Live Free, Play Hard: ONE THOUSAND SNAKES

By Porpentine on June 9th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

THIS WEEK: The first 20 minutes of Call of Duty. Noise music fishing trip. HUG. DOUBLE HUG. TRIPLE HUG. M-M-M-M-MONSTER HUG

 

Room of 1000 Snakes by Ben Esposito and Yuliy Vigdorchik

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

 

 

HUGPUNX by merritt kopas

A “fluoro-pink queer urban hugging simulator” inspired by the brutally satisfying PUNKSNOTDEAD. We need more cute covers of games. Cuddle of Duty…Warhugger 40k…

Anyways, HUGPUNX is a purely joyous experience about hugging. Thanks to next gen technology, you can even hug a cat. And before you know it, the sacred institution of marriage has been annihilated.

I like the dilating heart faces of the bystanders because they make me think of gleefully flapping mandibles. Terrifying aliens need love too.

 

Save the Date by Chris Cornell

Without spoilers, I would call Save the Date an experimental dating sim with surprising depth.

With spoilers (and this is a game much more enjoyable to feel out on your own), I’d call it a smart critique of escapist plots and the nature of stories, driven by an ongoing conversation with your increasingly self-aware date.

See, no matter what you do she keeps dying random, horrible deaths, so you try Groundhog Day-ing this shit, searching for the one path that lets her live. Then Save the Date turns into a compelling deconstruction of what a “real” ending means, that rush to reach the magical screen that says we won.

 

 

apartment building by lilith

A series of mysterious apartments. Nauseating cockroaches. Lonely skyscraper views. Haunting music.

Wander around. Fish for artifacts and sell them to greedy inhabitants. Find secrets. There is one beautiful thing in the game and it is genuinely peaceful and uplifting, especially if you’ve ever lived in a dirty, claustrophobic apartment.

Objects reoccur, but their size changes from apartment to apartment. A figurine in one room is a statue in another, like a child’s toy inflated by imagination.

The apartment hub is in HTML, making it an extension of Lilith’s architectural website, which divides itself into pyramids, mazes, dungeons, etc. Game and website merged as one, a living structure grafted from HTML and CSS and Construct and Unity.

Many of the apartment spaces are unfilled. I hope to see more.

 

Tower of the Blood Lord by Michael Lutz

Tower of the Blood Lord is interactive fiction based on when the author played “the first twenty minutes of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2″. Dismissing it as parody would be unjust. Funny, sure, but its real strength is how it plays with exploration.

To this end, Tower of the Blood Lord is structured both spatially (parts of a military base), interface-wise (FPS controls in the form of hyperlinks), and resource-wise (tracking grenades, hunger, etc). By establishing structure, we can subvert it.

Because hypertext is not innately spatial.

FPS and platformers have floors, at minimum, so you don’t fall into the void. They’re usually sub-divided further by walls and ceilings and corridors.

Narrowing our scope to interactive fiction itself, parser games are composed of rooms and objects. Hypertext, with its fluid links, makes no such assumptions about a material universe. You can call a link a room, but it might as well be totally abstract.

Without these structures, the experience of playing Tower of the Blood Lord would feel significantly more random. With them, it is a game of discovery, of seeing where the world reveals unexpected depth.

 

Problem Attic by liz ryerson

Utterly hostile platformer in a shifting world of harsh geometry. Maybe this was a typical platformer once. Now the levels are abandoned, overgrown with glitch weeds, populated by feral beings.

Problem Attic challenges us to establish a visual vocabulary–which colors and shapes represent platforms? Is there even any pattern or is the world just fucked?

But what I find most intriguing is the player’s relationship with the floating crosses. They’re aggressive but not lethal–abusive in other words. You need them to get around the world, but they vibrate horribly when you touch them. They move like we expect videogame enemies to move, but instead of a kill or be killed dynamic, you’re forced to rely on them.

There are some good metaphors there (not much worse in life than requiring something toxic to live–our addiction, our caretaker, our job) but on the mechanical level, it’s interesting to escape binaries. I’d like to see more entities that are unpleasant, ambiguous, untrustworthy.

 

Is This A Game by the Game Police

Ugh, another Twine game?

 

Lake of Roaches by thecatamites

We wake up in our hotel room. We were dreaming. Dreaming about noise music. Dream about noise music turning into a fishing trip.

“What time is it?” we ask.

From the direction of the lake we hear the slap of liquid static on bone-dust sand. Nature itself has answered our question, so we clutch our poles in anticipation and head to the elevator, tumbling over beds, rolling over televisions, slamming into tables. We can’t even see some of the furniture (blame our rigid necks, an abnormality of ossified cartilage acquired in the womb), only map it by the bruises on our legs.

The hotel lobby is full of gaunt old dudes. They don’t want to talk! That’s okay.

Outside, a bleached bonescape sprawls into the darkness. In our dream we’d trudged across this desert of crushed ivory only to fall into the darkness. Fall forever.

And indeed, the horizon seems to fall away in every direction.

How did we even reach this exit-less lakeside resort? Ha ha! Relax! We came here to have fun! Good times! Absurd questions such as “Did a deranged god curse us to be eternally reborn in a black and white hotel hell world?” fade from our psychically conjoined minds as swiftly as they are replaced by positive fishing imagery.

