The night is dark and full of terrors. You are one of them. You cannot see, but you can hear, and though they may hear you coming, they will not be able to stop you. Because he deserves it. Jord Farrell presents The Hunter, an intense, challenging, and intensely challenging, unique top-down stealth-based horror adventure, originally developed as part of the "you only get one" Ludum Dare 28 competition, now expanded and refined for a final release.
Felix Park's short interactive art piece looks simple, but has surprising depth. When you pick up your camera and allow yourself to zoom in close to different parts of your room, you'll be surprised at the things you find. By turns silly, embarrassing, introspective and even a little uncomfortable, FOC/US is about the things we can let isolate and paralyze us, as well as the parts of us we think too much about, or maybe not enough.
"A four dimensional system represented in two dimensions". Sound confusing? Well, just try it out. This deceptively simple turn-based puzzle game uses its clever concept to craft some devious levels, though a lack of explanation of its mechanics and restrictions will make it feel rough around the edges for some.
Olav and the Lute, a music-based puzzle adventure game by Shelly Alon, and Johann and Daniel Von Appen has you exploring a post-apocalyptic fantasy world, wielding the power of a magical stringed instrument. Gameplay will be familiar to players of LucasArts' Loom, but Olav and the Lute is an engagingly unique ride, despite its short length.
In this creepy bit of Twine-delivered interactive fiction, a young girl's father becomes obsessed with digging a hole beneath their house. As the years pass, he begins to resemble less and less the man she once knew... and perhaps even less of a man at all...
In this incredibly swanky and clever twist on the standard first-person-shooter formula, time only moves when you do. Dodge bullets, take out enemies, and navigate a field of deadly fire (or turn it to your advantage) in this short but incredibly stylish game that you'll want to see even more of.
What do you do with a Brawlin' Sailor? Well, if it's Major Bueno's new action game, then you should play it! Major Bueno has sneakily become one of browser gaming's most intriguing experimenters, with each of their games-a-month being consistently entertaining and singularly unique. This brawling tale of a sea dog punching his way through a multitude of captors is certainly both.
What do you do with a Brawlin' Sailor? Well, if it's Major Bueno's new action game, then you should play it! Major Bueno has sneakily become one of browser gaming's most intriguing experimenters, with each of their games-a-month being consistently entertaining and singularly unique. This brawling tale of a sea dog punching his way through a multitude of captors is certainly both.
PicTune is an experimental sound-based puzzle game by IcyLime based around a unique mesh of sight and sound. In each level, you will be given series of tones that represent a picture on a pixelated grid. It makes your feel that you using a part of your brain not often tapped, and though there are some frustrations getting used to the mechanics, the game has an addictive quality that cannot be denied.
Created by Markus Persson (the mind behind a certain popular crafting game featuring mines) Drop is a simple experimental typing game with a visual twist. To play, you just type the advancing letters before they reach the edge of the screen all while the fabric of reality bends and warps around you.
Go to a forest, meet people, find items they want, give them the items, make them happy. Sounds easy? Not really, because you have no idea what the people are saying. They all speak in symbols, and it's up to you to figure out what they are talking about and how to help them. Vast is a simple, minimalistic game, but it's heartwarming and strangely rewarding.
A "crowd-sourced" music video for Dutch band Light Light's new single, "Kilo", Do Not Touch is a unique piece of interactive art by Studio Moniker. In it, viewers are directed their cursors along with thousands of others who've come before them. It's a trippy look into the internet hive mind and, while only a game in the broadest of terms, definitely worth sharing.
No one has to die is an HTML5 visual novel by Stuart Madafiglio where sacrifice is the only way to get closer to solving the full mystery at hand. The turn-based puzzles that drive the plot feel a little perfunctory when compared to the twisty story, but fans of cerebral, complex stories should definitely give it several playthroughs.
