Experimental Gameplay Project: It Lives!

By Alec Meer on July 8th, 2009 at 10:55 pm.

These aren't functioning icons. Soz.

Now this is excellent, excellent news. The Experimental Game-ugharghit’snotarealword-play Project, which you may remember as being co-founded by Kyle ‘Half of 2D Boy’ Gabler and Kyle ‘Henry Hastworth on the DS’ Gray, went the way of Marmite-flavoured Mini Cheddars some years ago. This was sad, because it was ace. Its brief: “discovering and rapidly prototyping as many new forms of gameplay as possible.” To seek out new genres and new strategy games that weren’t Civilization, to boldly go where no major publisher had gone before. Specifically, for one-man developers to create games in just seven days. Its loss was a terrible one, even if many of its contributors went onto great things.

It’s back.

Not all of its archive has returned, but much still functions. The really good news, though, is that the monthly theme competitions are returning. This month, it’s Unexperimental Shooters – an agreeably perverse way to relaunch the site. Shmups are the order of the day, in other words. Personally, I’d poisonously claim that this particular genre has been milked to death by indie devs, but in the hands of folk like Gabler, Gray, Crayon Physics’ Petri Purho and whichever assorted heavy-hitters and half-mad newcomers they rope in, I suspect we’re going to see some fun, clever, stupid and cleverly stupid stuff.

Meantime, I’m wading through that archive. Anything with titles such as Attack Of The Killer Swarm, Mime After Mime, Kieron Gillen Mud-Wrestles Tom Wolfe, Extermination Disco Nation! and Child Eater* is a guaranteed good time, far as I’m concerned.

All free, too. This is yer veritable treasure trove, folks.

*One of these may be fictional. Thank Christ.

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35 Comments »

  1. Matt Kemp says:

    *One of these may be fictional. Thank Christ.

    Aw, I really wanted to play Mime after Mime.

  2. Petethegoat says:

    This really is excellent news, especially now I have a 360 pad to actually play most of them. :P

  3. HardcoreGamer says:

    Which game is the most pretentious?

  4. A-Scale says:

    I really hope this works better than Home of the Underdogs (which I could find no good use for).

  5. Salt says:

    HardcoreGamer, you’re mistaking experimental gameplay for art games. Art games attempt to express meaning through the player’s interaction with the game (rather than overtly through text or images as is done in other mediums.)

    Experimental gameplay is about finding fun new ways to interact with a game. The idea is that they’re not so much fully realised games, but ideas for gameplay that could go into a game. The World of Goo prototype where you just aimlessly build things with the goo is a good example of this, in that it was found to be a fun mechanic and was expanded into a ‘proper game’ with challenges and goals.

    Gameplay should be a real word, it’s useful. Go away, red squiggly line.

  6. Serondal says:

    Frobot = Awesome game

  7. Schaulustiger says:

    So, any recommendations?

  8. sinister agent says:

    So, any recommendations?

    Eat well. Avoid traffic.

  9. Gpig says:

    So, any recommendations?

    Careful to all animals. Keep in contact with old friends. Enjoy a drink now and then.

  10. Matt says:

    Frobot is awesome.

  11. Sum0 says:

    So, any recommendations?

    Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

  12. Elyscape says:

    So, any recommendations?

    No.

  13. Matzerath says:

    I second Serondal’s endorsement of Frobot. Robotron mixed with seventies waka-waka music? Super-profoundly awesome!

  14. Chris Evans says:

    Very good news :D

    As an aside, Kyle made some comments about the EGP in my interview with him from the other week – http://thereticule.com/2009/06/a-quick-chat-with-the-2d-boys/

  15. Ben Abraham says:

    I really wanted to play “Kieron Gillen Mud-Wrestles Tom Wolfe”. You know, just because…

  16. Chris Evans says:

    Damn, can’t edit. That was my interview with Kyle Gabler btw :)

  17. PleasingFungus says:

    Frobot single-handedly justifies this entire project. So splendid.

  18. PleasingFungus says:

    (Level 12, 220000, if someone wants to BEAT ME. Which probably won’t be too hard, as I am no shmup-master.)

  19. Morberis says:

    Awesome! I remember when the first Tower of Goo popped up there, and then they put out the revised version. Several of the particle physics games are also rather fun, I still have them laying around somewhere on my hard drive.

  20. Monchberter says:

    Attack of the Killer Swarm is fantastically devilish.

    Rudimentary yes, but hilarious.

  21. DSX says:

    Awe yeah. Feeling the funk on the fro HIT ME!

  22. MrBejeebus says:

    YES!

  23. RobF says:

    More games should have disco.

  24. NikRichards says:

    “Gpig says:

    So, any recommendations?

    Careful to all animals. Keep in contact with old friends. Enjoy a drink now and then.”

    I don’t know if it’s just due to the recent Ian Banks talk, but these must surely be culture ships.

  25. Jazmeister says:

    And what the hell do you know about games with disco in them, “RobF”? Especially ones about Octopi! PFffftt.

    :D

  26. Gap Gen says:

    Yeah, what is the objection to “gameplay”? It’s possibly a bit loosely-defined, but that’s not a real problem in this case.

  27. Jazmeister says:

    I guess it’s just the assumption that the tumult of factors that make up the magic of a game’s experience is just a thing called “gameplay”, right? it’s also a bit like when your english teacher used to tell you not to use the word “nice” because it “meant nothing”, but really, gameplay is everything and nothing about a game. It’s like saying the WorldLive is good/bad.

  28. Bob says:

    That blow game is great, my little one finds it funny as hell! The Wii could learn a thing or two from that lol

  29. Gap Gen says:

    Well, in this case the vagueness is a good thing, no? You don’t want to constraint what goes into what is essentially a creative, open-minded project.

  30. Rei Onryou says:

    Perhaps next months theme could be Kieron Gillen. It’d be like a car crash in slow motion. No matter how much of an eye-fuck it is, you can’t help but watch.

    My suggestion: Two Kierons, One Cup.
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3164/2752697841_b0cce306a7.jpg

  31. KBKarma says:

    That would actually be hilarious: an RPS-based competition. Or, better yet, Journalist of your Choice.

    Glad to see the EGP came back. I didn’t even know it had gone. :(

  32. EyeMessiah says:

    Rainy day is awesome.

  33. Junior says:

    Excited to see this back, I’d rather missed a few of these games.

    Isn’t this just the best way of getting games developed? We get games with new tested gameplay methods and a great sense of style and polish, and then when he moves onto the next idea we get an indie game a week to muck about with. FOR FREE! My favorite type of game!

    Less thrilled about the shumps, but maybe something new and interesting will turn up to drag me in.

  34. undead dolphin hacker says:

    >>Which game is the most pretentious?

    This comments thread was officially complete with this post, why have you all continued on?

    (Ok, so the “What do you recommend” stuff was funny.)

  35. cowthief skank says:

    PleasingFungus: Just finished Level 15, not died yet. Like a cat I have nine lives left. 799,850 points. Would have done better but didn’t figure out how to increase power by not just throwing bullets round at everything including the dancers. Must quit now or I’ll be seeing suits in my dreams.