Live Free Play Hard: Sorry, I Don’t Date Games Without Guns In Them

By Porpentine on September 15th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

The world in your backyard. 10 seconds to say goodbye. Ragdoll torture chamber.

 

SUPERHOT by Piotr Iwanicki, Jakub Ziembinski, Lukasz Spierewka, Marek Baczynski, Konrad Kacperczyk, Dawid Adamkiewicz, vxd555

Ultra-stylish minimal shooter with one simple rule: time slows down when you aren’t moving, and speeds up when you are. This makes you the sexiest badass ever in the world of killing a bunch of dudes for the hell of it.

Greyscale with red accents. Red for bullet trails, red for blood, red for their disintegrating bodies.

The use of text is so good! Words flash across the screen, unfettered from dialogue boxes,

TAKE HIM DOWN

KILL THEM ALL

SINGLE BIG BOLD WORDS LIKE PSYCHIC COMMANDS TO THE WORLD’S PERFECT ASSASSIN.

Like, I’m into games about killing, just be real about it, you know? Make it feel good. Make it sexy. I don’t need to lumber through some muddy shit-hole and hear justifications for my murderous rampage, I just need something like this, where running over a gun picks up the gun and running out of ammo flings the gun out of my useless hands so I can replace it with a gun that has bullets inside it as is my God-given right as a True Gamer.

Don’t be coy. Don’t act like that gun isn’t the whole reason I’m here. Yeah, that’s a gorgeous skybox, great job. No, I don’t want to tap E at some computer terminal. I’m not looking for a serious relationship, I just want to get drunk and make out.

 

Notes on departure by withoutpillow

A vignette about going to space for a long while and not having the time to say final goodbyes to your lover.

Touches on the same themes as Aaron Reed’s Almost Goodbye. Both use the total finality of slow space travel as a device to highlight the importance of our final moments on Earth (Notes on departure hints that you could be back inside a couple years but the point is the same: deep space is going to separate you from your friends for a long time).

Reed’s experiment is about who you choose to spend your time with and the conversations you have (and does some interesting things with procedural narrative). Notes on departure occupies an even smaller timespan–10 seconds–and asks what kind of message you’d leave behind for someone you care about when you have no time to rehearse your thoughts. Does it drag something raw and sincere out of you? Or do you just choke?

The unlimited possibilities of what to write adds a role-playing aspect to this–the obvious cue is something sentimental (my first impulse, and probably a common one, was “I love you”), but I ended up writing something that felt more interesting: “Don’t remember me,” evoking a scenario in which I realized our relationship wouldn’t survive the distance and it was better this way.

And of course you can be like “askjasdkskaljkdl fuckfuck penispenis cocksplat beefucker” and nobody will stop you.

Two endings.

Lime Rick by KissMaj7

Kind of like Snake, in that you get longer as you move around, but not reflex based. Instead, it’s a solid, well-designed puzzle game where you make careful choices with every tile. The claustrophobia of being surrounded by your own ever-growing body, every movement swelling your mass. Only reaching the apple will grant you temporary reprieve from this nightmare.

It’s complicated by gravity. If you get stuck in a pit, you’re fucked. And there’s a height limit of four tiles, so you might have to do things like zig-zag to make a coil staircase for yourself.

 

Magi Story by Bryce Mainville

Magi Story is part text adventure, part “clay and a heap of living/dead organisms” from the author’s backyard. Tiny worlds like this make me so happy. Pebbles are boulders, branches are trees, and a can of Raid is a DEATH MONOLITH.

You’re a magi, which is apparently like a cicada, and the world is full of cute clay critters (the big brown hamburger-looking dude is especially good). The cuteness belies the fact that everyone is basically a jerk and more interested in their own selfish problems than helping you find wherever it is magis are supposed to go.

 

Ragdoll Ahievement 2 by Pegas Games

Strangely relaxing for a ragdoll torture chamber. Fire, spikes, laser guns, all the way to exotic shit like Portal-esque portals.

At the top of the screen you have three objectives at any time, like juggle something with sawblades for 15 seconds, which nets you extra cash or upgrade points. You also have a damage meter, and breaking damage milestones unlocks new items, which helps you do more horrible things to the ragdoll, and thus the twisted cycle continues.

