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!
Crayon Physics is one part Armadillo Run, one part Line Rider and tasks you with guiding a ball through a handful of stages by drawing shapes with a crayon-like cursor. Because of its rapid development time (five days), Crayon Physics is a bit rough around the edges. But this downloadable title is stuffed with creativity and shows that with a good idea, anything is possible.
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.
Façade is an interactive drama that puts you in the role of a dinner guest catching up with your old college friends, a married couple named Grace and Trip. Using the mouse and keyboard, you're able to move around their apartment and manipulate objects inside, but Facade is no escape-the-room adventure game, most of the interaction involves, get this, talking to Grace and Trip.
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.
Created as part of the Experimental Gameplay Project under the theme of "violate", Troy was designed and built in one week as a Web-based augmented reality game. In it, the player explores the topic of invasion of privacy and... well, if I told you any more then I'd be spoiling the game.
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 ...
For our final project for MUMS (Multi-User Media Spaces), Jonathan Atleson and I wanted to create a predator-prey simulation in Director 3D. Our objective was to show how naturalistic behavior can emerge from simple intelligent agents. You will need the latest Shockwave player installed to view the simulation.
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.