It is almost impossible to describe the joy created by wandering in the strange, surreal universe that Enu (Hanamushi) has created in Flower Insect. The synthesis of art, animation, game, and experience is nearly flawless, and will leave the casual gamer breathless as they wander deeper and deeper into the morass. Stunning beyond all belief, this is not necessarily a game to play all in one go. Rather, the Hanamushi game is something to consume in small bites, lest you find yourself deep in the abyss that is the imagination of an extremely talented individual.
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.
How My Grandfather Won the War is a stunningly beautiful game that is worth a second, and even third play through. Treat it as a simple side-scroller or go deeper and explore every inch of its breathtaking cardboard world. The detail is so fantastic you can almost touch the screen and feel the rough edges of haphazardly cut items.
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.
Jason Nelson hits us with another simple movement game chock full of crazy texts and post-modern level design shenanigans. Are you ready to accept that things fall apart, the center cannot hold, and that doors can be opened by colliding with boxes? If so, prepare yourself for this mind boggling, stunningly austere experience.
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.
Alchemia is an absolutely gorgeous new animated point-and-click adventure from Springtail Studio. Play a little hero after he shoots from the sky a bizarre looking creature. He sets off on an adventure to figure out what happened and to help his unfortunate new companion. Brilliant puzzles, illustrations and music abound, and some puzzles will require lateral thinking and problem solving rather than just simply clicking in the right areas in the correct sequence.
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.
In the third episode in Zack Livetone's series of abstract point-and-click adventures, you once again accompany a floating crystal through a world of photographic landscapes and chalked-in plantlife, coaxing various bits and tibbles into place in order to solve puzzles. Some objects need to be pushed, some clicked, some nudged. Turn up your speakers for this.
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.
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.
What if Mario, instead of instantly reappearing at the beginning of the level after he died, had to earn his reincarnation by traveling the realms of Diyu, being judged by the kings of Yama? This is a game about that from Yoshio Ishii of Nekogames.
One man's trash is another man's treasure. We all have that one thing that's important to us; that one tiny, seemingly inconsequential thing that's somehow special. The Blue Beanie is grand adventure in a lilliputian package about just such an item, and one little hero's quest to bring it safely home.
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.
Windosill is the story of a toy car, a little blue box with wheels and a smokestack, who one day dares to journey outside of its confining storage shelf. You, armed with the power to touch, carry, poke, prod, and experiment, will lead the toy through a cool blue dream presented in stages, a series of shadow-boxes full of curious characters and structures, each with its own puzzle to be solved.
Music Catch 2 delivers everything you'd want from a sequel to Reflexive's surprise hit Music Catch, especially if what you want is more ways to collect thousands of shimmering doo-dads. You get three more lovely piano tunes by composer Isaac Shepherd, and a few different choices for how the collectibles will bloom and fade away. Some of the new movement patterns make the game dramatically easier than others, but Music Catch was never about challenge anyway. It's just an easy way to relax, scooping up armfuls of trinkets and grooving to the mellows.
The Majesty of Colors is an expressive interactive story about choices and consequences. You play the part of a nightmarish Lovecraftian beast from the undiscovered ocean depths, as it creeps to the surface and encounters the human race for the first time. A first-person narrative provides context, and helps guide you through your emotional encounter with this confusing new world.
From Jason Nelson comes a platformer wearing the Web's skin and laced with hidden passages. Those who have no stomach for cognitive dissonance will want to move on, but fans of Nelson's previous work will find it worthwhile. The gameplay is simple but that's alright, this is an aesthetic adventure and not as mind-blowing as the first time around, but worth drumming up a few wry smiles.
Boohbah Zone is a surreal journey-- wait, no, it's not really a journey. It's more of a... thing. A thing with lots of colors. Well, it's kind of like a webtoy, but you actually do stuff in some parts of it. Interactive art? You know what, forget classifying it, Boohbah Zone is an extremely bizarre collection of game-like scenes where you play with color, sound, and flobby-looking hippopotamus-like people things.
The National Gallery of Art has an extensive online interactive art exhibit which is geared towards kids, but is fun for all ages. A few of the applications available stand out and include themes such as Jungle, Still Life, and especially the great interactive Dutch Dollhouse.