So fun to experiment with! The three objectives are great because instead of screwing up the sandbox feel with a series of puzzles that must be completed before the game can continue, you can challenge yourself at will, and if one is too hard, there are two more to try for. Or you can ignore that for a bit and focus on the blunt juicy progression of doing lots of damage.

So the system allows a variety of approaches while punishing neither. Going for the objectives means building gimmick courses designed for specific outcomes, while going for damage means constructing elaborate cathedrals of pain (it is really satisfying to pack a room full of blades and flamethrowers and rockets and explosives and watch it unwind like the world’s scariest Rube Goldberg machine).

Utopia by Tom Flynn

A brief journey through life, taking a cue from Thomas More’s Utopia, a “book in which he describes a fictional island whereupon is found the perfect form of human society…Derived from the Greek ou (not) + topos (a place)…Literally, no place”.

Posting this especially because of the BEAUTIFUL PIXEL ART. Such a sense of gradient and motion–sand whipping through the burning desert, moonlight streaming to illuminate a body on the seafloor.

So I guess the idea is that no matter how far you travel, nothing will be perfect. All we can do is enjoy the colors and sensations while they last, and that was very much my experience with Utopia.

Time Flies Straight by MrSpeaker

You have to reach a golden orb but you’re one second short! At first I thought this would be the kind of game where I earn extra seconds on a timer to reach new parts of the map, but instead you meet Carl Sagan and he tells you that time is a fractal and the world starts streeeeeeeeeeeeetching.

The author suggests that it is “Best enjoyed in fullscreen mode (lil’ button in the top right), after 1.5 standard drinks.” I didn’t drink, but I don’t think I needed to.

 

Samsara Room by Abroy

In contrast to the sterility of many one-room games, Samsara Room is an atmospheric, organic experience. A lizard crawls across the wall. Contemplative piano threatens to burn away into static. And this nice room full of lovely furniture has frays here and there and if you keep picking at them…

This is a great use of the one room premise because it transfigures that space while retaining the archetypes established in the opening. No matter how much the room changes, objects resurface in various forms–a structure to ground the surreality and give it a kind of internal logic.

And while the universe is surreal, the relationships between objects make sense–pencils draw on paper, matches light candles. Samsara Room is not on the sadistic side of the difficulty spectrum, instead it flows nice and lets me enjoy the ride, which is uncanny, morbid, but never without a sense of humor.

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43 Comments »

  1. Fumarole says:

    For some reason I read the UI in the penultimate picture as Wahlberg happiness saturation.

    • RitaSingleton says:

      my neighbor’s step-sister makes $61 every hour on the laptop. She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her paycheck was $15080 just working on the laptop for a few hours. my response… http://www.day37.com

  2. Dr I am a Doctor says:

    To Tom Flynn:
    “haha, what”

  3. PopeRatzo says:

    Not for nuthin’, but you don’t want time to slow down when you’re standing still and speed up when you’re moving. It already does that. You want the opposite.

    Think a hitter in baseball (that’s a game, like cricket for straight guys, that’s played over here in the States). When the pitch is coming over the plate at 100mph and you go into your swing, you’d want time to slow down so you can bring your bat around to make contact with the fat part. You would speed up when moving, and slow down when standing still, but time would do the opposite.

    Carry on.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      “like cricket for straight guys”

      I suspect there’s a few curveballs in baseball as well.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      “a hitter in baseball (that’s a game, like cricket for straight guys,”

      Do fuck along, manchild.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Actually I’d say it’s the opposite. Think about when you’ve been driving your car at 100mph on the Autobahn (Can you do that in America yet, or do you still have speed limits because you can’t be trusted to operate machines responsibly?) and then you enter a residential area.

      Everything seems so much slower at 30mph than it did at 100 because at 100mph your perception of time actually slowed down to compensate for the smaller divisions of time in which you had to make decisions. Eventually, while going at 30 your perception of time speeds up again to the point where seconds are passing more quickly and everything no longer seems to be crawling at a snail’s pace.