An experimental text-based adventure game from ScriptWelder that has you waking up disoriented in an unknown place, trying to get information from a source that not too eager to give anything away. A short but intelligent sci-fi yarn, with an up-to-the-task conversational parser that the author is dedicated to improving through community feedback.
A great calamity is approaching, and you're the only one who can stop it. Unfortunately, you're a sentient stone idol who can do little more than use your patience and timelessness to let the world and time pass around you, watching the landscape change with time and the seasons (or your own actions) until a solution presents itself. Scriptwelder delivers a slow but beautiful bit of interactive art married with clever puzzling for a zen-like experience.
Thanks For Playing, an interesting little platform adventure developed by Alkemi Games at the Utopialis 2012 Game Jam. In it, time is running backwards, and so you must undo every step of your infiltration and bring your score to 0. A short, clever bit of fun that platform fans should enjoy backing through.
Robots do a lot of things. But Gloid? Gloid just knows how to levitate. But when all you know is levitating, you learn to master it pretty quickly. Gloid: The Levitating Robot was developed by Playnamic Studios as an experiment in fusing puzzle platforming with physics-based levitation mechanics. It's a whole new kind of movement, and, if you're able to master the controls, it's a fun game.
We all love metroidvanias! But would we still love them if, instead of controlling a scifi bounty hunter, or a badass vampire slayer, we played as the alphabet? Answer: Yes! And ASCIIvania, an exploration platformer by Gharding3, is the proof! ASCIIvania is clearer documentation, a map screen and a mute button away from excellence, but its still a fun time.
Costis doesn't remember how he got here. He doesn't know why the world keeps changing around him. And he certainly doesn't know the man in black who seems to be following him. But every little boy knows when it is time to explore, and so he will. For better or worse... Blackwood prologue is a platforming piece of interactive art by Blake Mann, that takes you inside the mind of a kid who just might find his future in his dreams. Marvelously atmospheric, even evocative, the dream logic nature of the game means, inevitably, more questions will be raised than answered. But as the title says, it's just the prologue...
This brief "game poem" is laden with sentimentality and moody brushstrokes. Play by using your mouse to guide a star as it falls from the sky. If you'd like, collect other stars, avoid the sides and make a wish along the way. But there's no actual winning or losing, even if your wish doesn't come true. Enjoyed best when you want a short respite to gaze upon something pretty while listening to a heartfelt melody.
When one wakes up in a featureless white room, apparently at the whims of a malevolent steam-punk computer, the first instinct is to escape. But... why? What's your argument? Can you justify your actions? Such is the question posed by ir/rational Redux, a puzzle adventure game by Tom Jubert, of Penumbra story-telling fame. Propositional logic has never felt so intense!
In games, you want to win. After all, isn't that the whole point of playing them? But what if you don't know where you're going, or why? Is it worth it to keep moving on, even if you have to make sacrifices and lose people along the way? Chelsea Howe and Michael Molinari combine their talents once more for this simple, evocative platformer/interactive art piece made in just 48 hours for the Global Game Jam.
This modern take on the classic by Hans Christian Anderson (forget about Disney!) was created in 58 hours for TOJam #7. Point and click your way around a minimalistic environment of office space and city streets, holding very one-sided conversations with those you encounter. While it has some rough edges in terms of navigation, it does a good job of eliciting sympathy and will especially strike a chord with those struggling with shyness.
Dreams can't hurt you right? Sequester puts that to the test when a deceased sister comes to call on her little brother in his dreams. She's stuck in limbo and she doesn't understand why but she knows that it's not where she wants to be. While you may not think a little kid is a suitable choice don't be so quick to judge! Taking on death itself, it's up to you to guide this nimble young lad and help him rescue the soul of his sister.
This little girl named Mabel is stuck in a cavern and her only means of escaping is combining letter creatures into words and use them as platforms to climb out. A cross between a platformer and a word puzzle game that gives you the challenge of navigating platforms carefully while making intricate words for as many points as possible. Your high score and hopes of surviving all hinge on your extensive vocabulary knowledge and quick thinking in this game by Joel Esler.