This is Sand is a lovely little web toy, a nice, gentle way to ease your brain back to life after the weekend. It could hardly be simpler or more elegant: the program converts pixels into digital sand that falls, stacks and layers just like the real thing, providing an endless array of possible designs, landscapes and pictures.
More an interactive piece of fiction than a traditional game, Inanimate Alice: Episode 4 continues the story of the young game animator as she leaves her home in Russia and travels abroad. Inanimate Alice serves as both entertainment and a peek into the future of literature as a fusion of multimedia technologies. The haunting images and accompanying music and text weave a remarkably gripping tale that must be experienced to be believed.
Deep Chalk: Second Phase is the continuation of the journey of the crystal, the player character introduced in Zack's black and white world of the original Deep Chalk. The objective is the same: discover the secrets hiding beneath the surface and escape. While you're there, enjoy the quest; be inspired.
Music Catch is a game with a very simple mechanic set to a transcendent classical piano piece that could hold your attention single-handedly. The shapes appear in ebb and swell to the accompaniment, diving from foreground to background in a shifting aquamarine rainbow. You'll never catch them all; the most you can hope for is to ride the wave, soaking up as much as possible, darting for extra substance where it appears. In other words, the gameplay is much like listening to a enriching piece of music.
Polcarstva is a gorgeous piece of interactive art that comes from the amazing talents of Denis Stepkin and U Studio of Russia. Travel through a surrealist's world, using standard point-and-click mechanics, and enjoy the music and scenery along the way.
Deep Chalk, from game author Zack Livestone, is a charming and interactive point-and-click, in which you clear the way for a powerful crystal to escape its confines, presumably to reach a higher plane of crystallinity. Its interactive Samorostian landscapes are augmented wonderfully by ethereal music clips to produce a deep, if slightly dry, experience.
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.
Haluz 2, the sequel to the surreal Samorost-like point-and-click adventure Haluz, is now entirely free! When it was first released in August, players could experience the first half of the game and pay a modest fee to access the second chapter. Now the creator of Haluz, Tomas, sends word that both versions are available online for the low low cost of absolutely nothing.
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.
Superelectronic is an online interactive art piece by Aoineko, a group of award-winning Web artists specializing in audiovisual aesthetics. The piece blends various styles together to achieve something unique, an amalgamation of interactive multimedia. The result is a stunning work of art that is wonderful and inspirational. A creative cornucopia of sensory delights.
it seems that many in the JIG community really like picross, and I do, too! Sometimes I'll delay working on economics homework just to play a game (or two or three or four) of picross. And there are so many online implementations of my favorite game, and all with a different interface. So, which one to choose? For some, the question may be difficult to answer. But not for me: I choose Picture Logic!
I. Love. Picross. It isn't as number-heavy as sudoku, doesn't rely on obscure trivia like a crossword puzzle, and the combination of left- and right-brained activity achieves a perfect harmony. Then along comes Armor Picross 2 with its shiny graphics, easy-to-use interface and countless sets of puzzles. In other words, a little slice of picross heaven.
The Asylum: Psychiatric Clinic for Abused Cuddly Toys finally has another cute little patient to treat: Dub the Turtle. Just like the previous toys, Dub has a problem and can't be his normal cuddly self. It seems something happened to him with his previous owner, and now the poor turtle can't stop exercising!
Jason Nelson, the creator of game, game, game and again game, is back with Alarmingly These Are Not Lovesick Zombies, his latest attempt to dissect abstract ideas through gameplay. Your reaction to that sentence should tell you whether or not to click away. If you're still with me, you should buckle up, its a zany, interesting ride.
Interactive Flash pieces have generally been designed as either games to be played or art to be interpreted. However, the line between game and art has been steadily diffusing, and there are now many offerings where it's not clear whether the author's intended focus was engaging the user in gameplay or immersing them in artful ponderings. One particularly beautiful example is Choice.
Games can do two things really well. They can be Fun, and they can be Not-Fun. Lots of games are Fun and Not-Fun in a mediocre way, and some games are amazingly good at being Fun. But when a game is great at being Not-Fun, the deep play of the mind comes tumbling down the mouse.
