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Friday, February 11, 2011

Freaky, Weird Games

I'm not talking about scary games. No. I'm talking about unsettling, disturbing video game experiences. These are creations that exist in their own alien worlds with their own backwards rules. There's no back-story. No introduction in an instruction booklet. It's all self-contained. You're stepping into the unknown and nobody is there to hold your hand.

I'm not really talking about a genre here. It's more of an environment that follows it's own logic, even if that logic makes no sense on the surface; sort of like Sheep and Wolves, although a video game is a much better medium for this sort of experience.

The first game is called All of Our Friends Are Dead.

All of Our Friends Are Dead is a black, white and red platformer with freaky noises. Any explanation beyond that would just be speculation. I believe the readme file is pretty important since you need to know which button you need to save the game. One hit means death and the interface is nil (Yeah, I know. It feels like Amon didn't bother to finish developing the game's interface. Just consider it a special challenge).

Download here. This game is a strange trip and I've read a lot of speculation on secret areas and stuff in the game. Once you see the environment you'll understand how it all feels like one big hint at something else. That's always a great feeling to have in a game: that you're only skimming the surface of a much deeper abyss.

Played it?
Yeah, I know. It's really short and there's not a lot of meat besides the environment. Let's dig into another freaky game, but this time with some very rewarding gameplay.

suteF (Fetus) is some god-forsaken combination of Lolo, peyote and one of the better episodes of The Twilight Zone. This game is slightly longer than the last, depending on how good you are at puzzles, but saying anything more than that will spoil the greatest strength of suteF, which is how it drops you into the unknown and fucks with you at every step of your journey. The game is very polished, the puzzles are devious. Just as a game, it's excellent, but there's a lot more to appreciate here. When (if) you beat it, you get that really satisfying I'm the fucking man feeling. It's a mean game.

There's also a computer bear.

Both of these games were made in Game Maker, by the way. I don't know why anyone would care about that, though. I'm the only person I know who ever purchased Game Maker.

Download here. Supposedly, this game does have secret areas, but I never found any.

If you've never heard of these last two games there's still a good chance you've heard of Limbo. Aside from being a million times more polished than your average downloadable title, Limbo is another game that drops you into a nightmare without a word of explanation. The controls are really, really polished, but there are a few (more than a few) puzzles that need you to either die once and see the solution or just get really lucky. Solving a puzzle on the first go is extremely satisfying and I wish there was more of that in Limbo.

And I wish I could offer a download link, but it's XBLA only.

And just a side note. Sheep and Wolves is the most disturbing collection of fiction I've ever read in my life. On a scale of 1 to Human Centipede it's probably an 8. Maybe a 9 if I had the balls to go back and re-read it.

1 comment:

  1. It's too bad you don't have an IGDA meeting in your area. We have a GameMaker User's Group (GMUG) just within our local chapter. It's pretty popular, or at least it was before this Unity fad started.