Given a choice between one or the other, is it better to have stronger personal relationships or longer life? This is part of Mihail's dilemma; he has an illness that presents him with limited options, both day and night. Play this interactive art/experimental game using arrows to move and [space] to interact; play more than once to see the full scoop of conversations and each of the two endings. What does it all mean? Well, that's up to you. The important things in life are always a matter of perspective.
It's always great when Japanese developer, Yoshio Ishii, gets experimental, and his RPG, Parameters, is certainly that. It looks like an Excel Spreadsheet, and plays like a computer hacking scene from a 1980s action movie. Abstract, but very addictive, Parameters won't be for everyone, but those looking for something a little different should find it quite compelling.
To have loved and lost is better than never to have loved at all. Or so the saying goes. But what if some loss is simply too unbearable? Would you go to Hell and back to return the one you love to the world of the living? You may not but the character you play in My Life is Yours does. Try it out and see if you'd ever willingly go toe to toe with the Underworld.
Developed by Jonathan Whiting for Ludum Dare 22, Craequ throws players into a puzzling pixelated world of corridors, pushable blocks and crystal balls. It's up to the player to discover the logic behind it, but if you do, you'll feel really smart.
Dys4ia is a retro arcade-y piece of interactive art by transsexual author Anna Anthropy about her six-month experience with hormonal therapy. Raw and emotional, but surprisingly humorous, for good or for bad, this is the kind of game that will get people thinking and talking.
The Love Letter is a unique stealth experimental game by Alex Cho Snyder and Pat Kemp, where you must read a note from a secret admirer while dodging the taunts of your classmates. Originally a Ludum Dare entry, The Love Letter is a short bit of sweetness that will have you going "AWWW!" by the end.
Unmanned, a piece of interactive art by Molleindustria and Jim Munroe, lets you step into a pilot of a drone missile launcher. More than that though, it lets you step into a husband and a father and a human. Likely to divide opinion, as its excellent writing and atmosphere is hampered by the interesting-but-flawed dual-screen game-mechanics, Unmanned remains a provocative work.
Developed in 8 weeks as a class project, Orpheus is a puzzle platform retelling of the classic myth of a man's quest to bring his love back from the dead. Players who can look past a few rough edges will be amply rewarded with the lush and abstract yet accessible art.
Verge is a puzzle platformer originally developed by Kyle Pulver (maker of Depict1) for a TIGSource game competition, and now ported to flash by Kristian Macanga. Its tone can best be described with the HP Lovecraft quote that was the game's inspiration: Life and Death - Death-its desolation and horror-bleak spaces-sea-bottom-dead cities. But Life-the greater horror! Vast unheard-of reptiles and leviathans-hideous beasts of prehistoric jungle-rank slimy vegetation-evil instincts of primal man-Life is more horrible than death. The twin opposing horrors of life and death is a haunting, challenging concept, and thus it should be no surprise that it makes for a haunting, challenging game... one where death and rebirth is the only way to progress.
It's hard to figure out what just happened. You took a walk in the park, like you do every night. This time though, there was a man... there was a gun. Now you find yourself a dark industrial world of shadowy figures and shifting backgrounds. You'll have to rearrange every single room to have even a chance of escaping... and you just know that time's running out. Five is a puzzle platformer from Z3LF where changing reality comes with the click of the mouse.
Pirouette, a piece of interactive art by Hayden Scott-Baron and increpare, is an infuriating work. Gameplay, which consists of linearly walking and talking to people, leans away from the "interactive", which might lead to the perennial discussion as to whether it qualifies as a game at all. The plot, depicting someone confronting those they loved and those they hurt, is vague and, with its frank talk of sex and toxic relationships, deliberately provocative. And yet... there is beauty to be found here. Pirouette will divide opinion. However, whether your opinion is positive or negative, it will be strongly so, and that can't be a bad thing.