Makibishi Comic is an atmospheric, quirky, and well-drawn point-and-click flash created to promote the Japanese studio... Makibishi! You play the role of Asashin who is searching for five ninjas hidden across five different environments. Each stage is a new and creative area with multiple puzzles and scenes to experience. Think Blue Suburbia meets Hapland and you're ready to roll.
If you haven't played Feed the Head lately, there are new features to explore! It represents a piece of interactive entertainment of a type we don't often see anymore. There is perhaps no goal, no win condition. It's just plain fun to play. An enjoyable little webtoy for you to discover on your own terms. Spend a couple minutes or an hour. Lose yourself. Feed your head. Escape.
The latest addition to On's much beloved Grow series of games is now available. This one is titled Grow ver. 1, since it is based on one of the first concept games he created for the series. There is no score system, but rather he says to play it as you would look through a picture book. In particular, your children may enjoy playing it with you.
Months in the making, the latest installment of Inanimate Alice—Episode 3: Russia—is now available through an exclusive arrangement with the Guardian in the UK. Follow Alice as she deals with life and times, at age 13, in Russia with her parents through this rich interactive narrative.
TinyGrow is a captivating flash toy that lets you create a surreal garden scene by finding and dropping different types of seeds. Thick black trees sprout at random from the bottom of the screen, each with a rotating icon in the center. Click the icon to activate one of several events to discover seeds and grow more foliage.
The Jackson Pollock emulator is a simple flash toy that simulates the drip style of painting popularized by Jackson Pollock. The entire browser window is a blank white canvas and your mouse becomes the paintbrush. Move the cursor over the surface to pour paint, changing colors with the left mouse button. Linger over one area for some time to leave large blotches or shake the mouse back and forth for light streams of paint. You may not create a masterpiece, but it's an engaging way to let your creativity flow.
The summer of surreal surprises continues with this Flash adventure game from Slovakia. Haluz is a game of the point-and-click variety that contains several scenes and a variety of simple puzzles that must be solved to advance. What do you do when a very large bird makes off with your rooftop satellite dish? Well, use the resources around you to your best advantage and get it back.
Gwen is a surprisingly gorgeous surrealistic adventure composed of richly detailed scenes filled with art, animation, sound and interactivity. With an over-arching narrative that borrows from the teachings and beliefs of Buddahism, this point-and-click game has more soul to reveal than most other games of its type. From Taiwan.
Daxo is an interactive portfolio created by musician and designer Hans Reichel. The style is similar to Blue Suburbia, another non-game we featured recently on JIG, and pulls together sound and image in a fusion of interactive multimedia.
In Blue Suburbia, artist and flash designer Nathalie Lawhead creates a magnificently dark and dramatic world filled with striking imagery and haunting vignettes. The project began as a small animation on her website and grew to incorporate her own poetry and a number of small scenes commenting on western society and the modern school system. The application is more like an experiment in interactive poetry rather than a game, as there's no real goal, purpose or progression. Even still, Blue Suburbia is an absolutely stunning piece of artwork that you'll want to explore to its fullest.
Nyctalopia (Greek for night blindness) is a short, Flash-based puzzle collage by French artist Philippeloy. More than an interactive portfolio, yet less than a fully realized point-and-click adventure, Nyctalopia bills itself as "a journey into (Philippeloy's) works."
Alice is a game animator. She likes to draw and create games on her ba-xi, a small handheld device that both entertains and consoles her in times of need. Even her friends affectionately call her "the animator," due in part to the animations that she draws of Brad, her imaginary friend. Alice is 8 years old. Don't miss this excellent and award-winning interactive narrative experience.
If you haven't seen Small Forest Story yet, it definitely deserves to be played through once for the holidays. And while it won't present much of a challenge for you, the pixel graphics are exquisite and the characters are adorably cute, especially the little bunny dance.
This second game of the Samorost series lives up to the lofty expectations set by the first. It is every bit a sequel that includes all of the best qualities that made the first game remarkable, and then adds more environments, more puzzles, and more sound and music. The result is a game that continues the reputation set by the first as being one of the finest, compelling interactive experiences available on the Web today. It is altogether an exceptional work of interactive art.
Flyguy is a delightfully interactive Flash piece that is full of surprises. Use the arrow keys to navigate the flyguy around the environment and uncover the entertaining vignettes that await you. Created by TVM at Trevorvanmeter.com. Not a game, but fun just the same.
