Free Loaders: Through a VHS player, darkly

Watch this everyone, he’s going to scroll right past us. Oh sh– He’s looking right at us. Quick, arrange yourselves into some kind of sensible formation. We’re going to have to let him play some of you. I know, I know, but don’t panic, we can do this. We’ve done it before. Remember a few months ago when that girl stopped to look at the game with the frog? That was painless! We can do it, just tidy yourselves up, for heaven’s sake.

Ahem. Hi there! Boy have we got some great free games for you this week!

Spoiled Eggburt by David Motta and Aidan Stem

Horror game spoiled and observed and respoiled. Take control of a wee man trapped in the unsettling bedroom of a child. Drawings, CD players, creepy chairs with faces on the back. And two disembodied voices discussing everything your character does, critiquing your inability to see or do what you ought to. I can’t believe he doesn’t hide when the monster comes in, says one voice. What if he can’t run fast enough, asks the other. Listen to their words and adapt your behaviour, escaping the room, navigating the socks, the whole thing unravelling and rewinding and continuing on with VHS distortion, with unknown consequences.

Samurai Lantern by AdventureBit

Fast-footed samurai swording with a whip-quick restart. Collect all 15 lanterns to progress to the next level. Slash the tiny, sprightly enemies as they accumulate and hop around in a bid to frustrate your inner peace. It’s like a minimalised Super Crate Box, taking away the guns and the randomness and replacing it with a single reliable sword swipe. I found this tough as toffee to begin with, often dying before collecting three or four lanterns. But hit ‘Y’ on your controller (will you just use a controller, for heaven’s sake) and it restarts in an instant. You soon learn the need to keep the level “clean” of as many enemies as possible, while you go about collecting. The second level introduces buzzsaws. I have not completed the second level.

Coming Soon by Edward Yang, Edward Lu, Zuoming Shu & Matt Osowski

Public relations wizardry at its most terrible. As the most high-powered, most visceral, most verbose PR man in the videogames industry you are hired to give a presentation at E3 for an upcoming game called Angle of Incidence. Get on stage, without knowing exactly what to say, and wing it like a box of hot KFC. What has your game got? Skyboxes, of course. Enemies, levels, resolutions, strong female characters, everything the heart wants. Listen to the roar or boo of the crowd as they react to the combinations of rotten words you have at your disposal. Physics, I’ll tell you what, has this game got physics, you’ll say, as the stage curtain opens and the demo begins, forcing you to play a game of pong while simultaneously trying to come up good ways to describe this unholy garbage bag of interactivity. Go anywhere, you’ll say, do anything, the game offers endless replayability, why am I sweating so much?

Rat Shrine by Porpentine and Rooksfeather

A shrine that you can only visit “at certain times”. It was open at midnight the other day, and it seems to be open as I write. But I can’t be sure it’s really open. Like open open. You might have to ask the creators. Right now, for instance, I can read an inscription (for offerings it reads: “nothing that would do more good in someone’s belly or pocket” which is arguably a far more sensible sacrificial practice than those of, say, every major world religion). I can also look at the offering bowl and chill out by the fire and watch the flames and get lost in the flames and be awed by the flames and be swallowed by the flames the flames the flames the fla

Losing Control by Lisa Janssens and Stef Colruyt

Point and click about a blizzard of feelings. There are bad feelings, like despair and anger and loneliness. But what if bad feelings didn’t have to be bad? This is about that. You feel terrible and life is an uphill battle, but given some perspective you can also appreciate that negative emotions are there for a reason and if you can step back from the actual feeling of them for a hot second, you could see how they can even become helpful. The sentiment of this reminds me of my favourite Rumi poem, The Guest House, which sort of has the same message.

Dream Ghost by Ellen Cunningham

Short tale of loss and acceptance. I didn’t really know much about this going in, just that it involved making a sandwich. Obviously, that’s not what it is about. The real story is a little bit sci-fi, in the (softer episodes of) Black Mirror sense. And the subject matter is interesting but here it isn’t overstated or dived into. This doesn’t so much use a science fiction concept to have a wordy philosophical discussion – it’s happier to just put it there as a device to consider common feelings of mourning. I don’t know. Anyway.

Want more free games? Check out the Best of Free Loaders collection or check our recently updated list of the 50 best free games on PC. Got a free game yourself? Give it to @Brendy_C or fall deeper into your pit of despondency

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5 Comments

  1. G_Man_007 says:

    Am I the only one thinking Salad Fingers has changed his look just a smidge?

  2. dethtoll says:

    Spoiled Eggbert was fun in an early 00s kind of way.

  3. Neoviper says:

    I for some reason want to get the best ending in coming soon, but I can’t figure out what these people want to hear. they absolutely love strong female characters with user generated content, but other than that I can’t elicit more than tentative applause.

    • Shazbut says:

      I think I got it with “Who are we?”, “insignificant particles”, “strong female characters”, “user-generated content”, “physics”, “Kojima”, “going anywhere”, “immerse”…I forget the rest. He still sweats like hell though. Also don’t lose at Pong

  4. cpt_freakout says:

    Great selection! The concept behind Spoiled Eggbert is very fun, but in practice it sometimes verges on the annoying because you gotta wait for the commentators to tell you what to do.

    Oh, and thanks for sharing that poem!