In the beginning, there was the void, and unless you put your puzzling skills to work in this little experimental game, that's all there will ever be. Use a series of powers, unlocked as you play and experiment, to shape the world around you and turn it from an empty void into a space teeming with life and drama.
Recently, we've seen a bit of a mini-renaissance of quality casual releases set underwater, defying the conventional wisdom that games get terrible when they go down the drain. Fisher Diver, an action game by Eli Piilonen, keeps the quality but darkens the tone. On its surface, it's a retro-styled fishing game about a little ball that hopes to follow in it's father's profession. However, like the ocean, there are some unsettling things to be found below the surface.
Team Fabulous brings us an LGBTQ-friendly prototype adventure about a young person who ventures into a dark forest in search of their beloved. Battle personal demons as you risk it all for the promise (or even the idea) of a better feature in this flawed but profoundly hopeful narrative that any player can enjoy and identify with regardless of their identity or orientation.
Out of this World, developed by SeethingSwarm, is a short action game centered around shifting play mechanics. The game starts as two lovers leave a fancy restaurant. They aren't named in-game, but since they look British, let's call them Ron and Hermione. Anyways, Ron and Hermione decide to go for a ride on their rocket ship, but, son of a gun, wouldn't you know it, aliens decide to kidnap the fair maiden. So its up to you Ron, with your shock of red hair, your badass longcoat, your awesome umbrella, and your shooty-blasty space gun to rescue her from the extra-terrestrial's clutches.
Once upon a time, there was a lonely little boy who lived deep in the woods with his parents... and that's about all we can tell you when it comes to Terry Cavanagh's very short but very odd retro RPG. It'll only take you about five minutes to play, but the heebie-jeebies may stay with you a bit longer than that.
How far are you willing to go for someone who doesn't even seem to know you're there? In this short, atmospheric artsy platformer, scour a grim world looking for bits of colour to return to a loved one, even at the cost of losing yourself in the process. Originally featured in a Link Dump Friday article, Grey's simple, repetitive gameplay may not win everyone over, but for others the changing environment and wordless message may deliver an intensely personal experience.
Although Bla Bla is presented on a technological medium, many of the pictures and figures are hand-drawn or made through stop-motion animation. The combined effect of modernity and tradition produces a unique aesthetic and a visible human touch to the gameplay.
Where do all the bugs go? What happened between early testing of a game and final release? Jonas Kyratzes may make you wonder with this experimental platformer. Recruited to test an early build of Jonas's new game, you wind up falling through the cracks into a strange place you were never meant to see.
It's the Era of Automation! We automate everything from manufacturing, to financial transactions, to blog updates. So why not automate creativity as well? Okay, that sounds horrible, but there is something fascinating about pre-configured, automatic processes that produce beautiful and seemingly random results. Depending on how you start your composition, you can either create regular repeating patterns, or patterns that subtly shift in interesting ways. It can be difficult to predict how a given setup will act, but that is part of the joy of Otomata.
Second Person Shooter Zato is a unique kind of action game that flips everything you know about shooters on its head before turning it inside-out and looking at it through a mirror. Well, that sounds like it would cancel the weirdness out, but it doesn't! In this game, you control a gun-toting hero who is being attacked by groups of enemies. However, instead of getting a first-person view of the action, you can only see yourself through the eyes of the enemy. Spin around, fire your weapons, and hope you can survive without looking at the world from behind your own gun!
When the Sun and the Sea have a falling out, it's up to you to dive into the ocean and retrieve the Idols hidden beneath the waves, carrying them all to the mountaintops where they rightfully belong... or so you think. Gregory Weir's latest experimental platformer is short, dreamlike, and surreal, and worth a play despite suffering from some tedious avoidance/platforming sequences.
Something awfully scientific goes awfully wrong, according to the opening sequence. Scientists, explosion... you get the idea. Then we are in the head of our hero, who upon speaking to the first two-dimensional character wiggling against a wall, learn that they are the only hope in a world thrown into dimensional disarray.
