░░░░ That Man
░░ From Twitter
░Who Does This
Considering most of Barr’s ideas take hold within milliseconds and are gone just as quickly, it’s no surprise that the resultant games are rapidfire squiggles of code and colour, ready to be played, scrunched up and thrown inaccurately at the nearest wastepaper bin. But that’s the way we like it at Free Loaders. So here’s some of the best games from the jam.
Words Must Die by Paper Nerds
Interactive fiction for cowboys who only play FPS games. Roll into Open Grave, Arizona (or Body Heap, New Mexico) with your trusty revolver and get ready for a gunfight, because Nasty Jack’s whole crew is hiding out in this saloon. But you ain’t gon’ kill that Jack and his posse by shooting them in the body. No sir, you gotta shoot them boys in the words – hard. Passages of the story appear in the air and you have to shoot your decisions right out of the paragraph. Do you aim for crazy Eustace’s dynamite hand? Or do you go for his other hand? Are you going to shoot a happy face into the floor to celebrate your latest kill? Or will you illustrate a frowny face? No matter, here comes Nasty Jack hisself. He’s gonna try and talk to you. But you’re here to shoot words, not mince ‘em. If you’ve only got time to play one freebie this week, go for this one. It’s certainly the best western-themed FPSIF I can think of.
Chesstris by DrewFitz
I do not have the iTelephone necessary to play Really Bad Chess which makes me sad. So I will tide myself over with this. Loosely based on this particularly chaotic game idea of Barr’s, Chesstris tasks you with trying to keep the chess board as clear as possible – clear enough that another horizontal line of four random pieces can be squished onto the board. Once you pop down a ‘line’ the chess pieces attack, as they “normally would”, except all at once. It’s a massacre. It leads to a panic in which you try to balance both sides of the board, so that neither gets the edge and starts to wipe out the other pieces on landing. You can cycle through different random combinations but it costs five points to your score each time. I love a good chess variant me.
Listen To My Game Idea by Sean LeBlanc
Tiny Pico-8 elevator ride in which you play the elevator. Travel up and down, listening to terrible videogame ideas from people who sound like they should be locked up before someone with money actually listens to them. “It’s pretty much BioShock,” one says, “in the world of Call of Duty.” No. “It’s like Minecraft but with a bit of Space Invaders,” says another. No. You have to stop. You all have to stop.
Quadrupet by Lizzywanders & Ted Martens
This one is based on the idea: “You are a yet-to-be-generated procedural quadruped in someone else’s game. You wait.” It cycles through randomly-composed animals of differing colour and shape until you press the spacebar. Then it just chills out until you hit the spacebar again and the animal roulette starts again. This was the best animal I got. It has antlers. Still prefer it to anything in No Man’s Sky.
BOB&DOB by Shannon Mason, Diane de Wilde & Richard Lems
Meanwhile, the GameBoy jam we mentioned last week continues to vomit out monochromatic minigames. Here you are a squarefaced, smiling fisher sprite, floating along in a boat with your bezzie – a seal called Dob. Who needs bait when you have a seal? Throw Dob into the water with ‘F’ and swim around grabbing as many fish as your little flippers can handle. Reel him back in with ‘D’ and watch your cash go up, up, up. Earn enough money and summon the floating shop with ‘S’ where you can buy upgrades that let Dob dive deeper or hold more fish each time he goes under. You can buy new colour palettes too, for different GameBoy feels. Don’t buy the NYI palettes though. They are bugged, turning your whole screen dark. “Don’t worry the game hasn’t crashed,” say the creators. “All the colors have just turned black.”