This is my jam! Specifically, game jams are my jam! This Link Dump Friday features four games created for various themed online competitions, and trust me, that's about all they have in common. Embrace the strange.
- Bayou - Like You Must Escape, Paul Andrew McGee and Sam Gross created this slow, unsettling little gem for the Minimalist themed Ludum Dare competition in just three days, proving once again horror is sometimes more effective the less you give it to work with. Armed with just a single harpoon, you're steering through a cold, wet swamp with [WASD] and looking around with the mouse until it becomes apparent that you're not alone. Right-click to aim, and left-click to fire, but with only one shot you need to make it count. The limited field of view means it's hard to see what's going on, and the pace is probably too slow for what it is, but it's still a remarkably chilling little game with a striking visual style.
- Where is the Button for Love? - Eric Butler's gleefully silly MolyJam game is practically begging for an expanded sequel. Playing as a mom who built a mech suit she now finds herself trapped inside, you must manipulate the controls to figure out how to tenderly hug your daughter without, uh, obliterating her. It's a premise that seems perfect for a much bigger game, and though what exists now feels like basically a one-off note, it's still worth checking out. This is basically a simulation of what all my interactions with children feel like.
- Age of Umpires - Way back in the olden days of 2012, Ludum Dare held a "You Are the Villain" themed composition, and Tom7's quirky sports game took it in an unusual direction. You can either play and win at a simple hockey game as the US or Canada... or you can play as the referee play straight or crooked, trying to eject players to help your team with without raising too much suspicion. The old-school visuals sell it well, and as a straight-up (though simplistic) sports game it's actually fun in its own right. You know, if you like sports. ... eating hot dogs at a baseball game counts as liking sports, right?
- Raspy Hill - The crew behind Pohung Chen's MolyJam entry know their product is best summed up with a resounding, Lana-esque "NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOPE" if you don't like horror. And even if you do, it's pretty harrowing, as you flee down a disorienting, static-laden slope from an oncoming tide of creatures. It seems like the sort of thing that would be a level in a game, rather than a game itself, but the atmosphere and overall mood is so menacing and tension-laden that its effectiveness isn't really hurt. It's the sort of thing that has that dreamy, surreal nightmare quality that makes this the sort of thing sure to stick in your head while you're trying to fall asleep, simple or not.