Despite its shortcomings, Duplicator provides some challenging puzzles and an hour or more of ambient diversion. The appealing presentation combined with fluid platforming override the difficulties of the game, and the puzzles will get you thinking and may even test your patience.
Created by Michael Molinari and Chelsea Howe for the San Francisco 2011 48 Hour Global Game Jam, The End Of Us is a surprisingly evocative game about two meteors meeting and playing amidst the strangeness and charm of deep space. As much a piece of wordlessly lyrical interactive art as an action game, The End Of Us matches its play to an engaging soundtrack and offers a short but satisfying experience.
Difficult to explain but fun to experience, this unique game features eight levels of strange gameplay controlled entirely with the mouse. Sina Jafarzadeh has created a weird but intriguing experience with a hectic pace and a very unique design.
Jake Elliott's surreal interactive art adventure is a slow, thoughtful game where you play as four different women who attempt to comfort a small boy who can't sleep. The stories they tell take you back into their memories to solve some rather unusual problems with rather unusual methods. Part dreamlike narrative, part abstract puzzle solving, it's a charming bit of storytelling that's just the thing to unwind with.
What makes a friend, anyway? And what do your friends mean to you? In this simple platformer by Undi that explores the theme of "Friends" for the 9th Casual Gameplay Design Competition, your goal is to get to the top of the Professional Life... even if it means dropping everyone who ever mattered to you along the way.
Don a space suit and attempt to cross halls full of razor-sharp blades to find your sweetheart in this unique gravity puzzle game. By manipulating lights at the bottom of the room, you can change the gravitational character of the vertical span above a light. Find the pattern of colors that will guide the astronaut through the gauntlet and onto the exit. It's a process of trial-and-error that is surprisingly calming.
The name of the game is literal in this experimental adventure game, where you play a scientist who literally only has one chance to find a cure for a disaster he's responsible for, before all life in the world comes to an end in six days. There is no replay button in this short but grim little title, and with different outcomes possible, how will you choose to spend what might possibly be your last days on Earth?
OneMrBean's first place award winning entry into the 9th Casual Gameplay Design Competition is a piece of interactive narrative about remembering the things that really matter in your life, and the people who gave them to you. You play as an initially morose fellow who takes you on a personal journey through his life and his memories, and offers up a simple but touching and surprisingly heartfelt experience that is wrapped up in a beautiful package.
Serendipity in 2D is an arty game, maybe even an experimental one. You view a hospital from the side, the walls cut away. With your far-reaching cursor you have to orchestrate chains of events that will ultimately lead to three things: someone being saved, someone finding love and someone dying.
Help a little robot get his life together in this melancholic Metroidvania platformer from Tony (Antony Lavelle) of Armor Games. Explore an ominous facility under the purview of your disappointed computer mother, gathering upgrades and fighting fellow robots. Worth the initial weirdness for a quiet gem of an experience with a surprising amount of depth in its simple design.
Control an adorable unibrowed cycloptic hero in this twist on the RPG genre, killing monsters, finding weapons, collecting loot and exploring dungeons. The twist is, all the inputs are controlled with the repeated clicks of a single mouse button. Quite entertaining, if a little bit repetitious, and yet addictive, too.
Tia's birthday means a time for her to play with the other children in her struggling, isolated village... but it may also mark the end of her childhood. Of course, that all depends on you, and whether you do as you're told. Gregory Weir's experimental narrative might be too experimental to be a hit with everyone, but it's a clever game that deserves a play for the few minutes it'll take you.
Track down nine bodies in a brain-bending maze of unreal proportions brought to you by Ian Snyder. The premise is simple, and so is the gameplay, but the otherworldly design and lack of narrative combine to create an oddly meditative experience where the only real meaning is the one you give to it.
