Desk by Caleb Kraft

Is My Mid Century Modern Desk An Homage or a Cheap Knock Off?

Caleb Kraft for Make: I needed a desk for my office. Being a maker that is also loaded down with fancy tools, I couldn’t bear to go to the store and buy something. I decided I wanted to make something, and the design would have to be one that I wouldn’t mind looking at for long periods of time.

The big question at this point, however, is what to do with the files. Do I share them even though this is a knockoff of Helmut Magg’s work?

Helmut Magg desk This is a lovely project idea and something I would very much like to do for myself.

This particular project raises some interesting questions as the desk is based on a fairly famous 50s writing desk designed by Helmut Magg. It and other similar Magg desks are still sold from licensed vendors for thousands of dollars apiece. There is also a pretty healthy knockoff market. Like the author, I think these kinds of designs are fine to use as inspiration for personal projects, but selling them — or even giving away the design blueprints — definitely puts you in a grey area. You’d probably be opening yourself up to a lawsuit, even if you were ultimately well within your legal rights.

See also

Make: Design for CNC

Craft and creativity

A DIY mid-century modern CNC flat pack desk and the ethics of recreating classic furniture

In Autodesk Fusion360, I designed my own. This is where things start to get muddy. I looked at his, then put it away and designed my own. All my angles and measurements are actually different than his. However, I very obviously was designing something to look pretty much just like his.

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An incredible-looking game from Studio Koba, coming to Kickstarter soon!

Narita Boy

You are Narita Boy, a legendary digital hero in an epic quest through simultaneous dimensions. The digital kingdom is under attack and you are called as their last hope of survival. Explore a vast world to find the techno sword, the only effective weapon against the threat.

The aesthetic of the game is inspired by retro pixel adventures (Castlevania, Another World, Double Dragon) with a modern touch (Superbrothers, Sword and Sorcery) and an 80s plot homage (Ready Player One, He-Man, The Last Starfighter), accompanied by the retro synth touch of the old glory days.

See also

Pedro Medeiros (aka @saint11) creates pixel art and other game dev stuff on Patreon.

See also: The best Logos from the Commodore Amiga Scene

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Animated GIF pixel art tutorials by Pedro Medeiros

Pedro Medeiros: “My focus with this Patreon is to fund pixel art and other game development tutorials. I post a new 256×256 gif tutorial every Monday [on Patreon], and on my twitter.”

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Arduboy
Miscellany

Arduboy: Game system the size of a credit card

Arduboy is a miniature, open-source, programmable game system based on Arduino.

Arduboy started on Kickstarter in 2015 and is now for sale at $49 (they expect it to sell out quickly, however). Features:

  • 1.3″ brilliant black & white OLED display
  • 6 tactile momentary push buttons
  • 2 channel piezo electric speaker
  • Durable polycarbonate and aluminum construction
  • Rechargeable thin-film lithium polymer battery

(via HN)

See also: Other posts tagged ‘electronics’.

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Shovel Knight and Nailing Nostalgia

Mark Brown: Some games are all about nostalgia – a reminder of how games used to be. No game nails this sensation quite like Shovel Knight, which expertly picks and chooses the right bits to emulate from old games. Here’s how Yacht Club Games pulled it off.

See also

Star Trek fonts
Use your words

The fonts of Star Trek

If you’ve ever tried to find the fonts used for a particular Star Trek series or film, you’ll have found that there are thousands of poor imitations on free font sites everywhere. Thanks to Yves Peters at Font Shop, now there’s a guide to the original fonts of Star Trek!

What’s interesting about Star Trek is that it has a number of typical alphabets that are immediately recognisable, and have become an integral part of pop culture. While many fan-made fonts exist based on the logos and title sequences of popular movies and television series, Star Trek is one of the very rare franchises which at one point had officially released fonts. In 1992 Bitstream introduced the Star Trek Font Pack featuring four digital typefaces – Star Trek, the signature face of the original television series; Star Trek Film, used for the credit titles of the Star Trek movies; Star Trek Pi, a collection of Star Trek insignias and Klingon symbols; and Star Trek Bold Extended, the lettering of the name and registration number on the hull of all Starfleet space ships. The Star Trek Font Pack has been discontinued long ago – possibly over licensing issues – yet individual typeface designs are still available under different names. We will run into them in this article, plus some others.

Posters for Star Trek Beyond and the first Motion Picture

In celebration of the upcoming release of Star Trek Beyond and the 50th anniversary of the franchise, Paramount had a poster created that mirrors Bob Peak’s beautiful artwork for The Motion Picture

See also:

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NES Classic Edition

Nintendo is releasing a miniature NES with 30 built-in games

The Verge: Today the company announced what it’s calling the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition. It looks just like a NES, only a lot tinier, and it comes with 30 games built in. You can connect it to your TV via a HDMI cable, and it also includes a controller designed to work just like the iconic rectangular NES gamepad.