      Read Pratchett or (especially) Banks on the subject… Although I understand that as an American it might be hard for you to acquire a book that isn’t a biography, or a self-help manual. Try following the people in the bookstore who look the least like you, and/or the most like the kids you used to beat up at school.

      Right, anyone for gay cricket?? Oh I say, I’ve been stumped by the backstop!

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        To extend the ball-and-bat-sport-of-your-choice analogy, they say the best sportspeople are those whose reactions are the fastest, which is another way of saying that they’re able to slow the apparent passage of time for themselves in order to make decisions quicker. In baseball a good “hitter” (really? That’s what they’re called??) actually does slow down time as the ball approaches. The reason why it seems to pass by at 100mph for you, is that you suck at baseball.

      • Dominus_Anulorum says:

        So, is it an American stereotype that we only read biographies? I think that’s kind of hilarious actually. I haven’t heard that one. I’m not really sure how baseball isn’t gay in comparison to cricket, though. I’ve heard plenty of jokes about baseball players hitting balls in tight pants on tv. I don’t know much about cricket so I can’t comment on that.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Well, more correctly the European stereotype is that Americans are uncultured. When I’ve been in a mainstream bookshop in the States, finding the non-fiction section has been rather like finding the mens section in a clothes store. Although the last time I was in a bookshop in the UK it was a similar scene there too. By most accounts, Americans do read proportionally more non-fiction, and bestsellers lists tend to be full crap everywhere in the world.

          But I wasn’t replying to that guy out of any desire to have a go at Americans, more so because he is a homophobic twat.

  4. InternetBatman says:

    Anyone know how to solve the chandelier puzzle in Samsarra. I get that you need to change it to the telephone’s order, but it’s not doing anything / I don’t know which candle to start at.

  5. Viroso says:

    You know many times I’ve been like “no, c’mon, what is EVEN A GAME anyway, maaan” and argued with people that were gatekeeping the word game, people who were saying “HEY THIS IS NOT A GAME WHY ARE YOU EVEN POSTING THIS HERE GOOOSH”.

    But I think when you have text only, no choices, just text and pictures, zero interactivity basically, and then if on the last page you get “Thanks for reading” then it’s not a game. Unless we start saying interaction is turning the page on a book or choosing to read something, but then words exist to describe specific things not anything and everything, cept for the word thing I guess.

    Edit: Also I guess with this post I’ve become one of those people telling other people what to do and what to feature on their weekly columns.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      I pretty much always fall in the “Oh yes it is” camp in the But It’s Not A Game Wars, but… yeah, I can’t come up with any definition for “game” that includes Utopia.

      Sure is beautiful, though. Glad to know about it.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Could be worse, some people here by the quality of their comments are essentially telling RPS not to have a comments section anymore.

      I think I probably share your definition of what is, and what isn’t a game, though. I struggle with twine games because I think the majority are art but not games. On the other hand. I think games are art and I would like to use twine games as an example!

      Back in the day, I had a hard time even classifying Myst as a game. I can still remember a blazing row with my girlfriend over why Monkey Island was a game and Myst wasn’t… Come to think of it, we also argued over whether games (and specifically, programming them) was art or not – and this in 1998!

    • GameCat says:

      I would rather see things like that at the bottom of Sunday Papers with other cool non-game related stuff.

    • The Random One says:

      Yes, you did. Turn back now, lest you forget the true path.

      As for Utopia, it certainly blurs the line between game and poetry, but I think it still has enough implied presence to count as a game. But what’s more important to me is that lovely pixel gif art.

    • Fliver says:

      Whether or not it’s a game, Utopia is made with game making tools and so is going to be ignored by every other group. It’s a lovely little thing, and RPS and fig.es are where it can reach an audience. Posting media bits like Utopia help keep gaming… fertile? Not really sure what the word should be, but I figure unless non-interactive game-looking media somehow explodes in popularity and stops ‘actual’ games from being posted (how would this even happen? I don’t think Live Free has a size limit?), having them around means easier access to cool stuff for players and assures creators that there’s a community interested in whatever game-ish pieces they’re making. Dead silence is demoralizing for most devs, we can and should be making some noise.

