Nite Fite
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Nite Fite is a game that doesn’t need you

Playing videogames is overrated. This is, I’ll grant you, not a position that videogame writers tend to take. In varying measures, we are known to value continued employment, professional relevance, and the grudging tolerance of our readers. There are, however, pleasures to be gleaned from videogames even if you don’t play them. Damian Sommer’s Nite Fite, which was created for the most recent TOJam (Toronoto Game Jam), is a perfect test of this theory. The game, which has all the trappings of an early 8-bit videogame, plays itself. Four abstract characters start in their own corners and swirl weapons in progressively larger…

Grandmother
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Visit the latest haunted cities from the queen of horror games

Further cementing herself as an architecture goddess, Kitty Horrorshow has publicly released a collection of three games and a flash-fiction story called Haunted Cities. These were all projects originally made as exclusive rewards for those backing her on Patreon for $5 a month, the deal being that you get one of Horrorshow’s virtual worlds a month for the subscription—these four were released across November 2015 to February 2016. If you’re familiar with Horrorshow then your expectations for Haunted Cities shouldn’t be amiss. These are lo-fi videogames that prioritize looming architecture and eerie synth work over everything else. Rather than offering, say, puzzles…

Tectr
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Play a dating sim about hooking up with erotic architecture

It’s very likely that I fucked a building last night. Now, hold up, I don’t know if I did. We hooked up and then I’m not sure what happened. Unfortunately, the erotic architecture dating sim Tectr doesn’t go beyond depicting your conversation with hot local masonry on a Tinder-style app, and into the awkward realm of human-building coitus. That is an idea for a sequel, though… What this means is I told a horny panopticon that I would push my naked body against a dirty suburb window so it could watch, it then accepted, and I opened “Maps” to find the…

Paint Bug
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Paint Bug fills you with childlike joy as you create digital art

Even with the advent of adult coloring, it’s difficult to find an outlet that makes you feel like you’re creating unique art without actually having the talent to do so. Paint Bug, made in 72 hours for the Ludum Dare game jam, attempts to do just that. Paint Bug gives the player control over a series of sticker-like characters that they can draw across a canvas. Each sticker, from the water droplet to the moon, has a different effect on the canvas. Players then have the opportunity to save their works as the final piece or as a timelapse series that shows all of the frames…

Shapeshifter Biker
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Become a shapeshifting road warrior in a Mad Max-style game

Last weekend, Renaud Forestié released a game called Shapeshifter Biker, a free-wheeling road movie mixed with shapeshifting mechanics. Shapeshifter Biker has you drive around a desert map on the lookout for animal power-ups that give you the ability to temporarily shapeshift into a variety of different animals—flying eagles or sheltered turtles. However, you are constantly being chased by ducks in large black cars who will stop at nothing to defeat you. The game was created as a part of the latest Ludum Dare game jam, which gave participants 48 hours to create games under the theme “Shapeshift,” which was clearly at the core of Renaud’s…

windowframe
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A game idea hidden right in front of you

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. windowframe (PC) BY DANIEL LINSSEN You’re reading this inside a window. Practically every interaction with a piece of software takes place inside one. This has been the norm for computer use since around 1990, which is when Microsoft’s Windows 3.0 arrived and engulfed all other graphical interfaces. It’s reasonable to say, then, that having us reconsider the windows we peer into our computer files and the internet with every day isn’t an easy task. But, in only 48 hours, game designer Daniel Linssen has managed exactly…

Wood for the Trees
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Lose yourself in the looping puzzles of a beautiful low-res forest

The first paper note in Wood for the Trees asks: “don’t you just love reading notes on lamp posts?” Images and icons present in other first-person Unity games like Slender (2012) or Andrew Shouldice’s Hide are on display here too. The same note makes reference to “a missing beloved one” addressed by some of the internal monologue, also presented as text on the screen. Built in two days for the 35th Ludum Dare game jam (the theme of which was “Shapeshift”) Wood for the Trees is pervaded by the awareness that it isn’t a game of entirely new ideas—but it’s better…

SODZEN
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Find peace with Sodzen, a game about watering a plant

I kill nearly every plant I touch, and over the years, I’ve wasted so much money on every plant imaginable in the hopes of finding the one species that can withstand my black thumb. But only now, with Sodzen, have I finally found my perfect plant. Sodzen is a low resolution, highly pixelated game submitted for #LowRezJam by Ottawa-based team SweetHeart Squad, which includes Sean LeBlanc, Ryan Bluth, Emma Thurlow, Cat Wong, Michael Hetman, and Ian Martin. The goal of Sodzen is simple: water the plant. You don’t have to water several plants (there is only a single plant), or…

Post-Apocalyptic Abramovic Method Game
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In the post-apocalypse, there will still be performance art

Back in 2013, Lady Gaga quit smoking by employing the “Abramovic Method” during a three-day retreat in New York. It led to this extraordinary (and NSFW) video, in which Gaga is seen chanting into an empty room, stood blindfolded in a river to feel the rain drops against her skin, and getting intimate with a big block of ice while completely naked. The video achieved what it was supposed to: encouraging everyone who watched it and the public-at-large to question what this peculiar Method she went through was. The “Abramovic Method” is named after its creator, famed artist and self-proclaimed “grandmother…