Launches in November for $59.99, with the following games:

  • Balloon Fight
  • Bubble Bobble
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
  • Donkey Kong
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Double Dragon II: The Revenge
  • Dr. Mario
  • Excitebike
  • Final Fantasy
  • Galaga
  • Ghosts’N Goblins
  • Gradius
  • Ice Climber
  • Kid Icarus
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • Mario Bros.
  • Mega Man 2
  • Metroid
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Pac-Man
  • Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics
  • Super C
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Tecmo Bowl
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Kotaku: …a Nintendo spokesperson said that the console won’t be able to connect to the internet and that the company has no plans to support it with new NES games in the future. Also, in case you were wondering, the cartridge slot doesn’t actually open!

Update: Pint-sized NES Classic Edition now has an amazingly retro commercial

See also: This gorgeous Bluetooth keyboard replica of the ZX Spectrum and these colourful digital restorations of historic computers.

Shape of things to come

NES Classic Edition

“Relive the 80s when the Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System launches in stores on 11th November.”

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A Turkish typewriter
Use your words

Lessons about language from a Turkish typewriter

What I learned about languages just by looking at a Turkish typewriter, by Marcin Wichary, Design lead & typographer at Medium.

I don’t speak Turkish, and can’t read it either. I have never been to Turkey. I honestly don’t even know that much about Turkey. Why did I ask for a Turkish typewriter, then? Because it has one of the most fascinating keyboard layouts ever.

Some highlights:

  1. We’re not beholden to Q·W·E·R·T·YThe new layout had nothing in common with Q·W·E·R·T·Y. It was ergonomically superior, and measured to be up to twice as fast in typing; Turkey went on to break dozens of world records in typewriting championships before the end of century.
  2. Accented characters aren’t always second-class citizensTo me, this keyboard says “we’re proud of our language and we will treat it with respect.”
  3. Each language has a crazy secret…in Turkish, i gets capitalized to… İ, its tittle still there. But I exists also! And its lowercase form is, you guessed it… ı. Dotted i and dotless ı coexist in perfect harmony, and both have separate keys on the keyboard.
  4. Some of those other languages need to be accommodated alsoLook at the Turkish keyboard. There are three letters, w, x, and q, in a somewhat unusual location: right next to the digits in the top row.
  5. Punctuation is the first to go when sacrifices need to be madeSince backspacing was often physically difficult — welcome to the mechanical world — typewriters invented a certain power user shortcut. To type two characters in one space you would hold the spacebar, press as many characters as needed, and then release the spacebar to move to the next position.

See also: 216 positive emotions that have no direct English translation

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Soyuz TMA-8

The first variant of the patch of the Russian-American-Brazilian crew of the Soyuz TMA-8 spaceship.

See also

Progression and regression

Retro space design: Cosmonaut mission patches

Soviet mission patches were designed for each voyage and depicted details unique to the trip, often in vibrant colors. Today, original Soviet mission patches are a rare find.

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Smithsonian: Enterprise Studio Model Back on Display

USS Enterprise on display(via @airandspace)

The Enterprise model, a genuine television star of the 1960s, now rests in the south lobby of Milestones in a new, state-of-the-art, climate-controlled case. From the center of the Hall, the restored Enterprise rests with its camera-ready side on full view.

Washington Post: Here’s what’s new:

A green-gray paint job. Using the original paint on the top of the saucer as a reference, conservators returned the ship to its proper color by removing paint applied during previous restorations and adding new paint where needed. “People are going to say it looks too green now, but it looked more gray on TV because of the powerful incandescent studio lights,” [museum conservator, Malcolm] Collum says.

Enterprise restoration

Bill George and John Goodson, both of ILM, mark the position of windows on the secondary hull before painting.

Space tarnish. Artists from visual-effects studio Industrial Light and Magic applied bronze-colored streaks and specks, lost during past restorations, to the exterior. “It looks like the ship was speeding through space and ran through a cloud of something that splattered across its hull,”Collum says.

Old-school decals. With historic photos as a reference, ILM artists added lettering to the sides of the starship using the waterslide method (the same technology that underlies temporary tattoos) used by the original model makers.

A more authentic deflector dish. Before coming to the Smithsonian, the Enterprise lost its deflector dish — the saucer at the front that projects a force field to protect the ship from space debris. During an earlier restoration, “the museum made a not-very-accurate replacement — we referred to it as the salad bowl,” Collum says. The new dish is a perfect replica, re-created using the original specs.

