All right boys, its lights out. I know you’ve all had another tough day behind bars but thems the breaks when you’re a convicted felon. Back to the cells, come on. Hey Johnny what are doing with that huge explosive propane tank? No, stop. Stop what you’re doing Johnny. Please stop.
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Prison Brawl by KevKev
The prisoners have started to riot and they need to be put firmly in their place. Which is the cell at the back of the room. Run around after the jumpsuited felons and grab them by the scruff of whatever bit of clothing you can. Tumble across the floor with them, punch them to the ground, kick them, trip them up, grab hold of them and jump and then let go to launch them across the room. Do whatever it takes to catch ten of the rowdy cons as fast as possible. It’s hard. Just look at these uncooperative jerks.
Watch out for the barrels and gas canisters that drop into the prison at regular intervals, exploding and sending everyone in the room flying off in different directions. Also be careful when you finally do drag one of the prisoners kicking and screaming into the cell, because you have to quickly run out and close the door behind you and if you aren’t fast enough they’ll scramble to their feet and leg it back out to join the party, like a toddler that refuses to go to bed. Also try not to bash your own head against the door frame on your way out. You’ll never be a good prison guard with that kind of co-ordination.
All Your Time-Tossed Selves by Porpentine
Porpentine, interactive fiction sorceresses and one-time curator of this very column, has taken a short break from Twine to deliver one of her short stories via a slightly different medium – Google forms. This one is about a strange time loop that keeps its victims locked in the semi-friendly embrace of the narrator who is maybe, probably, certainly responsible for it all. After being treated to all the usual oddities and mysterious sentences we’ve come to expect from Porp’s tales, you also get to check your answers against those of others, which always gives me a weird satisfaction. “Oh look! I’m one of the 25% who chose this thing!” For example, at the beginning you are asked if the city is ‘burning’ or ‘freezing’ and, at the time of writing, the burners were beating the frosters 58% to 42%. Which I find scandalous. Get out there, frosters, and reclaim what’s ours.
You Are Robot Boy! By Clickhole
I don’t know what my policy is on including choose-your-own-adventure style games from a source like Clickhole. I suppose I’ll have to invent one. In the meantime, this is another one of their fun ‘clickventures’, in which you must make careful decisions and recall wisdom imparted to you by intelligent characters, such as your three dads and two mums. As Robot Boy, you grow up believing everything is normal and that you are an ordinary child with the requisite crushes on two girls from school. But you are also a robot, designed to save Japan from monsters. Do your duty with pride and try not to fall behind in class. Seek advice from popular actors and make sure you are ready for the school dance. Robot Boy, you are a popular figure of adoration and I respect you.
Friary Road by humble grove
Extra short talky-talk. Sit in the garden of a terraced neighbourhood with Ao and Bo following a barbecue that everyone has since left. Look at the stars and chat. This has more than a little flavour of Kentucky Route Zero – parched dialogue, play-like scenery, between-the-lines player responses. It’s a game from Fermijam, which has solicited games about the Fermi Paradox (ie. why are we all so lonely and where are the alien lovers we were promised?). Want more? Don’t worry, there’s more.
No Stars, Only Constellations by Robert Yang
Star-gazing with a partner, this time with tales of how the constellations got trapped up there in the first place. Of course, the player character is more interested in making dick jokes than peering up at the sky and trying to make shapes out of giant orbs of burning gas. And maybe that’s the reason this ends the way it does. I like the addition of a star map on the ground next to you, just in case you get really lost. But generally just scanning the sky will start to highlight things – be they constellation or dirty response to an earnest question.
Marlowe’s Path by Dylan Gallardo
This time you’re on a spaceship. It’s just you and your pilot. As navigator, you have to use the nav screen to chart a path across the stars (press spacebar to view it properly and again if you want to lean back). Having a high rate of pulsars tracked will let you see a map of sorts, and approaching a wormhole will send you flying through. All the time the pilot and your navigator will be bickering and getting petty with each other. One wants the ship steered to face away from the nearest star because the glare bounces off his screen. The other wants it angled toward the star because it’s cold and the light brings some warmth. Travel deeper and get inevitably lost as their relationship breaks down into squabbling. Can you make it to where you’re going? I didn’t.