I felt that explicitly conflating romance with navigating a cavern full of leering underground slime monsters was too psychologically revealing
Bubsy 3d: Bubsy visits the James Turrell Retrospective by Arcane Kids
Bubsy’s back! Bubsy, the greatest game character in the world! WHOOOOP!
Bubsy loves to explore the James Turrel Retrospective. You know what every museum needs? Collectibles! Gliding! Non-stop action!
Remember, you can enter cheat codes at the main menu, and you can find them here!
When you beat the game, you can come back as a ghost and fuck with people!
♥Arachne♥ by Fractoluminous
Short hypertext about breaking free from a nightmarish closed environment. Makes me think of Chrisamaphone’s VILLAINY–this finite text space where you test your surroundings and develop an understanding that will allow you to escape. I’m down with the femme scifi dystopia going on here too.
FF35 by thecatamites
WHY WON’T THEY LET STEPHEN MAKE THE NEXT FINAL FANTASY
No Escape Saga by lilith
This is like old-school Zelda reconstructed by aliens after thousands of years. The result is a distorted, hopeless restoration–game mechanics turned into rituals divorced from their actual purpose. For example, enemies are helpless, completely non-threatening. You kill them by touching swords and bombs.
And nope you don’t get a normal camera angle, you’re in the DIRT (“you don’t deserve a nice camera angle, WORM”–POV BDSM dynamics sure to be explored moving onward thru this 21st century ludic zeitgeist). This shifts the player from the normal godlike POV to a camera angle more consonant with the actual player character, a feeling reinforced by the enormous figure watching over the main area.
Sea of Love by thecatamites
I’ll let the author speak for himself!
Sea Of Love is a dating game inspired by the Pokemon series (specifically the areas Power Station, Mewtwo’s Ice Dungeon I think I conflated). You walk around the little beach and go into a cave. You meet the animals and can seduce them via fruit. If successful they become “tamed” and sing a song to you. I had originally intended for the “tamed” animals to be added to your house on the beach but was too tired to implement this and also it seemed a bit pat (do we always kill the ones we love?? Can love bloom on the battlefield??). In terms of other content that didn’t make it in, the encounter bits were going to be more interesting and also there was an excellent anemonae monster as well… with respect to the pokemon connection, originally this was going to be a more regular cave-based monster dating game but I felt that explicitly conflating romance with navigating a cavern full of leering underground slime monsters was too psychologically revealing and so the dating parts warped into a more general music / battlin’ thing.
IT’S NOT INCOHERENT CUZ IT’S ART, IT’S INCOHERENT CUZ ITS 1AM AND I HAVE WORK TOMORROW!! Yaahhh!!
Cigar Afficionado by thecatamites
Finally, Cigar Aficionado on your PC! The thrilling story of ruthless CEOtrixes and the fabled “BUSTER” cigar, prized by “cruel, exultant CEOs”!
Dungeons of Kong by Nerdook
Streamlined dungeon crawler. Feels boardgamey, kind of Fantasy Flight-ish.
You have a Threat meter. Threat rises with exploration. At 100 Threat, the Ancient Evil attacks you and you have to drive it off again. Succeed and the counter resets to 50. Threat is actually a resource. Reviving people outside battle costs Threat. Making certain decisions during random encounters can raise or lower Threat.
Every descent to the next floor provides an interlude where you can buy from 3 random items and spend cash leveling up. HP is wisely set at the lowest amounts, Paper Mario-style (health potions heal 1 HP, for instance), forgoing Final Fantasy-esque numeric jerkathons in favor of something the player can actually quantify and calculate.
You pick 3 classes to make up your party. If you design your own character, it looks like you have access to classes that aren’t normally available. I like the Shadow. Every time the Shadow ends a movement near an enemy, they damage the enemy for free. This means getting into position or running over to revive someone can still contribute to the flow of battle.
I went for a party that looked like it could clear rooms quickly: Defender to deal damage while tanking, Shadow for dealing damage on the go, and Ranger for surgical strikes.
Each floor has a randomly selected boss, like the Goblin King who grows more powerful the longer you wait (killing bosses grants you bonuses, like their minions grow weaker, or some will join your side in each battle.) Combined with the Threat mechanic, this discourages grinding out the entire floor. Instead, it becomes about evaluating your own power and readiness to advance, not arbitrary gates.
The real end point of each floor is the exit, another piece of decision-making. Do you force your way through, which means a fight? Or do you unlock it peacefully using a Glyph? Glyphs can open gates for free, revive your party, or if you save them til the end of the game, they deal free damage to the final boss before battle starts.
Random events seem fairly luck-based, although I think having certain adventurers increases the odds of success? For instance, the Shadow seemed to have an effect on rogueish style events. The Monty Hall Problem but with spiders was a fun variation.
I was thinking, oh, this is a nice little diversion. But the phrase “diversion” is so toothless, because it implies that we are diverting from a point, but can anyone name that point? Some virtuous, universally understand task drifting in our periphery, probably related to modern day productivity anxiety. Maybe diversion means “This game doesn’t contribute to my social standing.”
Anyways. This is a series of choices that won’t give you a headache, the mechanics are thoughtful, and you can hit monsters and hear coin sounds (I feel like coin sounds > coins. Videogames are amazing at coin sounds. Capitalism would be unstoppable if it picked up this trick.)