Live Free Play Hard: I’m Going To Upload A Bullet Into Your Face

Do you like Shadowrun? Do you like space romance? Do you like rescuing pigs? Do you like magical owls? Do you like pretending to be a fireman? WELL…


SAVE MERLIN THE PIG! A rescue quest of dubious proportions by Leigh Alexander

Text adventure about two jerks who become obsessed with rescuing “a pig from slaughter by a high-end Brooklyn foodie restaurant”.  Makes fun of gentrifying assholes but doesn’t lose dimension through parody, because it’s a well-observed story before anything else.

And the branches twist sharply, reminding me of those Choose Your Own Adventure stories for kids, where it was fun because anything could happen. Except instead of scifi-fantasy perils, we have the capricious folly of proto-yuppies, where apathy and arrogance are as deadly as any spike pit.

Meepo in Love by thecatamites

We are all Meepo.

Fire Point by Cesque and Aeron

Firefighter simulator! I like the level select menu, a book of matches striking with each selection. I like that you can save people from fire by tossing them from rooftops. I like the cute sounds they make when they run to safety.

Dying can be a little frustrating. Maybe I just can’t handle the heat!! Reminds me of a favorite tweet by graeyalien.

Magic Owl by Edwin Montgomery

See this owl? It is a magic owl.

It flaps through a 2D landscape that feels pleasingly handmade. This landscape is a cross between a musical instrument and one of those orbs that you touch and arcs of electricity blaze to your fingertips. You trigger these effects by flying around.

In the comments, MNO advises: “I found the animations were a lot smoother (and not annoyingly fast) after I set the game speed to about 50 (which you can do by hitting the escape key and going to Options, after starting exploration)”


DataJack by Ryan Foltz

Isometric Deus Ex/Syndicate/Shadowrun-esque hack & shoot.

Robbing the burger chain to strike a blow against the megacorps is so delightfully cyberpunk. It reminds me of how people assume poorly paid service workers somehow represent and speak for the face of the corporation that owns them.

Q to cycle inventory, E to use inventory item, F to interact, number keys to select weapon, click on things to shoot them.

I am a grizzled hacker cyborg gun dude. You know what part of town I live in? The part with a big building that says GUNS and a big building that says CLINIC. Circle of life.

A passing businessman says, “You look like you know where I could buy a rocket launcher.” Apparently my physical appearance suggests I have knowledge of where best to procure a large tube that fires highly destructive projectiles optimally used against vehicular or structural targets. I have that aura about me.

Old-school transaction system, that is to say, some edges aren’t shaved off. You trade in your old weapon to pay off some of the cost of the new one, which brings it a little closer to actually being in a grimy weapons shop in the year 20XX. You don’t do this for other upgrades, which means buying the most expensive product you can afford is more cost effective than upgrading increment by increment? Which means abstaining could potentially be optimal if you can survive it?

I don’t know, I keep dying, I’m still figuring this out. And god, it costs like a thousand bucks to heal from the brink of death at the clinic. Yeah, I have a cerebral hemorrhage, a fractured spine, and internal bleeding, but I need my badass new iPhone deck.

If this were made by a large company you’d collect Cyber Orbs for every action and trade them in for straight upgrades to your weapon, and your weapon would be one of several Platonic Guns, or a Katana, or Cyber Magic.

Data Jack has handguns, submachine guns, rifles, shotguns, swords, body armor, leg implants, arm implants, eye implants, torso implants, hardware, software, gear, and explosives to buy, but only enough cash to buy very carefully. You have to destroy capitalism by making the best consumer choices possible.

This ruthless systems friction reminds me how a game’s economy can be used to reinforce theme instead of act as a power fantasy slip n’ slide greased with liquid money.

So you buy some weapons. Weapons have all these stats. Noise, accuracy, etc. You can kill things loudly. You can kill things silently.

There’s a certain dangerous appeal for me, this finicky meticulous tidying up. As if there was something noble about my bloodshed being clinical and noiseless. Fortunately I kicked that habit after spending days quick-loading Deus Ex saves to grow my perfect garden of bad-ass silent take-downs cultivated through millennia of time travel (compare to me spending weeks hopelessly mired in Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, stuck on any level where it was remotely possible to jump from a place of any altitude with my katana and slice people in half.) Quick saves are a serious societal scourge and they ruin lives.

Understand: in a world of murder, killing people nicely is a form of sophistication, and flamethrowers and shotguns are tawdry manifestations of populism.

A true philosopher opts for quieter, less flashy weapons, because as we all know, violence is just better when you sanitize it, which ties perfectly into this century of neoliberalism. This form of violence is superior because it’s a longer, more circuitous way of reaching the same point (a dead body). These are free range organically grown corpses, each one lovingly murdered by painless needle gun darts.

If so, then I am vulgar. Now I rampage in a profoundly anti-intellectual way through the palaces and skyscrapers of such games. You ivory tower murderers have no idea how free this feels.

Anyways, I like games where you get to be a hacker and snag cash by blowing up the system. It isn’t so much about escaping from your shit apartment, it’s about everyone sucking and living in shit apartments, because this is Generic Dystopian Cyberpunk Universe and we’re all miserable neurojunky burnout hacker mercenaries here–and anyone who doesn’t live in a shit apartment is an Evil Megacorp Executive who deserves to have their fancy holo-screens and chrome sculptures and zen waterfalls exploded as you drain their bank account in real time, digits dropping to $0000000.


