It was Weave‘s stunning visuals that caught my eye when I first stumbled across it a few days ago. I was looking for something silly and dumb to play with on my phone and ended up finding the complete opposite. Weave obviously isn’t some mind-numbing game to cure boredom. It’s more like an interactive animation, with soothing music and a hypnotic visual that makes it the perfect candidate as a warm game.
Created by Nadav Tenenbaum, the game follows two characters as they go on parallel, abstract journeys. Both characters are dealing with a situation in their past that still haunts them, a situation that’s represented as various shapes the characters are forced to push or click through. However, the story stops there. The rest of the game is a structureless and relies on the player to come up with their own interpretation. Sure, some players might find that to be a bit of a cop out, but Weave is more about the experience, not preoccupying you on whether you “get it” or not.
As I said earlier, this game is more like an interactive animation. Similar to Journey, Weave is less about gameplay and more about the experience. Follow it, and you’ll be glad you did.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
Zoe Quinn’s much-acclaimed text game Depression Quest really spurred the rise of people using games to better understand mental disorders. Not Crazy, created by Eliot Mae, puts you in the shoes of a person with depression as they go about their week. You can either wake up or sleep in, take your meds or skip them, and focus in class or space out. However, sometimes your choices are limited. Try to force yourself to eat and you’re met with strong opposition from your animated self who insists they don’t want to. And trying to stay motivated in class still inevitably ends with you spacing out. But the game’s habit in keeping you away from making “right” choices illustrates its point on mental illness and how it can demotivate you into making bad decisions. Even if you successfully make it through the week, eating well and taking your meds, the game still ends on a cynical note. Quick and easy to play, Not Crazy accurately depicts the reality of mental disorders without any of the flash.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015||No Comments »|
As people gear up for the long weekend ahead, just remember: not everyone gets the day off. And for some people, the work never ends.
Welcome to Forever, an odd game about working the check out at a supermarket where scanning the items produces not the price but the message “and forever.” Objects are bulky and difficult to maneuver, but as your endless line of customers marches by, they become increasingly bizarre, going from giant jam jars to baseball bats to…Magritte’s not-a-pipe.
Forever is Art with a capital A, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the chief enjoyment of the game is derived from the increasingly strange things that come bumping their way down the conveyer belt. The customers are largely faceless and reactionless–throw something at them, a temptation many cashiers have no doubt struggled with, and the items simply reappear on the belt–but you find yourself wondering exactly why someone would buy this strange assortment of items and what they plan on doing.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Friday, May 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
Online bullying is a sensitive issue, so it seems only inevitable that someone attempt to recreate the experience through a short indie game. Designed to encourage empathy for victims, #Notifications walks you through a few days in the life of @meta_social, a self-described social justice mage who occasionally expresses “sometimes interesting” views.
Your first tweet–excuse me, Twiddle–is simple: An expressed hope that the next day be interesting. Engagement with other Twiddle members is low, with just a quick note that someone has favorited you the next day. But on day 2, as you sit on the bus, the game gives you some options on what to send out to your followers. A series of happy Twiddles complaining about the weather, getting ramped up over Daredevil…or a light criticism of attacks on women, black people, and other marginalized groups.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Thursday, May 21st, 2015||No Comments »|
If you’re the kind of person who craves realism in their video games, then look no further. My Garbage Cat Wakes Me Up At 3AM Every Day–no summary really needed–is the realest game that has ever or will ever be made. We’ve recommended a game that explores the pros of cat ownership, but everyone knows that cats have a dark side. A dark side that’s usually unleashed when you’re deep asleep and they’re hungry or lonely or just feel like throwing a temper tantrum.
In My Garbage Cat Wakes Me Up, you play as a small cat leaping all over the room. Knock things over to decrease your owner’s sleep meter and get him out of bed. When items hit the floor, they produce a loud crash that shave huge chunks of unconsciousness off. However, the game gives you the option to meow and knead your owner into wakefulness, a tactic that is less destructive but also incredibly, incredibly slow. If you want your owner up and moving, get destructive.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Wednesday, May 20th, 2015||No Comments »|
Nuclear weapons. DEFCON. ICBM puts you in the shoes of First Lieutenant Derek Evans, an officer who finds himself manning the desk and waiting for word from his superiors. With the push of a button he can launch missiles across the world and start utter devastation…
ICBM boasts ultra-realism (scholars of this time period might predict the ending), but the real-world darkness of the premise is tinged with a bizarre humor. Pop on your headphones and you can hear the sound of machinery or even tapping nails. Click around and be confronted with pop-ups telling you what things do and why you’re not allowed to touch them. And, no matter what, keep waiting for that phone call.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Tuesday, May 19th, 2015||2 Comments »|
The title and opening screen make it sound like a horror game, but to my surprise, Baba Please Don’t Eat Me is actually quite funny. A young boy approaches the mysterious and hungry Baba Yaga for reasons of his own. Impatient, she threatens to eat him unless he makes himself useful…so he does, plugging the router in, doing her taxes for her, etc. Yes, that’s right–Baba Yaga might be a frightening old witch out of legend, she might travel in a house on chicken legs, but the key word in that description is “old.” Baba Yaga is as baffled by technology as your grandmother, though unlike your relatives (I hope) she has no problems eating you for disrespecting her.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Friday, May 15th, 2015||No Comments »|