Lights that won’t cause fires. In addition to blinking lights throughout the ship, the Enterprise’s nacelles appeared to have spinning lights inside, an effect created with motors, mirrors and Christmas lights. The old incandescent bulbs ran hot and actually scorched the inside of the wooden model, which is why they were removed long ago, Collum says. The restored version uses LED lights to replicate the original effects. “When you turn on the lights, it just brings the ship to life,” Collum says. “It’s an incredible transformation.”

Previously…

Continue reading

Craft and creativity

USS Enterprise goes back on display at the Smithsonian after a faithful restoration

The studio model of the Star Trek starship Enterprise is now on exhibit in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. After taking it off exhibit in 2014, assembling a special advisory committee, examining it using x-ray radiography, searching out long-lost photos, and planning the work in great detail, months of hard work culminated in several weeks of painting, detail work, rewiring, and final assembly.

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Guide to Computing

This colourful series of ten historic computers, created in close collaboration between INK and Docubyte, documents the beginning of our computing history.

Featuring such famous machines as the IBM 1401 and Alan Turing’s Pilot ACE, Guide to Computing showcases a minimalist approach to design that precedes even Apple’s contemporary motifs.

What’s more, the combination of Docubyte’s photography and INK’s skilful retouching and post-production techniques has resulted in something wholly unique: the ageing historical objects as photographed by Docubyte have been ‘digitally restored’ and returned to their original form. As a number of these computers predate modern colour photography, Guide to Computing therefore showcases them in a never before seen context.

Photography by Docubyte. Retouching by INK.

See also

Miscellany

Colourful digital restorations of historic computers

This colourful series of ten historic computers, created in close collaboration between INK and Docubyte, documents the beginning of our computing history.

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The Old New World

Travel through a steampunk time machine back to 1930’s America in this fantastic animation by Alexey Zakharov that uses historic photographs with camera projection techniques to great effect.

(via Laughing Squid)

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The Old New World

It’s a travel back in time with a little steampunk time machine. The main part of this video was made with Camera projection based on photos.

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Thunderbirds 1965 – Documentary

Behind the scenes on Thunderbirds 1965: a project to produce three new episodes of the classic television show Thunderbirds – exactly the way it was done in the 60s!

“Thunderbirds is a sixties view of the future and of America by people who had never been to either.”

3,378 backers pledged £218,412 on Kickstarter last year to resurrect Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s classic Thunderbirds using original voice tracks and retro filmmaking techniques.

See also

The Freewrite ‘smart typewriter’ with an e-ink display.
A “distraction-free tool for writing composition.”

Astrohaus Freewrite - top

Boing Boing: The $500 price is high, and driven by the device’s high-spec manufacturing: the full-sized mechanical keyboard’s kitted out with Cherry MX switches, and the body of the device is machined aluminum. It weighs four pounds and you carry it by pulling out a recessed handle.

The Freewrite originally launched on Kickstarter (as the ‘Hemingwrite’) and is currently at a special promotional price.

TechCrunch: The FreeWrite will be available today for a 24-hour flash sale at $449, after which the price will increase to $499 through March, with a final MSRP of $549. Shipments will begin this March.

Wired: Freewrite weighs four pounds—about halfway between the weight of the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro. But you won’t need to bring the Freewrite’s charger to the coffee shop, because get this: It gets more than four weeks worth of battery life from a single charge.

See also

Craft and creativity

Freewrite: A ‘smart typewriter’ with an e-ink display

“We are quickly seeing people becoming more disenchanted than ever with the nag of constant consumption,” explains Adam Leeb, cofounder of Freewrite manufacturer Astrohaus. “Everyone, particularly the millennial generation, understands that we now have to fight for our own attention from the outside world. Instead of allowing it to be a general purpose computer, we focused on one purpose, making the best possible writing experience.” — Wired

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The Enterprise separated into its component parts

Smithsonian: The Enterprise model has been carefully separated into its individual components—saucer section; secondary hull; port and starboard nacelles and pylons; deflector dish array; hangar bay doors; and the bridge. Each section is being meticulously studied to determine its construction and condition and will be documented with visible, ultraviolet, and infrared photography.

For areas repainted during previous restorations, a new base layer will be applied on top that exactly matches the original hull grey. “We don’t have to speculate about the original grey color,” says conservator Ariel O’Connor. “Our examinations have revealed a large section of original, first pilot-episode grey hidden and protected under the saucer bolt cover.”

(Includes some pictures from The Washington Post.)

