What do Burning Man, baby carrots found in abandoned vans and Bitcoins have in common? Why, Desert Hike EX, of course. This text-based adventure by Twinbeard Studios is a devious little parody of the Internet-based life forms that some of us are, with an additional pinch of nerdiness for extra humour value. A few years from now, this game will be a veritable time capsule, reminding us of simpler times, when everyone was still using Twitter and we didn't have jetpacks.
You and your Silicon Valley friends are forced to march through the desert back to San Francisco, because someone made off with your car and money. You start out in a group of five, with fifty Bitcoins and some food. The road is long and dangerous, and you have to keep your friends fed and their morale high. Little random events will pop up now and again, most of which will give you several options to choose from by typing the number next to the option. The events influence your stats and play on delightfully geeky stereotypes, as you try to impress potential investors with your glorious ideas of social networks for parrots or code your way out of a dead end. Besides the multiple choice events, there is a mini-game, in which you have to sneak past people you meet along the way, from hitmen to sunbathing Canadians (?!). If you lose the mini-game, one of your friends dies, but hey, that means you'll have one fewer mouth to feed. Desert Hike EX varies in length, depending on your choices and luck, but it's certainly worth replaying a few times, just for the sheer hilarity of the story, not to mention the challenge of keeping the whole group alive until the end. You might even come up with a pitch for the next big thing. Smartphones for pugs? Self-playing mobile farm simulation? Anyone?