Ep. 19: Kentucky Route Zero and the Route to Appalachia

It’s near impossible to talk about Appalachia and video games, and games that “get Appalachia right”, without talking about Kentucky Route Zero. The game itself is mysterious, filled with empty space and people with featureless faces, a five-part digital theater that leaves enough room for Appalachia to rush in. What is it about this magical point and click adventure game that feels so real?

In part two of Gaming Broadcast’s “Playing Appalachia” series, we’re joined by Cardboard Computer, the makers of Kentucky Route Zero, to learn what the magical has to say about the real (especially as it relates to Appalachia) and the surprising ways Appalachians responded to seeing their home reanimated in digital form.

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Cardboard Computer = games by Jake ElliotTamas Kemenczy, and Ben Babbitt. They’re currently working on Kentucky Route Zero, a magical realist adventure game about a secret highway in the caves beneath Kentucky, and the mysterious folks who travel it. Acts I-IV of Kentucky Route Zero are available now, with Act V available sometime other than now.

For part one of Gaming Broadcast’s series Playing Appalachia, a collection of conversations with Appalachian and Appalachian adjacent gamers and game makers, check out Ep. 18 What Games Are Getting Right About Appalachia with Dr. Elizabeth Catte.

Stuff We Mentioned…
Kentucky Route Zero
Mammoth Cave
Colossal Cave Adventure
Mark Fisher
History of Kentucky Unions
Magical Realism
Gabriel García Márquez and The Autumn of the Patriarch
Isabella Allende and The House of the Spirits
Southern Gothic
Flannery O’Connor
Tennessee Williams and The Glass Menagerie
“It’s a lie, but not everything in it is false.”

JD (The Broad)
Website: GamingBroadly.com
Twitter: @JayDeeCepticon
Instagram: @JayDeeCepticon

Cardboard Computer (The Cast)
Website: CardboardComputer.com
Twitter: @cardboardcompy
Instagram: @cardboardcompy
Kentucky Route Zero: KentuckyRouteZero.com 

Gaming Broad(cast) is the official podcast of GamingBroadly.com. Thank you to everyone who has liked, subscribed, and commented about Gaming Broad(cast) on iTunes! You can also follow this podcast on SpotifyPodbeanStitcherGoogle Music, or subscribe directly using our RSS feed. Want some gamey goodness in your email inbox? Sign up for some occasional(ly) playful newsletter updates. Thanks to Ben Cohn for the music for this episode!


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