  1. Big Murray says:

    Is dial-up like a peashooter?

  2. heretic says:

    that datajack thing looks great, downloading now!

  3. SuicideKing says:


  4. ividyon says:

    Live Free, Play Literally Every Single Game ‘thecatamites’ Releases Every Week

  5. TWChristine says:

    The title made me snort-laugh :(

  6. daphne says:

    That Datajack description felt feverish as fuck. Good writing!

    • Porpentine says:

      thank you!

      • Ferro says:

        I agree with every word you’ve said. It was awesome to read that.

      • Seymour says:

        “A true philosopher opts for quieter, less flashy weapons, because as we all know, violence is just better when you sanitize it, which ties perfectly into this century of neoliberalism. This form of violence is superior because it’s a longer, more circuitous way of reaching the same point (a dead body). These are free range organically grown corpses, each one lovingly murdered by painless needle gun darts.”

        I never comment, but that had to be highlighted. Really exceptional.

        (As a related aside: Kill all Tory scum.)

  7. DrScuttles says:

    When trying DataJack, I quickly ran into a bug during the tutorial that left my character running through walls like a ghost and unable to progress. But it had a good feel and I like the design, so it’s something I need to get back to when I have more time.
    Anyway, Porp’s writing has inspired me to confess my dark and shameful past: I’m a quicksaver. Always have been. Replaying segments over and over until it’s just so. Wasting hours, days. Sometimes I think I need help.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      Yes! Either it is done perfectly, or not at all.

      A guard walks to a certain place on the street, and suddenly Corvo Attano materializes behind the man, chokes him to unconsciousness and vanishes a moment after, carrying the body with him. There are three other guards nearby, but they saw and heard nothing – at least, this is what happened this time, because I just spent ten minutes to find the right way to choke this one guy out, instead of just moving on like a normal person. I think I need twice the time to finish some games because of this, but I just can’t help myself.

      Wait. Did that guard over there actually see me? He’s not there anymore, maybe he ran to raise the alarm. Better reload.

      • welverin says:

        Should we start a support group?

        • mistwolf says:

          I’m not sure. Let’s take a snapshot of right now, then start one, and if we don’t like how it goes we just reload the snapshot. Sound good?

  8. akbarovich says:

    Porpentine = thecatamites?
    Porpentine = jchastain?
    Porpentine = whoever made that Crypt Worlds game?

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      I think Porpentine is Porpentine.

    • TychoCelchuuu says:

      Porpentine actually doesn’t usually post her own games in these things I think, which is unfortunate, but that’s the best way to negotiate potential conflicts of interest I guess.

      • Porpentine says:

        Yeah we never cover our own games on figames/rps…conflict of interest is too big

        • mistwolf says:

          Have you considered a periodic ‘What we’re doing’ post/feature, maybe, where you can self promote? I for one woudl love to know more about what the RPS people are doing. One thing I love about it is that it has people who are actually making games and such, not just talking about them. it feels like it grounds some of the commentary more firmly as you guys know what’s what.

  9. cylentstorm says:

    I snagged Datajack from Desura (direct download, ‘cuz one DRM client is Steamy enough) a couple of weeks ago. Ran into the same tutorial bug, chuckled, and skipped to the meat and potatoes. Pretty cool little Shadowpunk (SR sans magic and elves) game that’s completely free to boot. Dev says an update addressing the bugs is in the works, and is quietly open to donations. My only real complaint is the part where I bleed from my eyes after squinting at the tiny little window…because I’m too lazy to find a way to upscale it in fullscreen that doesn’t crop, chop, or distort without changing my desktop res. Good stuff, though.

    Unfortunately, I’m not brave enough to try the others mentioned here–not today, anyway.

  10. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Save Merlin the Pig is kind of awesome, actually.

  11. pupsikaso says:

    I dunno… ever since this Porpertine guy took over the indie games section all the games here are from Why even read this section when I can just go to that site instead?
    Before whoever was doing it would find and collect many different games from all over the place, but these are all the same from the same site.
    Can’t we get some variety, please?

    • DrGonzo says:

      I’m not the biggest fan of the writing style. The description makes me assume the game is arty farty and I won’t be interested, but it could just be the way it’s written.

    • LogicalDash says: doesn’t really have reviews.

    • tormos says:

      also porpentine is female

  12. Yglorba says:

    Important tip for DataJack:

    The ‘expendable’ equipment (medkits, C4, grenades, etc) only has to be purchased once. After that, you get a certain number of uses per mission, without ever having to buy them again. Buy a medkit as soon as possible, don’t waste money healing at the clinic.

    The EMP grenade is also essential — you get three EMPs per mission, each of which can easily disable turrets, cameras, and robots in a wide area, permanently. (It can disable turrets even though the description doesn’t mention them.) The only catch is that destroying stuff with an EMP is considered heavy property damage, which can result in getting your pay reduced slightly for certain missions, but it’s still very much worth having in a pinch. You’re better off paying a few hundred credits in fines than getting shot full of holes by an angry security robot.