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Live Free, Play Hard: The Week's Finest Free Indie Games


THIS WEEK: Anne Hathaway’s erotic mouthscape. Arkham Horror crossed with Sailor Moon. The Yellow Wallpaper 3D. PROFANE BEAST SOLDIER.

Looking for more free games? Check out our round up of the best free PC games that you can download and play right now.

Reveal by Marie Lazar, Mike Prinke, Tim Liedel, Patrick O’Malley

Reveal feels like a spin on The Yellow Wallpaper with body image themes, a concept realized with absolute purity of design. One room, no exits. Just you and the wallpaper and the magazines.

I've always loved things like Cube, Haze, Silent Hill, anything where the architecture is suspended within the darkness of your uncertain thoughts. The constant question, what's outside? But in contrast to everything I've mentioned, Reveal manages to surprise yet make perfect sense. Take the time (like a minute) to experience this beautiful claustrophobia.



Press [X] To Give Up by Anders Børup, Bram Michielsen, Henrike Lode, Jonas Maaløe, Jonatan Van Hove, Mads Johansen, Thomas Ryder

Matador glitch arena. Do you surrender to the short lived pleasure of hitting X, or do you fight the bull? Do you give in to digital erosion or keep fighting, keep raising your sword to stab at just the right moment?

The game doesn’t end if you get gored. It has a much more interesting way of describing your defeat--disintegrating the game itself, not your character.

The audio is fantastic, from the tragic high voice just before piercing the bull to the melodramatic lurching horn of the bull’s horrifying reaction, and all throughout, the screaming distortion of glitchiness waiting to burst out of everything.



Nineteen by Elizabeth Sampat

After I heard about Aaron Swartz on Sat., I made a Twine game about when I tried to kill myself. It was 19 years ago.

I saw cartoonist Mia Schwartz say “making twine games as self-care” on Twitter and yeah, making a little Twine game can be therapeutic. A knitting of concepts and feelings.

I’ve seen backlash against Twine lately (which feels linked in a way to the recent discussion over "confessional" writing): the idea that people are being gratuitously personal as an easy way of circumventing criticism or achieving renown or whatever.

From what I’ve seen, writers of personal games are making them as healing and conversation. From what I've seen, they don't care about anything but making games and sharing with friends. I don’t think an exploitative model (pernicious relic of AAA gaming's obsession with monetization) applies to Twine. These are creators who don't care about money or high art or definition and that is scary to some.

For the first time in a long time people can make whatever they want, whether it's with Twine or any of the other free makers out there. Some make personal games, some make games more complicated than most mainstream games, a lot of people make both. Make games or don't. Play them or don't.

Fiction didn't die when humans started publishing themselves on blogs. Film didn't die with the advent of YouTube. We live in a world full of coercive things, but Twine isn't one of them. It's just another canvas.

Nineteen ends with some powerful lines and an act of even more powerful praxis, the kind of direct action that has always helped me more than anything else.



Anne Hathaway's Erotic Mouthscape by Lillian Behrendt

Ever wanted to read a sexy story about being inside Anne Hathaway’s mouth? You’re in luck! This is a sexy story about being inside Anne Hathaway’s mouth!

A toothsome, mouth-watering tale of erotic brilliance, framed in luscious ASCII and glowing stylings.


A Trip to the Clinic by Wojit

A Trip to the Clinic is a satire on gatekeeping, which, in this context, is when doctors deny or control access to medical resources for bad reasons. A broken arm is something you can see, something that usually gets privileged over equally valid problems that aren’t immediately visible or haven’t acquired widespread recognition (like certain chronic pain disorders or gender transition, for example).

It is better to let others speak.

NHS Psych told me I wanted to transition to male cos Iwas too ugly to live as a woman. Also told me I’d never pass as male

Insistence on genital exam before chest xray for chest pain

had it supposed that I wasn’t really trans because I played D&D and Jess was apparently just a new character for me

in the 1990s, the UK’s largest gender clinic would insist you divorced prior to treatment.








Simmons by Ashton Raze

Simmons is a bad man.

Simmons is horror hypertext, a riveting short story full of inarticulable dread. Sometimes your choices are wrong. Simmons will correct you. Simmons plays with player agency in a character building way.

Simmons seems like a masculine power fantasy at the outset but becomes something much more vulnerable and real. I felt like this was talking about abuse. The idea that the real monster is just how you feel about yourself, not anything you did, strikes me hard.



BUBBLEGUM SLAUGHTER by merritt kopas

What happens when you cross Arkham Horror with Sailor Moon?

You get this CYOA-boardgame hybrid about a magical girl running around closing portals to save the earth from demonic invasion. Fight monsters, forge armor, explore locations, but remember, each action takes time, and when midnight hits, all is lost.

BUBBLEGUM SLAUGHTER's writing glistens with an innocence so immaculately described it verges into eroticism--sailor scout puberty in the face of apocalypse. The story is tautened by the tension of gathering crystals to gain power vs. shutting down the last portal before the clock runs out, a good example of using resource management to strengthen a narrative.

We're seeing increasing amounts of systems-based Twines--as much as they get stereotyped as personal little games, there’s a lot of mechanical experimentation going on. I’ve seen minimaps, real time text adventures, integrations of Unity and Twine, roguelike ASCII maps, just to name a handful of cool shit. What began as a simple text game maker is turning into an experimental vat, and a lot of the stuff crawling out looks great.

BUBBLEGUM SLAUGHTER takes a strategic interface (build, explore, fight) and artfully balances it with narrative. Five eldritch endings to this cutest of cosmic horrors.

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