Some times while gazing up at the celestial firmament, I realize that, out there in this big world of ours, there are thousands of unlucky 8 month-olds who have never experienced a JiG Casual Game Design Competition. It's a tragedy really. And while those poor tots might not be required to wait too much longer, we can takes some comfort in how the 9 previous iterations each provide more than the daily requirement of epic that growing children need. This week, the JiG Vault features some favorites from past CGDCs. Future entrants be warned: you've got some tough acts to follow.
- Rings and Sticks - Rings and Sticks, a puzzle game by Komix, might have had the most literal interpretation of CGDC 2's grow theme. Said interpretation that served it well, however, since it made for an entry most relaxingly zen and zen-ly relaxing. Fractal growth has never seen better use in a game than this one, and when combined with the atmosphere of a childhood walk in the park, the result is nothing short of beautiful. Rings and Sticks has a elegance that is easier to experience than describe, but undoubtedly, it is a game that blossoms before your eyes.
- Thief - Thief, Phillip Reagan's puzzling point-and-click entry from CGDC 1, is one of the most impressively streamlined games ever developed. There's no wasted space: every detail must be observed if to unlock the mysteries at its core. This presentational care pays off as, without ever breaking its minimalist tone, the game absolutely sparkles with wit and personality: The puzzles are satisfying to solve, the aesthetics are subtle and affecting, and the soundtrack has a technological impishness that's easy to enjoy. Finally, while it might spoil to mention Thief even has a plot, the simple and seamless way it's presented is a masterful moment in casual game storytelling. Allow Thief to steal a bit of your time as soon as possible.
- Absolute Awesome Ball Game - Imagine if you will an incredibly complicated toy. One that's visually stunning, but whose functions are opaque and whose instruction manual has long since been lost. You flip its switches and turn its dials and things happen, but they seem completely random. Soon, however, you figure out the madness's method and you are lost for hours. Absolute Awesome Ball Game, a ball physics themed CGDC 4 entry by Felix Reidl, is that toy. It's not a game for those who don't want to spend the time experimenting and deducing, but the skilled and the patient will be amply rewarded. Only a deaf, dumb, and blind kid wouldn't be able to see what a mean game of pinball this truly is.
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!