Because this is now February, the month of love, I decided to begin this week's Link Dump Friday lineup with an examination of unconditional parental love, and how it can help us grow, or hinder us. And then I thought, "Man, that's all warm and fuzzy and junk. I don't want to alienate the manly men in the crowd. I'd better throw some zombies all up ins." And so I did, but then I remembered not everyone likes zombies, and besides certain scary alien games are really popular right now, so I added some aliens, and you can't have aliens without... well, let's just say this week's snuggle-bunny theme of wuv didn't quite follow all the way through.
- A Mother in Festerwood - If you love something, set it free. Unless it's a baby and setting it free involves letting it toddle its fleshy, chubby self into a forest filled with angry bears, dragons, trolls, and... squiggly black thingies. Austin Breed brings you this interesting bit of interactive art, for lack of a more fitting genre, where you play as a mother trying to raise a child alone in a dangerous forest, where keeping your child safe becomes harder the older it gets, and may keep him from ever really growing up. Despite some frustrating A.I. and limited player interaction, it's a clever bit of symbolism. Somehow I doubt most governments would see sending your infant alone into a forest filled with fangs and hate and expecting them to kick some butt in quite so positive a light.
- Aliens Kidnapped Betty - The title tells you all you need to know; Betty has been kidnapped... by aliens! It's a cute and silly little one-button game that starts out simple as you avoid the aliens and try to reach the exit on each level, but gradually adds more and more challenges. Though isn't this sort of thing a little... xenophobic? Why can't we have some species equality? Why not "Humans Kidnapped Hlurgh'tagh"? Look, all I'm saying is that if we want the interplanetary hatred to stop, we have to be willing to meet the aliens halfway!
- The Sagittarian - [Note: Contains language and violence.] Hyptosis wants you to survive the zombie apocalypse, Choose Your Own adventure style! When the end of the world comes around in the form of shambling brain munchers, it's up to you to beat feet while stayin' alive. While not particularly challenging or deep, it features some great artwork and a nifty little bit of text adventuring. Anyone who seriously thinks antagonising an armed, morally bankrupt survivalist is a good idea is probably angling for a Darwin Award. (Also, watch for a cameo from a pair of mall rats.)
- Fifty Two - Well, great. Way to go. If you stopped to read this description, you've already lost. You have a narrow window of time to successfully complete a series of short minigames, and a single mistake means you'll have to start all over again. "What's so bad about that?" you ask? "What's the worst that can happen?" Oh, I dunno, maybe the end of the world!... hey, don't come crying to me when we're all rendered into space dust because you didn't get the bug out of the way in time!
- Intelligence: The New Enemy - This arena shooter game wants you to blast through legions of enemies, just like all the others. However, unlike all the others, the enemies you encounter gradually become "smarter" the farther you go, reacting to your attacks in different ways. It's fast, it's frantic, and it's got one of the most frustratingly slippery movement setups I've encountered since Luigi. I'll tell you one thing; this would not fly with Star Fox. (Although he did keep Slippy around, so maybe his standards aren't as high as one might hope.)