Probably one of the greatest Flash games ever created and made available for free on the Web, The Asylum is a surprisingly rich interactive narrative experience and it continues to surprise and delight gamers of all ages from all over the world. Won't you help these adorable cuddly toys overcome a distressing past?
If you haven't yet played Mink's adorably cute animated point-and-click puzzle games at 3Wish.com, you owe it to yourself to check them out. If you have already played them, now there is a reason for another visit: No. 5 Part 3 is now available to play.
Hanamushi is an absolutely gorgeous Japanese website filled with beautiful artwork and even a couple of Flash point-and-click adventures to discover. Simply amazing. And yet there is a dark side to the shapes that lurk in the shadows, so watch where you step. For the truly adventurous.
Created by Macoto Yanagisawa of Japan, this Shockwave work of art is a nice diversion from the usual fare, and there is much to see and hear in this electro-luminescent piece. Click the mouse to cycle through the displays; move the mouse to interact with each. Although it's not Electroplankton, it is very reminiscent of the musical wonder-toy for Nintendo's dual-screened handheld.
99 Rooms is a beautiful Flash point-and-click adventure of the 'escape the room' variety. The object is to make it through all 99 rooms to the end. The game makes use of gorgeous photography for visuals, and a moody atmospheric soundtrack for effect.
The Machine is a Shockwave game about a normal computer interface gone awry. The object of the game is to correct the chaos, right the wrong, and make it through to the end. In other words, figure out what to do on your own because the journey is the reward. What I will say is that you will only need the mouse to point, click, and drag.
Park is another point-and-click exploration game from the Vector Park, the very same that created the tranquilizing Levers game. This one is easy and a bit short, and yet it will certainly delight those who enjoy the thrill of discovery that this type of game offers.
I have point-and-click happiness to spread throughout the world today in the form of a cube. Not so much a puzzle as it is an interactive narrative that unfolds with each click of the mouse in the appropriate place. See what happens when a mysterious cube falls out of the sky and lands on the ground in the middle of a very round town filled with round things.
la Pâte à Son is an amazing sound toy created in France. This original musical piece and compositional tool was conceived to encourage musical experimentation, and its achievements surpass its goal. Not only is this toy fun to play and experiment with, it is also capable of creating some very beautiful music.
Time for a break from all the thinking required in those point-and-click adventure games. This next game comes from Jared Tarbell, maths and Flash wizard extraordinaire.
Maeda Path is a relaxing game of eye|hand coordination with elegantly simple graphics and a brilliant use of sound. Using your input device of choice,...
Polyphonic Spree did it with Quest for the Rest, and now a band called Mae is promoting their soon-to-be-released album, The Everglow, with a brand new Flash game.
The Everglow mixes original music from the band's new album with several short games to provide an entertaining interactive experience. Included is a...
A lovely Flash point-and-click game from (fictitious) development company White Kiwi, this one will keep you busy for just a short while. It was created as a class project by a group of students, and it is quite enjoyable and very pretty. The world would be a better place with more games like this.
Hotel is a 10-episode interactive narrative from Han Hoogerbrugge about a scientist named Dr. Doglin who drugs his patients to perform tests on their response to freak accident injuries. The rather disturbing piece was just recently finished in its entirety and worth a look if you're the mature, adventurous type.
For all those who love point-and-click adventures, you may find Flow quite fascinating, and yet it is not a game. Instead it is a unique and creative, interactive Flash multimedia piece from Han Hoogerbrugge. Seamlessly blending animation, music and sound effects, Han brings his images to life with style in an engaging form of artistic expression.
From the creator of Treasure Box—an engaging and clever interactive Flash puzzle that showcases the author's artistic talents—comes another such piece with a clearer objective than its predecessor. It is an imaginative work of art filled with sights and sounds that include various puzzles to solve. The objective is to find all 5 stars and then place them onto the wheel of fortune.
Monsterism.net, a website that Pete Fowler and his creative partner, Simon Pike, built to showcase Pete's outstanding and original monster art. With it you can create a bevy of creatures from the world of Monsterism, as well as mix and match any attributes to create entirely new monsters of your own design. Which monster are you?
