Kentucky Route Zero
is a magical realist video game about a secret highway running through the Mammoth Cave system, and the people who live there. It's a game about what Mark Fisher called "the cancellation of the future." For the characters in this game, the future is a broken promise made by a faceless energy company. The cancellation of the future has consequences for the natural flow of time— now erratic, unpredictable, "out of joint"—so we see art and culture from many times co- existing in a murky now. The experience is something like living with ghosts. But still living, playing, building homes in the ruins of the future.
Relieved of the burden of belonging to the future, video games can be another creative tool we use to explore the present. New game design tools like Twine, Bitsy, and Scratch make the form accessible to more people without training or experience in computer programming. It's summer, so let's make games on the porch. We're in love, so let's make private games for our lovers. We've been through a lot, so let's make games about our stories. We're being exploited, so let's make a protest game.
Kentucky, speculative futurism, Appalachia, point-and-click adventure game