Oddball IGF Winner Tetrageddon Games Released

ARMAGAD (also Tetrageddon Games) [official site], an updated collection of IGF Nuovo Award-winning oddities from Nathalie Lawhead, is now out. It contains games such as Froggy, sure, but Tetrageddon is… so much bigger and weirder. Loading Tetrageddon launches you into a fake desktop, an interface filled with hidden games, desktop companions, animations, chatbots, flirtbots, and… stuff. After a fair bit of fiddling and playing, I suspect I’ve still not seen half of what’s in there. It is playful and delightful – and briefly pay-what-you-want.

ARMAGAD (also Tetrageddon Games) is available for Windows and Mac from Game Jolt. It’ll normally cost $6.66, but right now is pay-what-you-want. No, there’s no minimum price, you cheeky monkey. The old free version is still online, but it has less stuff and Lawhead may take it down so she can, y’know, sell this to fund her work.

I don’t want to say too much, because being surprised by Tetrageddon is a whole heap of fun. It has games. It has computer friends. It has jokes. It has mysteries. It has public service broadcasts. It has puzzles. It has secrets. It maybe even has a central story? And it’s all tied up in a wonderful weird package.

Lawhead recently wrote about her uncertainty over releasing Tetrageddon on Steam, a store not overly friendly to the unconventional, and the stresses that might bring into her life. So hey, it’s out on Game Jolt’s newly-launched store. She explains:

“I feel like both itch and GameJolt have given ‘weird games’ enough of a place to grow as a legitimate thing… Also as a ‘safe space’ where you are less likely to be attacked by angry people, because players there generally understand these games (maybe this has become too important to me, but whatever).

“I remember a long time ago posting things on places like Kongregate and New Grounds (out of desire to be part of a community). My stuff was too weird, people got angry, no one ‘got it’, I left. It’s interesting looking back because I don’t think ‘weird’ was really part of game vocabulary then. It seems more like a recent thing that games are allowed to be more than just games.”

Which is great. I’m sad I have less time to poke around Game Jolt and Itch lately, as they are places where hugely exciting and fascinating games appear with very little fanfare.

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  1. thecatamites says:

    If you want "weird games" to be better known that's more a reason to support places like itch.io than not. There are already small developers turned off Steam for a variety of reasons (the arbitrary price threshold for Greenlight, the sudden changes in policy implemented without notice, the awful community, the far steeper cut of sales they take compared to the other two stores, things like the two-hour refund window and lack of "discoverability" which, to be sure, are overstated as issues but reinforce the sense that the Steam store is basically unwilling or incapable of extending real support to anything that departs too far from a pretty conservative game format, and will not hesitate to throw smaller games under the bus for the sake of making it even a little bit easier to buy the large commercial games they have always prioritized). A world where everyone is on Steam is a world where a lot of people still aren't on Steam, because they might be making games outside that format or to a smaller and more defined audience which requires less of a storefront cut to be profitable or can't afford to drop an upfront $95 on entering the Greenlight Roulette or who are making something that will get them harassed by dopes, and what will happen is that these people - who are frequently the same ones as those making "weird games" - will get pushed further to the margins. And frankly I think if the continuing health or at least continuing undead persistence of videogame culture means expecting the smallest developers to take the most shit for the sake of a united front, then it's barely worth having "a sad day" for in the first place.
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    alison says:

    This is really unfortunate. I am a huge fan of “weird games”, but i am also very lazy and a creature of habit. Buying or downloading games outside of Steam is one of those things i always plan to do someday but never get around to actually doing. I respect the decision of creators who choose not to publish on Steam, but a consequence is that people like me will probably only ever get to experience their work indirectly through RPS articles. And people completely ignorant of the indie scene will never be exposed to it at all. I think it will be a sad day for PC gaming if indie developers as a bloc choose to only publish in “safe spaces” to avoid harassment. It’s already a sad indictment of gamers that developers have to be worried about attacks in the first place. Ugh.

    • Guy Montag says:

      The first ‘not a steam key reseller’ store I tried to get into was Desura. I’m a long time ModDB user, so I was excited when IndieDB and Desura dropped. Of course, Desura turned out to be a raging trashfire, both for users and devs, and quite effectively turned me off to shopping outside of Steam.

      But it’s already pretty clear that there are lines forming between storefronts and the experience one expects when visiting. Personal opinion here, but I think Greenlight killed indie on Steam before it could take off, blurring the line between low-budget cash grabs, troll games, and actual indie developments. This has somewhat caused ‘of a certain age’ consumers to view them all as one and the same. That’s not to say smaller projects haven’t had a growing presence on Steam since the introduction of Greenlight, but I’d chalk that up to just natural growth of the Steam platform. Meanwhile, devs burned by the aftermath of Greenlight turned to greenlighter pastures.

      And I think at least itch.io is a pretty neat site. Since I saw mention of their in-development game launcher on RPS a couple of months ago, I’ve been much more active there, and the ways in which it sets itself apart from Steam are, I think, boons to the dev and user communities. So… thanks, Steam Greenlight.

    • thecatamites says:

      If you want “weird games” to be better known that’s more a reason to support places like itch.io than not. There are already small developers turned off Steam for a variety of reasons (the arbitrary price threshold for Greenlight, the sudden changes in policy implemented without notice, the awful community, the far steeper cut of sales they take compared to the other two stores, things like the two-hour refund window and lack of “discoverability” which, to be sure, are overstated as issues but reinforce the sense that the Steam store is basically unwilling or incapable of extending real support to anything that departs too far from a pretty conservative game format, and will not hesitate to throw smaller games under the bus for the sake of making it even a little bit easier to buy the large commercial games they have always prioritized). A world where everyone is on Steam is a world where a lot of people still aren’t on Steam, because they might be making games outside that format or to a smaller and more defined audience which requires less of a storefront cut to be profitable or can’t afford to drop an upfront $95 on entering the Greenlight Roulette or who are making something that will get them harassed by dopes, and what will happen is that these people – who are frequently the same ones as those making “weird games” – will get pushed further to the margins. And frankly I think if the continuing health or at least continuing undead persistence of videogame culture means expecting the smallest developers to take the most shit for the sake of a united front, then it’s barely worth having “a sad day” for in the first place.

      • thecatamites says:

        Don’t Talk To Me Before I’ve Had My (larger case balloon font) COFFEE!

  2. sege says:

    Without thinking about it too hard, I think I agree with you there on Greenlight. It has always come in for a bit of a slagging, but my thoughts were that as a consumer it seemed garbage, so I just ignored it completely. It hasn’t occurred to me until reading your post that because of that I ignore all indie games on steam. I wonder if Greenlight is purposely crap so that Valve can claim that they’re doing their bit to support indie devs without really putting any effort into it?
    Valve don’t want to be curators but they managed to grow steam to a near monopoly for digital distribution, and with that huge success should come a large dollop of responsibility to the industry, including indie devs.
    Also I gree its very sad that someone would choose to ignore distributing through steam because of the potential for backlash, but that is a symptom of the times we live in with cyberbullying etc.

  3. Beefenstein says:

    Thanks for writing about this, it’s great.

  4. Matzerath says:


    That IS sad, because drawing attention to these games really helps them out. It also brings out the strange people that are dying to publicly describe their buying habits in comment threads, but that seems to be an unavoidable side-effect. It’s certainly more entertaining than chasing the heels of Dark Souls 3 all the livelong day.

    • Guy Montag says:

      The quoted blog post (and therefore article) was at least partially about differences between storefronts, and people discussed that in the comments. Yep, sounds strange.