Review: Far From Noise

The narrator in Far from Noise is freaking out, and with good reason. Thrown from the road by a spot of engine trouble, they’ve found themselves teetering on the edge of a cliff, one unlucky movement away from tumbling to a soggy death. At first they try to make light of the situation – ”People QUEUE for these kind of thrills!”, they joke – but with the sun setting and no luck starting the car again, panic begins to set in. Like most of us, the narrator is too young to die and has so much left to do. If this is the end, what have they left behind to be remembered by?

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Review: Skipper

It’s brave, to make a game like Skipper in 2017. Today’s most widely played games want to keep you captive for as long as possible, buttering you up with new abilities or upgrades while whispering sweet nothings about the prizes that lie ahead, just a few gold coins or experience points away. If your current task has lost its appeal, there’s always something else to do, some other attraction to cleanse the palate and keep you playing. This is video games as binge television, a treadmill set just right so that you could keep running forever if you wanted.

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Review: Fireworks, Should We See It From The Side Or The Bottom?

As perennial host of the Scotland Loves Anime festival Jonathan Clements noted in his introduction to the film, it’s hard to separate Fireworks from the work of Makoto Shinkai. His latest film, Your Name, was an international sensation, though in truth Shinkai’s star has been ascending for some time on account of his arresting visual style and affectingly sincere take on young romance. All the attention has sparking renewed interest in his influences, Clements tells us, and among those who’ve benefitted from the Shinkai bump is Shunji Iwai. The present screening is the proof; Fireworks is in fact an animated remake of the Iwai’s 1993 film of the same name, Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?

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Review: Meadowlark

There are few enough people gathered at the stage to watch Meadowlark at any given point during their set that I find myself keeping a headcount. At its busiest there are 33, though the number fluctuates depending on who needs another drink and whether someone decided pause for a moment on their way back or forth to the toilet, located stage left. Suffice to say, The Record Factory is an awkward venue that encourages a distracted kind of listening. The stage, where Bristol-based Kate McGill and Daniel Broadley stand in small pocket of darkness lit only by an array of those exposed filament bulbs you get in upmarket cafes, occupies a small alcove to the side of the room filled with chairs, tables, benches and sofas. To the patrons reclined in leather seats at the far end of the space, who presumably paid to be here, the live music we’re enjoying seems like an afterthought. 

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Review: The First Tree

Of the more experimental games to come out of the independent scene in recent years, many have a distinctly dream-like quality. Think big, empty environments rendered in striking colours, with horizons which seem to stretch into infinity. The otherworldly places in games like Journey, Proteus, Rain, House, Eternity and Eidolon have the feeling of expressionist paintings that you can visit, and you often awaken in these worlds with little idea of how you got there or what it is you’re there to do. Curiosity takes hold, and you find yourself drifting through these places as a dreamer might, exploring and observing slowly and thoughtfully, taking meaning where you can.  

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