As Alec pointed out this week, very excellently the Experimental Gameplay Project is back. And as Alec went on to point out, the first challenge is to create an "Unexperimental Shooter". Well, the first few are up. They are strange. This is no surprise.
A couple of highlights of what's appeared so far:
Completely failing to meet the remit of creating a take on a shmup, Kyle Gabler's creation manages to be something far more interesting and remarkable. It's a sort of evolution engine, not something you interact with (it was meant to involve some shooting, but that bit didn't pan out), but rather something you watch in crazed fascination. Creatures are born with rudimentary movement abilities. Any that reach the right of the screen become candidates for future breeding, those that reach the left are destroyed (as are any that don't get anywhere within a lifetime's time limit). The idea is for each generation to evolve such that those with the greatest potential for right-screen-reachening are most likely to pass on their genetics to the next generation. It's survival of the fittest displayed in a really clear way, that should probably be used in every biology classroom for the rest of time. My guys are currently in their 900-and-somethingth generation, and appear to now mostly have trunks for greater rightward dragging. I'm proud of them!
Created by Shalin Shodhan, EGP founder and one of the core team of engineers on Spore, it's possibly the most ludicrously pleasant take on the shmup ever made. You have to shoot rabbits with guns. Sounds less than pleasant, right? To make them increase in number. It's a bunny making game! Shooting them with one of four weapons is a novel take on a breeding programme, but it seems to work. The aim of the game is to have 1000 bunnies in your back yard, which can be achieved as quickly or as slowly as you wish, with no pressures to threaten you along the way. Which is rather nice, really. It's almost confusing, to have a game that's not screaming at you or trying to kill you.