Game Jolt held a Glitch Jam throughout June that challenged participants to deliberately use “glitches as an integral part of gameplay”, or to otherwise embrace the glitch aesthetic.
It ended yesterday and so all of the games should have been submitted by now. That just leaves the week-long voting stage. So if you want to check them out and vote on your favorites, head on over to Game Jolt with an open mind.
To give you a starting point, below are four games made for Glitch Jam that I’ve enjoyed. They’re my favorites so far and, incidentally, they all happen to be first-person exploration games. Click on the titles of each game to go to its download page. Remember, there are plenty more on the Glitch Jam games page.
This feels like a lost videogame from an experimental phase when 3D was the next big thing. You wander aimlessly through an exotic alien sanctuary looking for those portals that aren’t illusions designed to fool you. Your telescopic view of the rugged textures pushes them against your eyes.
Agitated sprites turn to face you and garish, flashing pillars of fluorescent color pierce the game-world’s red sky. Exploration is equal part wide-open spaces and claustrophobic winding mazes.
You feel lost, that you’re going around in circles, seeing the same sights through a different kaleidoscope. And then, just as you’ve settled into a rhythm, you’re suddenly assaulted in a maze and everything shifts to a grey palette. The ending has shades of Space Funeral but inverted and without a finite explanation.
If Aphex Twin ever made a videogame this would be it. Every time you collect one of the fizzing cubes your jump height increases. But it also causes the screen to distort and break, matching the snare rushes and fidgeting menace of the music.
Peering through the glitchy mess that’s left of your view, you attempt to jump up spinning cubes, soaring above the religious totems that populate the ground below. It’s as if you’re trapped inside a music video directed by Chris Cunningham that steadily degenerates. Note that a seizure warning comes with this one and it’s highly necessary.
Perhaps the worst vacation you’ll ever have. Imagine trying to find tourist information around a flat favela populated by demonic cows that try to eat you. Your best bet is to jump between the rooftops, scanning for gaps in the formations below, and diving inside to catch a glimpse of a terminal.
Failing that, you could accept the futility of trying and look up at the grainy turquoise and violet clouds writhing across the sky. But they won’t let you forget—the hungry populace below let out haunting moans that beseech you to end their agony.
Why do those things always arrive at the worst possible time? Detuned is unsettling throughout. You edge your way up a grey chasm using the mouse wheel to ‘tune’ faulty platforms to a stable state.
The audio suggests a sinister caveat with gloomy hums and spidery ripples. It’s not for nothing, either; the ending is designed to send you reeling in panic.
Remember to check out all of the Glitch Jam games over on Game Jolt.