      But I’m not really sure what was/if you had a problem with Utopia: Did you feel like it shouldn’t be on the list, or that the blurb should have mentioned it wasn’t a game, or…?

      • Viroso says:

        Did you feel like it shouldn’t be on the list, or that the blurb should have mentioned it wasn’t a game, or…?

        Yeah that’s the thing, I don’t know.

        Like, it isn’t bad that people mention it or show it to other people and also as you said there’s no size limit really, and it’s not like posting this today means tomorrow OMG RPS became a book reviewing website.

        But at the same time I come here looking for a game. I think, hey I’ll put some of my time to read Live Free Play Hard because that’s where I’ll find zany games. Not just interesting things in general, but games specifically. Then I click the link thinking it’ll be a game.

        And Utopia is definitely not a game. Having pixel art or using twine don’t make it a game. Pixel art is its own thing and twine is a but a tool, it doesn’t define the end product.

        At the very least I just go in there expecting one thing only to get another, it can be disappointing even. So, there’s that to think about when you mention giving someone an audience. It’s an audience that came looking for a specific thing.

        But in the end, I guess, if it is called free indie games then it makes sense that it delivers what is advertised, games, free games. Free games made by independent developers. I mean, imagine Warframe featured here, or Last of Us, it wouldn’t make sense.

        Anyway, this argument I brought up is hardly relevant enough to warrant this many words.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          The problem I had in the mid 90s when Myst suddenly became ultra-popular and turned a lot of heads of non-gamers, was the way it was triumphed as some sort of revolution in games. People outside games at the time had no concept of games as anything other than shoot ‘em ups, beat ‘em ups and other kinds of “‘em up” As someone who grew up on adventure and role-playing games this annoyed me to no end. It was as though all the nuances of those games were being overlooked when people were coming out with such asinine comments about Myst finally proving that games can be cerebral rather than just about reflexes or violence. As though it was the first game anyone had noticed since Pacman or space invaders.

          It was a frustrating puzzle game and that was it. It looked nice but even Jet Set Willy had deeper gameplay. Is gameplay not the thing that makes a game a game? Games as art should not mean games as vessels for other art forms. As much as I’m capable of enjoying something like Utopia and as awesome as it is an example of using computers and programming to make art, I am not sure how to categorize them in a way that doesn’t diminish them but also doesn’t misrepresent games as an artform.

  6. Gap Gen says:

    That first screenshot is amazing.

  7. Skabooga says:

    Super Hot is pretty much the coolest game I’ve ever played.

    • HadToLogin says:

      It’s great. I wonder why like-every news site was busy writing about Notch-made-Zombie-game-at-7dfps, while gems like this were omitted.
      Kinda hope it was only because one was available one other wasn’t, instead of being proof that indie-games became same mainstream shit where names and money sell games.

  8. LionsPhil says:

    I have destroyed many ragdolls this day.

    (What, nothing for getting every last one of the challenges done? Trick missed there, perhaps.)

    • Bluerps says:

      Yeah, I spent an embarrassing amount of time mutilating ragdolls today…

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      Ah, this reminds me of the time spent messing around in Virtual Buddy (I think that`s the name) torturing a George Bush-headed ragdoll with rockets and fire hoses. Yeah, I might be a tiny bit sociopathic. Just a bit.

  9. IanWharton says:

    Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat. Change!

  10. slerbal says:

    I fear change! I fear change!

    More seriously though, personally I’m not keen on the lack of separation between the main contents and the sidebar, as it makes the page feel visually unbalanced, but that is just a design aesthetic.

  11. obd2 says:

    In contrast to the sterility of many one-room games, Samsara Room is an atmospheric, organic experience. A lizard crawls across the wall. Contemplative piano threatens to burn away into static

  12. Maxheadroom says:

    Those screenshots looks like they’r from the early 90′s. Thats not a sneering criticism, in fact looking at them made me feel all squishy and nostalgic

  13. Audiocide says:

    In other news; Well, yeah. Humans are violent creatures by nature – who sometimes use weapons against each other. That’s exciting to simulate, because the vast majority of people will never experience it firsthand.

    Although this new wave of aggressive pacifism is amusing.

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