako Games has every intention of growing its library while continuing to work in an ever-evolving industry.

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Preview: Face Your Dreams and Fears in I Was a Teenage Exocolonist

Preview: Face Your Dreams and Fears in I Was a Teenage Exocolonist

I have been a big fan of child-raising simulation games from as far back as the iconic Princess Maker, developed by Gainax, to the more recent Growing Up, developed by Vile Monarch. I was immediately pulled in by I Was a Teenage Exocolonist because of its premise as another game of this genre, as well as its very lovely visuals. Not only have I been intrigued by what I have tried of it so far, I was also pleasantly surprised to find something with darker depth underneath its surface. (more…)

Preview: Glitchhikers Meditates on the Journey, Not the Destination

Preview: Glitchhikers Meditates on the Journey, Not the Destination

We rarely ponder or stress the importance of the moments in between the journeys that bring us where we need to go. As little as we pay attention to those gaps, they are necessary to get to our destination. After all, how do you get from point A to point B without a bridge? (more…)

March Roundtable: Time Travel

March Roundtable: Time Travel

Time, like most things, is a construct. But never have we been more aware of that fact than in 2022, which is simultaneously three years ago and six years from now. In light of occupying a strange, shifting period, this month we’re talking about time travel in games! What games do it well? What games do it poorly? And what can we learn from its inclusion? (more…)