Ebul is an unusual "sandbox" platform game involving a crocodile pilot, his birdpal sidekick, and a blocky-looking landscape where the blocks themselves are at your command. Run, jump, and move various blocks across two-dozen levels of retro-feeling goodness in an attempt to recover items to fix your broken airplane.
If you're younger than a certain age, you've probably never thought, "Wouldn't it be great if I could take part in my favorite radio dramas?" But the advent of podcasting has borne a renewed interest in all sorts of languishing radio formats, including radio drama (or "TV without pictures"). It's true, really! Now BBC and Radio Scotland bring us an interesting experiment in combining the audial thrills of radio drama with the interactivity of online gaming. Legacy is a sound-heavy adventure game, telling a tale of secrets, cryptic clues, and underground vaults.
What's in a dream anyway? This experimental prototype from Gambit is an attempt at introducing replayability into the point-and-click genre with procedurally generated content, but it's also a surprisingly intriguing exploration into memory, dreams, and logic. As a bedridden hospital patient, Symon's only means of interacting with his family is through the fragmented dreams he has. Can you help him solve the perplexing riddles his subconscious offers up?
Howard Glitch is about a space shuttle hurtling into the maw of a monster. You're on the shuttle, along with several other passengers, but there's no driver or controls. The shuttle is being controlled far away by someone who isn't paying attention. While you're rushing toward your doom, you have some choices to make. The first being whether you'll sit by and await death or will you escape reality?
Ah, another perfect day. Sitting on a cliff. Letting the breeze blow through your bright pink hair. Then you hear the distant rumble of some kind of black hellspawn chasing your boyfriend. Well, just put out your hand and fly away with him in [Together], One Mr. Beans's entry in our 8th Casual Gameplay Design Competition that took third place overall. It's an experimental game of exploration and heart gathering with a loose narrative threading it all [together].
When an earthquake leaves Jack the only survivor of an expedition in Mexico and strands him underground, he'll have to find his way out alone. Unfortunately, in addition to having some bad luck, Jack also doesn't have any legs, forcing him to find different ways to circumvent things that would barely slow you down in a typical platformer. Made in a month for Something Awful's Game Development Competition and inspired by Super Metroid, You Have No Legs is by turns frustrating and challenging, but undeniably creative and worth a look.
Disobeying is easy—they say go, you stop, they say right, you go left. But what if there's no obvious reverse of the command? You'll need puzzle-solving smarts and platforming fingers to complete Depict1 and discover the truth. For people who love the hybrid, it's not to be missed.
Sometimes atmosphere is everything. Coma, a delightful exploration and adventure game by Thomas Brush, brings such an abundance of atmosphere to the exploration game table you might just want to clean out your refrigerator to save the leftovers.
Make a choice; disobey or not. Loved is a short piece of interactive art disguised as a platformer, and intended to make you think about the decisions you make. Is it successful? What meaning do you take from it? And is there a right way or a wrong way to feel about something?
Behold, Adverputt! It's a mouse-controlled mini-golf game that embraces commercial solicitation as an aesthetic. Players take aim on a huge, single-screen course, festooned with colorful advertisements awarded to the highest bidders. Hover the cursor over the ball, then move the cursor to aim and determine the power of your swing. Aim carefully, avoid traps and obstacles, and go for the lowest score.
From the creator of The Company of Myself comes an arena shooter with a surprisingly deep message at its core, offering food for thought alongside fast-paced gameplay. EXADI is a highly advanced artificial intelligence who needs your help to recover her systems after the assault of a particularly nasty virus. But where did the virus come from? And just what makes someone human anyway?
A long time ago, your friend dove into a deep pool and never came back. In this experimental little game, you explore a series of underwater caverns in search of him, uncovering notes left behind to guide you. You can only hold your breath for ten seconds at a time, so you'll need to move fast and keep an eye out for air pockets or your search will come to an abrupt end.
