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Live Free Play Hard: Angels Ate My Brain

slow, clunky assassins

When we lose one of our senses, Nature compensates by giving us a huge fucking axe. What to expect when you’re expecting hive spiders. Angels of mons pubis.

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What To Expect When You’re Expecting Hive Spiders by TheJH

The only guide you need to get through your upcoming hive spider eruption. This is a difficult time, but we’re here for you. You don’t have to erupt alone.


Serial Sniper by agrdev

Each time you kill someone, you’re given another target, designated by color, hat/no hat, and height. Of course, the endless series of targets for your sniping pleasure chillingly suggests you’re slaughtering the inhabitants of an entire park just for practice. It’s okay, they’re just cube people.


Guru by Brendon Chung

A headless dwarf is standing in a pool of water. Surrounding the dwarf are slow, clunky assassins with huge axes. Welcome to videogames.

Asymmetrical multiplayer game where one player is blind and has to fend off their assailants by sound alone. Footsteps sound differently on water or grass, and are muffled if they're coming at you from behind.

I haven’t played it because it requires LAN, but I like the idea and it’s from the guy who made Gravity Bone/30 Flights of Loving.


Plumber Pickle by Pastel Games

A plumber shows up to an apartment to fix a leak, and just like in the Mario of myth, the pipes go deeper than you could imagine. The door is busted, there’s a hole in the wall leading to god knows where, and I’m going to need to combine so many objects to get out of this mess, because this is a point and click adventure.


Service Senpai – Sakura State’s Summer Semester by Nintondo Man and Regyptian

The controls are horrible. You will have so much trouble playing tennis.

The only way I play this game is, I try to escape by running to the river. But always I get teleported back to my prison, the court (how appropriate a term for this place where I cannot escape judgment), where I must serve and receive these vile tennis balls all day, for there is no night in this eternal tennis prison.

The music is the best part of this game--remixed Pilotwings samples. I think I'm mainly posting it because of the music?

Escape by Seonghyeon Jang, GyoungGeun Jung, Paul Jung, Jongwah Kim, Kay Kim, Sinhyub Kim, Sungho Kim, Demonique, Max Richter

"‘Escape’ is about the brave people who tried to defect from North Korea while risking their lives. (Refugee = Deception + Ports) Many of them spend up to a month in a container box with many other stowaways without any facility such as lamp or toilet...This game is dedicated to our friend, J.P. who was one of the lucky survivors."

You and the other children are crammed in a dark, grimy hold on a ship smuggling you over the Yellow Sea. One of the guards will feed you if you play his sadistic game--he knocks out a pattern on the metal door, and you try to respond to that pattern (by clicking the central circle at the moment the moving radial circles touch it--a rhythm game). Succeed and he'll toss you a few potatoes.

This mechanic makes just as much sense as anything else in your escape from hell. The guard on this boat and the dictator back in North Korea are not so different--people with power making up arbitrary rules. You follow the rules or starve to death.

The most successful part of this is probably the loud metallic nerve-jangling sound of fucking up a knock. Your quiet rhythmic raps turn to CLANG CLANG CLANG and outside are soldiers who want to shoot you.


Composition 62 by Nuprahtor

Walking through trenches high as canyons, dirt crunching underfoot, gun held in front of me, always.

One of Nuprahtor’s last games, welcome to the forest, touched on WWI style warfare--staggering through crimson haze, lost in a wilderness of fortifications and gunfire. Composition 62's palette is cool by contrast, blues and greys instead of reds, and it demands a similar coolness of thought.

Nuprahtor made a game that will be easy to dismiss with "Is that it?". And that’s a brave thing for an artist--to present this thing without explanation or direction.

If art is a collaboration with the audience, Nuprahtor trusts that collaboration more than most. Composition 62 is a remarkably understated piece of game design. I found it very beautiful. It made me think of this piece by Beksinski.


Composition 62 has the perfect sound for the sky.

If we’re in videogame mode, we might look up for a second, parse the sky briefly, and then look back down. Only when you occupy the role of a soldier crawling through a dirty, smoking, endless trench does the significance of the sky, with all its freedom and purity and light, make sense. Because it takes a beat or two before the sound softly flows in.

And I crane my head up high because it’s the only pretty thing in this whole fucked up world.

The filth of the trench melts from my body and I am lost in the light.

Then the gunshot rings out.

I’m dead.

Another human did it to me, because like many of Nuprahtor’s recent games, Composition 62 is quietly multiplayer, and everyone who plays the game can see everyone else. Together we unwittingly created the perfect image: A weary soldier staring at the sky, lost in rapture, when a shot rings out, and that precious song snaps out of existence, and there’s only the dirt and death and corpses and flies.

Nuprahtor designed a system that cultivates a single sublime moment--a moment that can only be enhanced by interruption, religious hallucination brought to its full and tragic apotheosis.

This is an Angels of Mons moment simulator.

Of course, the very act of talking so much about that ephemeral feeling runs the risk of crushing the subject. Experiencing something after it's been put on a pedestal is different from coming across a Tumblr post with two notes and zero expectations, like I did.

So no, there is no pedestal, my recommendations aren't intended as hype. A lot of the time it’s more like quietly sitting together on the grass watching the sunset and nudging your shoulder being like, hey, look at those birds, or, isn’t that a nice cloud? See them flying across the trees? Or how that cloud catches the evening light? And if you don’t, that’s okay. Emotional ephemera.

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