Relive the grammar school days of yesteryear with this Flash make-a-flake snowflake maker. Simply make several cuts in a folded paper with a pair of scissors, the way you may remember doing, and then unfold to reveal your stunning creation. A cheerful seasonal activity to wile away the hours during the cold indoor months.
Who hasn't enjoyed the simple pleasures of cutting paper into snowflakes on a cold winter day? With Make-a-Flake there is no mess to clean-up and you can even undo cuts gone wrong. This Flash toy is a fun way to express your creativity and get into the spirit of the holiday season.
A cross between a point-and-click puzzle game, interactive art, and a Rube Goldberg invention, Treasure Box is a gorgeous and fun little Flash game that puts you to the task of finding the treasure of a king long since passed. It's a short and beautiful interactive multimedia adventure from an artist with a purpose.
We all need Safeplaces to hang every now and then to rest, relax, recharge, review, rebound, replenish, release, receive, renew, and reward ourselves. So take a break, and take time to take in that which is around you. Smile, giggle, laugh and love. Play.
Zoom Quilt is the collaborative art project of 15 talented artists, all contributing to a final media presentation that is both beautiful and mesmerizing. The piece is available in 3 different media formats: HTML via a series of static jpeg images; AVI compressed video; or the best format, a Flash interactive movie.
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 ...
Audiogame est musique interactive by Frenchman marc Em. This Flash ‘game' is a collection of works incorporating feats of multimedia genius. Combining audio and video elements with interactivity and motion graphics, marc Em draws you into each of his creations as conductor, director, performer, and player. The entire project has evolved over the last 2 years, and Audiogame continues to be a work in progress. As dynamic as the compositions it contains.
The awe-inspiring Flash graphics of Yenz are combined into a creative and original point-and-click adventure that has you solving the mystery of the Secret Garden. You see, the garden is in great danger and it's up to you to solve the mystery and save it, if possible. There are several easy puzzles to solve and several screens of unusual yet fantastic and beautiful art to enjoy while doing so.
The latest of the point-and-click puzzle adventures to pop onto the Flash game scene is a short little story about a girl who has lost her head... literally. With gameplay very similar to that of Samarost, this game is charming and very enjoyable, the only downside is that it is over way too soon.
The Telephone is a stylish and unique puzzle game in which you embark on an adventure by dialing in destinations. The destinations are 3-digit telephone numbers that you find in each 'level' and which advance you through the game. Each destination is unique in its objective, sound, and interface.
Not a game per se, but definitely fun to play with. Infinite Wheel is a series of Flash movies by Jim Johnstone that borrows samples from various 'Dub' artists and presents them in a virtual playground in which you click, drag, and mouse-over the unique and compelling interactive controls to create your own dub music mixes.
A wonderfully bizarre and strangely fun interactive narrative by Jakub Dvorský of Amanita Design. Samorost is the granddaddy of all Web Flash point-and-click adventure games. It is full of clicky puzzles and beautifully rendered scenes mixed with animations and various gadgetry. The number one game in the Best of 2004, and now it even has a sequel.
File this one under interactive Flash tools for creative expression. Scribbler is just one of many interactive "toys" available at Zefrank.com. This "generative illustration toy" allows you to draw with the mouse in the window, then Scribbler takes over and creates its own drawing on top of what you've drawn. There are even interactive controls that you can set and tweak to your heart's content.
Here's a beautifully crafted Flash multimedia piece by Drew Cope and Sam Lanyon Jones from their multi-award winning site called TokyoPlastic where they will be rolling out version two in May. Not new, I just think it's cool. Enjoy. Click....
Thanks to WeezBlog for the link to a very cool site, Typorganism, where I played with all sorts of interesting type-related interactivity in an elegant Flash presentation. There is a visual composer feature which allows you to play with various palettes of sounds, organizing them as you might use a sequencer. If you like what you hear you can eve...
Lately I've been working on one of the coolest projects so far in my RIT education, and it's for Multi-User Media Spaces (MUMS) taught by Professors Nancy Doubleday and Steve Kurtz. The project aims to simulate flocking behavior by implementing behavioral rules, though I guess it should be dubbed "schooling" behavior since we are using fish - and yet these same rules apply to birds and herds as well.