The ability to change size is an oft explored trope from our favorite stories, from Alice in Wonderland to classic science-fiction films. But how many have asked what effects such an ability would have on the protagonist of classic sidescrolling platform games? That's the gist of the odd premise of Specter Spelunker Shrinks. Created by Ken Grafals, Specter Spelunker Shrinks is an experimental puzzle platformer where the ability to grow and shrink the main character is key to navigating a world of dangerous pink prisms and disparately sized passageways.
In this unique offering, you dive into the dreams of sleeping babies only to find yourself taking on the guise of strange aliens in an even stranger universe. Through the dreams of infants you will explore the lives of each of these aliens, experience their hopes and help them attain their dreams. You will do this despite the encroaching darkness, and the ever growing warnings of a dying world.
An experiment in concept, Record Tripping is a short game that you control using your mouse scroll wheel. Play a series of mini-games that take you through Alice in Wonderland with one very pretty presentation. The whole package is a cool little showcase of a neat idea with lovely trappings, well worth the short time it takes to complete.
Four teenagers have awoken something very old and very, very dangerous in the bottom of an old well hidden in a house. A point-and-click horror mystery designed to be played alongside the BBC miniseries of the same name, The Well trips itself up with bland or occasionally confusing gameplay, but is worth a look if you're a fan of good stories and ancient Pagan ceremonies. Hey, aren't we all?
In a sketchy, notepad world, a doodled character moves with ninja-like precision over the landscape and deadly terrain. Under birds, over spikes, avoiding pitfalls and collecting floating clocks en route to the exit is a lot more difficult than it seems in this tricky one-button platformer.
On the fifth day Peter Groeneweg finished his game and he saw that it was good. Then he decided to freeze himself into stone as a tribute to the next generation... in a manner of speaking. We The Giants is an experimental platform game about wisdom, its controls are very simple and it is very short. You should play it before reading the analysis and then come back to ponder a bit.
A strange and even unsettling little experimental game about every day in the life of a faceless, unnamed man, Every Day the Same Dream somehow manages to be oddly affecting despite its grim and dark presentation. Is there anything at all that can break him out of his cycle? It won't take you long to play, but it may stay with you well after you've shut down the browser.
The title, Finding Friends, is apt for this short and simple game that packs a satisfying, emotional experience. You start the game wandering around in the darkness, a little black square (with cute little white eyes) against a black background, in a maze with black walls. It's with the help of the friends you find that you'll be able to find your way to the exit of the maze.
Taking home first prize in the Casual Gameplay Design Competition is no small feat, but David Shute's deceptively simple game of exploration does it with just a few small worlds. A short platformer that may stay with you a long time, Small Worlds offers detailed and surprising environments for you to reveal in your search for... a little peace and quiet.
A collaboration between game developer and artist, The Glean of Glob was initially created as an interactive art installation. And though this Web edition might be called an experimental point-and-click, the term 'game as art' is definitely at play here. Add this to the category of games that push the envelope of what a game can be.
A tiny world is at your fingertips, ready for you to shape it. Create a cavern teeming with life... provided you can discover all the creatures hiding inside. Using sandbox tools, manipulate the environment to coax each creature into the open, or how to create them. A charming little simulation tool that encourages experimentation.
Tanaka is throwing a party. You help Tanaka invite all his friends to the party. They will show up, everyone loves Tanaka. Tanaka always tries his hardest. He will try his hardest to find all 72 of his friends to join his party. Can you help him find all 72 of his friends? Tanaka hopes so.
The new game from Gregory Weir is an unabashedly highbrow and experimental platform game, where the ground is made up of literature. Try to touch as many words as you can, as prose by H.P. Lovecraft, T.S. Eliot and others stretches out before you. It's interesting enough just to be forced to read by a platform game, but the real treat is all the visual embellishments.
You play a poor and homeless beggar in this piece of interactive art from Scott Brodie. You must figure out how and what to eat, and where to go and what to do. You must learn the laws of the land the hard way, and you must ultimately learn to subsist on the charity of strangers, lest you fade and wither away to nothingness.