We walk through town and onto the beach. A toppled house is half-submerged in the lake, warning to those who would build without proper safety precautions. We look approvingly upon the other houses and their sturdy stilts.

One of us checks our bait-box (full of squirming, giddy worms, half of us reports, snapping it shut with a satisfactory click. A few worms, trying to escape, are clipped by the lid. They fall to the ground, executed by their own prison.), then step onto the pier. It creaks under our feet, a jagged path of pale wood.

We take a step forward, only to bump into myself. “Don’t you want to go fishing,” we ask, scared of the answer. “Of-of course we do!” we reply indignantly. “Okay good. Let’s go fishing.”  Suddenly

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40 Comments »

  1. RangerKarl says:

    I love how the AAAAAAHHHHHHHH part just runs off the page margins.

  2. tailzdru says:

    does anyone else agree that Live free, play hard should be posted on a sat?

    Giving us the whole weekend to try these games

  3. phelix says:

    Ceci n’est pas un game.

  4. JoeLocastro says:

    Duuuuuude don’t spoil “Save The Date” like that.

  5. misterT0AST says:

    Too many articles featuring the same games.
    Lake of Roaches, Save the date, Room of 1000 snakes and Get Hugged were already written about.
    I usually read this article to hear about new games i didn’t know before.
    I know it’s ok if you suggest games that were already featured, but 4 games out of 9 is a bit too many for me.

    • tobecooper says:

      I think the real issue is that Porpentine doesn’t read RPS daily like we do!

      (cue in ominous music)

      • padger says:

        I missed half of those the first time, to be honest.

        <3 Porp

        • Porpentine says:

          i read RPS every day.

          for some of these games, it’s a matter of being talked about twice, instead of once. they don’t have marketing campaigns.

          i feel as if there were a double standard–for non free indie games, we’re saturated in months of advertisements, previews, discourse, reviews, imagery, analysis, but I rarely see complaints about that. Even the worst AAA game will pop up repeatedly everywhere we look, because that’s how games coverage is biased.

          But for some reason, seeing a little game that someone poured their heart out on resurface more than once is a problem.

          <3

    • cptgone says:

      this feature is where people go to find free games. so, they belong here.

      also, there’s nothing wrong with getting to read different people’s views. especially when written in prose as beautiful as Porpentine’s.

    • FhnuZoag says:

      I’m pretty happy with Save The Date being talked about a whole lot more.

  6. ohtorialumna says:

    Did I just end the world or save it in Is This A Game?

  7. Lambchops says:

    LUDICROUS HU-HU-HU-HU-HUG

  8. cpt_freakout says:

    Millions of roaches vs 1000 snakes: your date dies, you hug a punk, and the space invaders win

  9. Aaax says:

    What time is it?

    /watch?v=jvjDr8KKtsE 2:10

  10. vivlo says:

    1000 snakes is form Arcane Kids, they of Zineth and soon to come (?) perfect strike. They do know how to renew themselves !

  11. YogSo says:

    Haven’t tried the hugging game yet. Is it better than Rambo: Last Blood, featured on RPS last year?

  12. cptgone says:

    what an unsettlingly huge dildo, in that Hugpunx screenshot! it dwarves Saint Row’s Penetrator.

  13. cptgone says:

    “Thanks to next gen technology, you can even hug a cat. And before you know it, the sacred institution of marriage has been annihilated.”
    please allow me to creatively misinterpret your joke:

    never cheat your wife/hubby with a cat.
    the scratch marks will give you away!

  14. Scone says:

    NPCs jumping around in HUGPUNX is the cutest! It’s like they’re having as much fun as I am, though I wish the pink ones could hug each other since I can’t.

  15. Scone says:

    NPCs jumping around in HUGPUNX is the cutest! It’s like they’re having as much fun as I am, though I wish the pink ones could hug each other since I can’t.

  16. Bhazor says:

    Lake of Roaches.
    Just what the hell.

    Lake of fucking Roaches.

  17. Skabooga says:

    Room of 1000 Snakes delivered everything I wanted from it and more.

  18. Commissar Choy says:

    I liked Room of 1000 Snakes but I can’t listen to that song anymore because of mashups :(

  19. Kitsunin says:

    I thought Save The Date was fantastic.

    (Spoilers ahead!)

    However, I did have a bit of a problem with the way it seemed to be telling me what I wanted was a screen saying “Good job you got teh good ending!” (I know that probably wasn’t what it was getting at, I just got the feeling that maybe it was). I honestly don’t care much about being that, it’s closure that I want. A feeling that I can leave the story and be satisfied with what was there, rather than being left feeling like more should’ve been written. I don’t think such closure is necessary to a story, it’s just what I normally expect, visual novels and games with multiple endings aside; what I think is interesting about STD…uhh, Save The Date, is that it’s really the opposite of almost any other game. Rather than one through all of the endings having closure, none of them do. It’s interesting how in stories, we expect closure for everything, and if something doesn’t make sense in the end, we hold it against the story, while in reality so many things go unknown, unfinished.

    I thought the Hacker ending/scene, while it may have been making fun of people who want a “Happy” ending, served well to show that “And everything was wonderful and they lived happily ever after” is just as bad as “And they all died The End”, only less likely to actually happen.

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