Kill Screen Magazine Gets a Redesign

The indie video game pub hits Kickstarter to revamp its printed look

Five years ago, Kill Screen became a printed reality thanks to a Kickstarter campaign. Nine issues were produced on just $6,000—speaking to not only their frugal ways but their strong, driving vision of creating a platform for thoughtfully discussing independent video games, and they’ve been an inspiration to us along the way. Gaming increasingly becomes a mirror of today’s society, much like films and music, and the cultural writings of Kill Screen both online and offline help digest and analyze why they’re relevant. Now our friends at Kill Screen are ambitiously pursuing higher-quality coverage and an updated look for their quarterly magazine to better service readers.

The Kill Screen website got its own redesign last winter, and now it’s time for the printed version. “We went from a blogg-y, ephemeral site design to something stickier and more rigidly structured. We started making critical judgments on games as they were released and we dug into our news arm,” Editorial Director Clayton Purdom tells CH. “The print publication is making a similar jump toward structure and relevance, even though, because of its format and schedule, it’ll still have a more leisurely feel than the site.”

“A bigger mission requires a bigger magazine,” he continues. “The new, larger format allows our photography and illustrations room to breathe, and with these more distinct layouts we’re instituting more rigid sections and a clearer delineation between long-form criticism, reported features, and a bright, worldly front-of-book. David [McDowell]’s photography and an investment in on-the-ground reporting will allow us to document the breathtaking creativity of independent games with a depth never-before attempted.”

“I come from the world of music writing, and there’s this apocryphal line in that world that ‘writing about music is like dancing about architecture,'” says Purdom. You could say the same about any cultural writing, and that its format—digital or print—doesn’t change the inherent strangeness of the enterprise. That being said, I still take a lot of inspiration from great music writing and in this redesign I hope to recreate the polish, depth of thought and feeling of community that the great music magazines of my youth, particularly Raygun and late-’90s Spin, provided.”

A pledge as low as $5 gets you a digital copy of the new magazine. The first 75 members to contribute $50 receive membership to the Kill Screen Games Club, where you’ll receive download codes for over 20 games and access to online chats with other club members and Kill Screen writers. Visit the Kill Screen Kickstarter campaign to show some love.

Image of game designers Nina Freeman and Karla Zimonja courtesy of David McDowell, mockups courtesy of Kill Screen