Run and jump with one hand, warp reality with the other. Ian Snyder's Push is a platform game with an exciting and inventive twist that lets you reshape levels in real-time with an omnipotent force bubble. Plus you can make your own levels for others to tear asunder.
Nails consists of 27 interactive art scenes, typically starring an inked-out Han Hoogerbrugge (the artist) wearing a suit and tie. Most begin with the man casually standing on top of the grey background of the page. His hands are in his pockets. Nothing seems out of the ordinary. But when you click or run your mouse across the man, everything takes a turn for the bizarre.
With nothing onscreen but a few blocky characters and a short poem, Today I Die carves a slice out of an existential nightmare and serves it to you raw. You could classify it as an adventure game or a puzzle game, but it doesn't feel like it should be pigeon-holed with anything. The solutions are so well-integrated, applied with such holistic grace. You won't even realize how many puzzle pieces are displaced until you see how they fit together.
In the experimental game Gray, you are a white or black androgynous person in the midst of a rioting mob, filled with people of the opposite shade. Your goal is to talk to the people who are highlighted and attempt to convert them to your point of view. It's amazing how accurately such a simple little game can hold a mirror up to modern political discourse.
Force your affections on total strangers in Party-Tencho's Kissma, best described as… a shooter? Music game? Experimental whatsit? Retro crazy-fest? Anyway, it's very colorful, and it might change your life for the better. Or for the worse.
Each day, for 219 days in a row, Chris DeLeon designed a game. Some began as imitations of classic arcade games, while others, which he calls "commucepts" or "spaquoids", are more experimental in nature. Some have a point to make, some are just good fun. Even with the occasional flop, this fantastic collection of odd and curious web toys can keep you busy for hours.
Making interactive Web art is a dangerous business. When you dabble in the language of games, you risk the wrath of gamers, who despite their lip service to "innovation", are often terrified by anything really experimental. So one possible MO for developers trying to smooth out this prickly transition is to make something like Haxed by Megahurtz, a game so cracked, so exuberant, so imbecilic it could not possibly be trying to outsmart you. Hating it would be like slapping a candy raver—part of you might want to, but it's easier to just go with the flow and accept her offer of Sweet Tarts and a back massage.
A great, terrible man once said: "Your flower power is no match for my glower power." That man's name was Charles Montgomery Burns, and he clearly never played Kaichou. The brainchild of Ali Maunder and finalist of our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition, Kaichou is an and beautiful abstract shooter where you have to break down bouncing glower with flowery projectiles.
Coil is a game unlike any other; it may confuse you, it may offend you, or it might mystify and move you. Coil is a game about discovery. It is also a series of mini-games involving the gestation of what appears to be an alien fetus, from initial insemination through adulthood when a murky twilight leaves its fate in question and the cycle starts anew.
An experimental game created in seven days, this arcade/pseudo-strategy game puts you in control of two robots marching through a dark city destroying everything with lasers. Pump up your machines to gigantic city-destroying monsters and crunch buildings and pitiful humans all day long!
Eater of Worlds is a stylish side scrolling action game with a fun little twist: you're a blob that absorbs everything it comes in contact with. From fish to seaweed, cats, trees, humans and trucks, the world is your buffet and you're ready to eat. Gather as many objects as you can across the game's three levels and see if you can secure a space on the high score board.
Inspired by the Experimental Gameplay project, a game design student in Sweden has just finished a rapid prototyping project in which he built several games. Each of them incorporates self-imposed constraints and took just a couple of days to develop. The results are creative, impressive, and some are even fun to play.
Fun stuff over at Andre-Michelle.com. Andre is a Flash designer extraordinaire from Germany who has put together a personal playground of a site full of experiments and whatnot all done in Flash. This one is simply called Cell Talk, which I found to be infinitely relaxing and mesmerizing playing in the background while I was doing some writing for ...