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
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