TrekCore: We’ve just gotten back from our catch-up session with the Enterprise model conservation team at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum facility in Virginia! Here’s a discussion with conservator Malcolm Collum about a NEW deflector dish for the Enterprise!

See also

(via MeFi)

Popular Mechanics has a few more pictures →

Craft and creativity

The original USS Enterprise returns to spacedock for detailed restoration work

“The Enterprise was designed to look unbound by gravity, ready to explore strange new worlds at faster-than-light speeds week after week. Five decades later, the pull of our home world has taken its toll on the model, particularly the secondary hull and nacelles.”

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At this year’s CES Kodak announced a brand new 8mm film camera, of all things. The industrial design is by Yves Béhar (the man behind the Jambox and OLPC) and his team at FuseProject. It’s a fascinating thing to look at.

The Kodak Super 8 Revival Initiative reaches far beyond the introduction of a new camera. The company has built a roadmap that includes a range of cameras, film development services, post production tools and more. “It is an ecosystem for film” said Jeff Clarke, Eastman Kodak Chief Executive Officer.

Shooting analogue has never been so easy. When you purchase film you will be buying the film, processing and digital transfer. The lab will send you your developed film back and email you a password to retrieve your digital scans from the cloud so you can edit and share in any way you choose.

The Verge: The (non-working) prototype is on display at CES. Kodak plans to ship limited edition of the camera in the fall for somewhere between $400 and $750, according to the WSJ. A less expensive model is expected in 2017. Processing the film should cost $50 to $75 a cartridge.

Wired: Those seeing the new camera at CES have been quick to call it “old-school,” but Béhar dismisses the descriptor. “This is not a retro design job,” he says. “I was not interested in being directly inspired in what was done back then. The reason it looks retro is the size and the mechanical restraint of using a [film] cartridge.”

The 8mm camera return explained by Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke

The Verge’s Sean O’Kane talked to Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke about how it works, why JJ Abrams loves it, and why the company is going retro.

See also

  • The History of Aspect Ratios — John Hess traces the evolution of the screen shape from the silent film days through the widescreen explosion of the 50s, to the aspect ratio of modern digital cameras
  • The acclaimed documentary Tangerine was shot using the iPhone 5S (three actually), $8 camera app Filmic Pro, a Steadicam rig and special anamorphic lenses made by Moondog Labs
  • AMPC: A modern computer built inside a case inspired by older amplifiers
  • All trousers: The Novo digital cinema camera

…and other posts tagged ‘filmmaking’

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Kodak’s Super 8 Camera revival

“The hope, at Kodak and according to Béhar, is for the new Super 8 to be something of a bridge, not just between film and digital, but between entry-level and professional movie-making.” — Wired

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(via Boing Boing)

See also: ‘Forensic retrocomputing’ discovers previously unknown Andy Warhol Amiga art from 1985

Craft and creativity

The best Logos from the Commodore Amiga Scene

A collection by Christian Kirchesch: “Originally this was supposed to be an article about the Top 20 Logos from Commodore Amiga. It ended up with 165. The more I digged into it, the more precious gems I found.”

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I was struck by how many smartwatch features considered groundbreaking today were around in some form years or decades ago.

“It was certainly intriguing not only to see an unparalleled array of gadgetry on display, but to hear the corporation responsible say it didn’t have much interest in adding to the list.”

…more on The Verge.

See also: Casio F-91W: terrorist watch

Shape of things to come

Casio’s original smartwatches

“Casio is showing off its rich history of unusual wristwatches, which range from the forward-thinking to the bizarre. It’s a pretty amazing collection, with features I never knew existed in digital timepieces.” — The Verge

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AMPC – A modern computer built inside a case inspired by older amplifiers.

Lovely work from Love Hultén, Swedish designer and craftsman.

The works of Love Hultén are also nostalgic visions in a world of throwaway excess and economic efficiency gone awry.

See also

Craft and creativity

AMPC: A modern computer built inside a case inspired by older amplifiers

A lovely American walnut and aluminium PC inspired by amps from the late 70’s.

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Casio F-91W range
Miscellany

Casio F-91W: terrorist watch

Casio F-91W disassembled

Reading a blog post about the Apple Watch today, I became aware of the fact that the old Casio F-91W I wore as a teenager is still in production! Then I was reminded of the story from 2011 that this model of watch is favoured by hipsters and… terrorists:

It is cheap, basic and widely available around the world. Yet the Casio F-91W digital watch was declared to be “the sign of al-Qaida” and a contributing factor to continued detention of prisoners by the analysts stationed at Guantánamo Bay.

Osama bin Laden wearing a Casio F-91W

Osama bin Laden wearing a Casio F-91W. The image is genuine, as far as I can tell.

