While we all agree that Devil Daggers is the bestest best game of 2016, you might not even have heard of the year's second-bestest game. It's Digital Bird Playground, a local multiplayer sandbox made by Bernband creator Tom van den Boogaart, where birds ride bicycles and play with worms and chase frogs and play basketball with frogs and throw frogs into the pond and generally muck about. Tragically few people got to enter the Digital Bird Playground because it was only playable at a handful of events - until now.
I like Digital Bird Playground so much that my The Wild Rumpus pals and I picked it for our Mild Rumpus showcase at the 2016 Game Developers Conference. I have a vested interest in telling you our event was the best and had the best games (it did), so instead here's some of what dear Pip experienced when she played it there:
"There's a cry of 'Who put a frog in worm prison?' and then a little tussle as players try to throw frogs in faster then other players can remove them.
"But someone has wandered off to investigate a ball and is trying to boot it into a goal. The action sloshes towards the little pitch and all four players are clustered round the ball, trying to work out which side they're on and how to make the goal counter on that side tick up.
"But someone else has mounted their bike and now it's bike football. And now we're onto basketball. And now frog basketball. And now just following a frog around and then riding a bike into the water..."
My favourite part is probably still the wonky bell noises when a bird mounts a bicycle. My second-favourite part is that time Pip stopped me from slamming a hot net by throwing a frog at me.
Digital Bird Playground is now available through the Sokpop Collective's Patreon, where for $3 per month (that's $3.60 with tax in the UK - about £2.75) they give subscribers two new small games (or things). We've written about a number of those before, including the game-making tool Sok-Stories and the bases in the woods of Huts. While you don't get access to all their past Patreon games upon joining, £3 a month for at least two new surprises from these lovely lads is a bargain.
While Sokpop tend to sell their Patreon games separately later, they say Digital Bird Playground will only be available through Patreon and only this month. Get it while you can.