Monday, April 06, 2009

Unusual games at GDC 2009

Two very interesting events at GDC were IGF (Independent Games Festival) and experimental gameplay workshop. I immensely enjoyed people presenting new creative ideas, prototypes and finished games, and I wrote down the names of the games that caught my eye into my little black notebook. So today I want to share the list with you, my dear readers. But I have to start with three disclaimers.

1. This by no means is a comprehensive list of all interesting or unusual games presented at GDC. It is not even a complete list of the games I liked! And I want to say, that I admire everybody who had imagination to invent new games, willpower to make them, and guts to present them at GDC.
2. Some of the games are not completed yet, and exist only as prototypes.
3. Some of the things I am going to mention are not games. They are "game-like creations". Be prepared – here be some weird stuff.

Complete Games.

  • "Dyson". According to the game’s site the game is "an ambient real-time strategy with abstract visuals". The game is about controlling self-replicationg machines to take over asteroids. The game looks strange and interesting!

  • "Musaic Box". Created by a Russian team, this game won an "Excellence in design" award at IGF! Congratulations, guys! It was cool to hear "Spasibo" from the stage! The game is being sold now by Big Fish Games.

  • "Closure". This is an in-browser flash game, built around an idea, that if you can’t see something (because it’s too dark), then it doesn’t exist. Try it!

  • "Rom Check Fail". I’ve seen this hilarious game some time ago, but I will happily share it again. If you’ve ever played some old arcade classics, such as "Pac-Man" or "Frogger", then you must play this delightful parody!

  • "Storyteller" and "I wish I were the Moon". These are not games – more like a study in alternative storytelling. They are short and very unusual. Give them a try – they are in-browser.

Ideas, prototypes etc.

  • "Blueberry Garden". Beautiful and strange graphics make this game a piece of art. I didn’t get an opportunity to play it myself, but I watched other people playing, and they seem to like it.

  • "Feist" seems to be some sort of platformer – but I just love the art!

  • "Machinarium". From the creators of "Samorost" and "Samorost 2". Again, look at the art!

  • "The Unfinished Swan". This is a first – person exploration game, which takes place in a totally white world. The player runs with a (probably) paintball gun, which shoots balls of black paint, so the player can see some parts of the world. It’s hard to explain – check out the trailer.

  • "Miegakure". Unfortunately, the game’s site has only one paragraph about it, but I just had to mention it – a game which happens in a 4D world, which can be somehow manipulated in 3D…

  • "Achron". The site defines it as "meta-time strategy game", which means RTS with time travel enabled. By “enabled” I mean all interesting possibilities which arise from a capability to change future by changing the past. Weird – but I do want to play it!