The report states: “The Casio was known to be given to the students at al-Qaida bomb-making training courses in Afghanistan at which the students received instruction in the preparation of timing devices using the watch.

Casio A-159W

Casio A-159W

“Approximately one-third of the JTF-GTMO detainees that were captured with these models of watches have known connections to explosives, either having attended explosives training, having association with a facility where IEDs were made or where explosives training was given, or having association with a person identified as an explosives expert.”

More than 50 detainee reports refer to the Casio timepieces. The records of 32 detainees refer to the black Casio F-91W, while a further 20 make reference to the silver version, the A-159W.

Al Qaida watch timer on perf board

This improvised timer for a time bomb was captured in the early 2000s


“We purposely don’t market it as anything cool or trendy,” Tim Gould, head of marketing at Casio UK told the BBC.

“It’s not pretentious and doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not. It just a basic watch that is reliable and good value.”


The Casio Retro Range

I’m definitely going to buy one of these watches — in fact I may get a variety of colours and the steel A-159W. I’m also tempted to get one of these ‘Reworks’ editions…

Finn Magee – Reworks

The reworks series gets inside the Casio F-91W digital wristwatch, one of the most commonplace items of consumer electronics.

Casio F-91W Rework - Steel colour range

Mass produced Casio F-91Ws are stripped down and their components reworked using a combination of industrial and craft processes. They’re then carefully reassembled to build at once familiar and unique timepieces.

The Reworks story begins with growing up in the 1980’s. Back then a Casio digital watch was mandatory and when the F-91W was introduced 1991 it was the model to have. The watch felt hi-tech and was reliable, accurate and cheap too. It achieved near ubiquitous product status, gracing first and third world wrists alike.


Further reading

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The recreated ZX Spectrum is a flawless copy of the original device, and will ship some time later this year with a companion app for iOS and Android, as well as a number of ZX Spectrum games such as Chuckie Egg — one of the machine’s greatest hits. The games work on both smartphones and tablets, but the device itself also functions as a straightforward Bluetooth keyboard.

Pre-order at sinclairzxspectrum.elite-systems.co.uk

The original ZX Spectrum

An issue 2 1982 ZX Spectrum

The original ZX Spectrum is remembered for its rubber keyboard, diminutive size and distinctive rainbow motif. It was originally released on 23 April 1982 with 16 KB of RAM for £125 or with 48 KB for £175.
Wikipedia

Shape of things to come

Gorgeous Bluetooth keyboard replica of the ZX Spectrum

I find this amusing. The squishy rubber keyboard was apparently the worst feature of the Spectrum. This product is an admirable reproduction and I can certainly see the nostalgic appeal, but I think I’ll pass. It may be a gorgeous replica, but I doubt it’s a good keyboard.

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This is without a doubt one of the best promotional videos for a Kickstarter project! NSFW.

STRAFE® by Pixel Titans, on Kickstarter

STRAFE ® is a unique singleplayer 3D action experience where the player can pick up a gun and shoot hordes of things in the face. Sounds crazy right? WELL IT GETS CRAZIER, WE PUT YOU IN THE EYES OF A DIGITAL PERSON! YUP, RIGHT BEHIND THE GUN.

We’ve created groundbreaking technology that changes the levels everytime you play for endless replayability! There are BILLIONS of experiences to be had with crazy secrets to find! We give you the levels, you paint them red.

STRAFE logo

Also, definitely check out their gloriously retro official site, strafe1996.com and developer blog.

Strafe - Glutton

(via)

Let’s Play Nomad X

During a ‘Let’s Play’ review of his favourite ’90s computer game, a man tells a story of heartbreak. Guiding us through the space simulator Nomad X, he offers hints and tips on gameplay, losing the love of his life … and why, yesterday, he got punched in the throat.

(via digg, which rightly compared it to “You Suck At Photoshop”)

Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum.
scarfolk.blogspot.co.uk

(via Laughing Squid)

Craft and creativity

Scarfolk Council

Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. “Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay.” For more information please reread.

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Papers, Please: A dystopian document thriller

The communist state of Arstotzka has just ended a 6-year war with neighboring Kolechia and reclaimed its rightful half of the border town, Grestin. Your job as immigration inspector is to control the flow of people entering the Arstotzkan side of Grestin from Kolechia. Among the throngs of immigrants and visitors looking for work are hidden smugglers, spies, and terrorists. Using only the documents provided by travelers and the Ministry of Admission’s primitive inspect, search, and fingerprint systems you must decide who can enter Arstotzka and who will be turned away or arrested.

Help the creators get the game made by supporting it on Steam Greenlight.