Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Welcome to our weekly open thread for the discussion of gaming plans, nagging questions, and whatever else we feel like talking about. No matter what the topic, we invite everyone in the comments to tell us: What Are You Playing This Weekend?

This week, I’ve been fiddling with a little game called Spectra. It first came out last year as a part of Microsoft’s push for Windows 8-exclusives, but today, its developers are bringing it to Xbox One and Steam, with support for Macs and older Windows PCs. It’s a simple arcade-style game where you pilot a neon jet-car down a randomly generated cosmic highway, picking up cubes for points and dodging the demandable speedbumps that litter the road.

The hook and real star of Spectra, however, is the soundtrack. It’s divided into 10 levels, and each represents a different song from the album of the same name by Chipzel, the Northern Irish chiptune artist who last made waves with her compositions for Super Hexagon. The game that Gateway Interactive built to surround these killer tunes is so slight and unexciting that it feels more like a vehicle for the delivery of Chipzel’s pulsating Game Boy-powered beats than a thoughtful approach to fusing the music with the fast-paced high-score-chasing action that it’s reaching for.


But it’s also slight enough that it doesn’t distract from the music, and that’s for the best. Chipzel’s work here is more diverse and complex than the non-stop aural assault of her Super Hexagon tracks. There’s still plenty of that energy in songs like “Sonnet” and “Evolution,” but it’s balanced out with more melodic tracks like “Aurora Borealis” and the gorgeous “Only Human,” which you can hear below.

If you’d like to get your hands and ears on Spectra, we’ve got 10 Steam codes that’ll grant you copies of both the game and the soundtrack. The music will be accessible through Steam, but the MP3s are on your hard drive and you can transfer them to whatever media library you prefer. All you have to do is send an email with the subject line “Spectra” to avcontests [at] theonion [dot] com before 3 p.m. Central time today. We’ll take care of the rest. And as always, let us know what you’ll be playing this weekend down in the comments.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter