This week I am broadcasting from an internet café deep on the Costa Rican beachfront. There is a dog here, of unrecognisable breed, which is growling and whining at something intangible, perhaps its own existence. Although the free games explosions of recent weeks, attributed to the Global Game Jam, have been a testing time for us all, I want you to know that I am safe and will continue my correspondence in exile with as much verve and courage as would be expected in the smoggy heart of London, where I am told my ghost still lingers, like a stench on the wind.
Two Interviewees by Mauro Vanetti & Emanuele Klemp
Quick job interview from two simultaneous perspectives. One candidate is a woman and one is a man, but each choice you make will apply to both. The employers reaction ought to be the same, right? MESSAGE ALERT. THERE IS A MESSAGE HERE. I HOPE YOU GET THE MESSAGE.
Skorpulac by aarkipel
Spear-wielding jump ‘n’ stab of the elder schools. Five levels of laser avoidance and frog-murdering. Like a miniturised Metroid where Samus’ suit has no batteries and she is forced to poke all her foes with a sharp stick. The shifting surfaces and patrolling baddies are straight from platforming 101 but the download also includes a PDF manual with a list of the enemy types all rendered in some unknown alien tongue, a cheeky reference to the good old days of reading about the different devils you would be facing once your bus got back from the game shop.
1 Tera Toaster by Ivan Notaros & Slobodan Stevic
The trials and tribulations of an intergalactic toaster salesman. You are on a mission to sell one trillion toasters. You can only do this by selling in bulk to whole populations but the cultures of each planet are not all alike, and they will not tolerate rudeness or even miscommunication. For each people you have to do a unique greeting of dancing and waving, sometimes wearing certain clothes, sometimes holding particular trinkets, swapping skulls for hammers mid-dance. Do it correctly and the people will cut a deal, purchasing billions of your machines and helping you grow your toast empire. Sometimes you will even get a trinket, opening up more cultures to exploitation. But enact the greeting in the wrong way and they will fire lasers at you, banish you from the planet and tell all their neighbours how horrible you are.
Shabby Home Designer by tdlk
Student lifestyle throwback complete with second-hand cathode ray televison and “friends”. Expand or shrink your room with the arrow keys, cycle through the items with WASD. As you can see from the above screenshot I have recreated my first-year dormitory, complete with some of the other warm bodies which inhabited it. What kind of wonderful abode will you create? A garbage-infested bedsit? A laptop paradise? A beanbag boudoir? The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination! But also they are limited by the furniture.
Dungeon Decorator by Loren Schmidt
More map-editing madness this time in a dank, spritey dungeon. A whole level is open to creation, press ‘M’ to zoom in and out of individual screens, weave tunnels full of skulls, hang vines and chains from the ceiling, erect imposing stone pillars in endless corridors, and enscribe ominous warnings on signposts for your dungeon crawlers. When you are satisfied, click the play button to wander around and test it out. You can save your dungeon offline or share it over the Twitterbook. The dungeon master of dungeon masters, Loren Schmidt, who you may remember from previous editions of Free Loaders, says that this is early days. We are told a more complete version, with text tools, new characters and sprite editing, will come out ‘soon™’
Lake Poisonknee by Ellen Cunningham
Don’t go to Lake Poisonknee.
d∙i∙v∙i∙n∙e∙r by videodante and the Kartridge Family
Consult the diviner by offering three items. A cigarette, a playing card and a stack of coins informed me that I was fluent in greed, which is true. I grew up bilingual. Essentially a small poetry generator, but a stylish and portentious one at that. The candles flicker, the offering flames burn, and the diviner hovers over everything like a vulture.
Truce by Secret_Tunnel
A wise man once said: “When two tribes go to war, one point is all that you can score.” That seems to be the thinking behind Truce. A vignette about distrust and old grudges. Against the backdrop of a fictional war you have to dig your way underneath the enemy in the middle of some peace talks and plant a bomb beneath their feet. But as the generals above keep talking, the plan begins to crumble. Is peace possible? I just don’t know. I wish Frankie Goes To Hollywood was here to tell us.
Death’s Life by Umbu Games
Trial and error murder simulator. You play death’s assistant and must arrange items around a room so that a chain reaction will occur, causing the room’s eventual occupant to die horrendously. Manipulate knives so they hang on the edge of a table, cause “accidental” chemical reactions in a laboratory, and rearrange a mechanic’s workshop into a deadly Rube Goldgerb machine. It’s like being the unseen antagonist of the Final Destination franchise, except none of these people deserve to die.