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Islands: Non-Places Review – Surreal mundanity

What are “non-places”? They’re the spaces we filter through so often that we pay them no mind. Bus stops, parking lots, lobbies, and so on. Places we spent a fair amount of time passing through, but never pay any attention to. Transitory spaces where our minds wander or we distract ourselves with our phones while we wait to reach our true destination. Islands: Non-Places from Carl Burton is an examination of those oft-forgotten spots, these utilitarian pieces of architecture, that imbues them with a touch of magic. Islands is a series of vignettes. Each scene offers up a seemingly normal space and transforms it with a bit surrealism. A pair of escalators carry palm trees that stop for a shower before continuing upward, for instance, or eggs stepping off a bus to take refuge in a bus stop that becomes an incubator. The leap to...
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Traipse About a Beautiful Parkour Playground in Refunct

Refunct is one of those perfect examples of a pleasant surprise. I came across it by pure chance during the Steam Winter sale. Saw it was cheap (less than a dollar at the time) and that the reviews were good, so I figured it was worth a shot. Plus, it described itself as a “peaceful, short first-person platformer about restoring a vibrant world.” So right up my alley, basically. Refunct sees you reactivating a dormant world. You begin on a small plot of land in the middle of the ocean at sunrise. As you move forward, you come across a large red button on the ground. By pressing it, a new set of islands rise from the ocean, another button resting atop one of them. The goal is to keep pressing these buttons until the entire landscape is restored. It’s a simple and brief experience...
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Gareth’s Top Games of 2016

2016. There’s nothing to be said that hasn’t already been said, and I don’t want to drag down what should be a celebration of the year in video games. But the fact is 2016 wasn’t pleasant, to put it mildly. Thankfully, what was generally a disastrous year for the world was actually a rather good year for video games. My main regret is that I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to invest into them. However, I have managed to play some titles at least. Here’s my rundown of the highlights and a few lowlights. Biggest Mixed Reaction Deus Ex: Mankind Divided: First off, the gameplay of Mankind Divided is first class, falling only behind Dishonored 2 in terms of the best-playing games of the year (that I played at any rate). With that said, it is ultimately the plot and...
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