Southern Gothic

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Kentucky Route Zero

The Southern Gothic

Cardboard Computer

Kentucky Route Zero is a beautiful visual novel with something of the timeless, surreal feel of Southern Gothic fiction, though without the elaborate language of Faulkner.

The graphics are simple yet striking, in a twilight palette that reinforces the moody nature of the game. It's slow moving, meditative and emotionally impactful.

You play as Conway, a truck driver, who needs to make a delivery to Dogwood Drive. The people you meet tell you that you need to use Route Zero -- which does not appear to exist on any map. Magic realism at work, in other words.

It's played in a point-and-click, graphic adventure kind of way, but there are no real puzzles to solve; more, environments to explore, and characters -- well realized ones -- with whom to chat. As in hypertext fiction, the appeal is in the story, not the gameplay; and the interesting moments are those of epiphany, when you understand something more about the underlying story, putting pieces together mentally.

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