Game of the day: Tiny Arcade, by Crawlspace

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One of the things games do best is the mundane — train rides, hikes, waiting for a guard to pass — and yet they rarely ever focus on it. Conventional design practically forbids a player to dwell on mundanity, shaking quest icons or glowing items wherever the eye falls.

I think this is one of the reasons I love Tiny Arcade so much. Situated in an ethereal arcade room where each machine represents one of Crawlspace’s newest game ideas, you are free to wander coin op to coin op and toy around…


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With the new year, I thought I’d just quickly post a list of my favorite games I played over the year. This isn’t meant to be a list of “the best” games — if anything, it’s a testament to the impossibly-many exciting, challenging, beautiful games being made each and every day. I played about 250 games this year — which is not a lot compared to many people (cough cough Jupiter Hadley), but was a lot for me — but many weeks (and a solid month-and-a-half) went by when I didn’t play a single game, returning to my itch.io …


Game of the day: Roulette Knight, by Four Quarters Team

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You’re a knight. Tall and proud in pixelated majesty, your mission: ride across the dark land and play the hell out of Russian roulette.

And that’s really the game. Load your bullet, spin your chamber, say a quick prayer and fire away. Successfully not shooting yourself in the head garners you experience points that can be spent on more health, mana, small powers (like healing or becoming invincible on your next trigger) and health regeneration whenever you fail to shoot yourself.

It’s a satisfying grind, although I would urge you…


Game of the day: Alien Garden 2.0, by milanimal

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I’m glad to see the influx of games that disregard the age-old (for games, anyway) wisdom of player control. With the likes of Mountain, mirror lake, and - to west, the concept of games-as-agency is beginning to be reclaimed in favor of looser, more inclusive boundaries for what makes for videogames. It isn’t that you play no role in Alien Garden 2.0. You amble about, tossing seeds over your small plot to sprout 8-bit explosions of variegated vegetables. But that’s it, really. …


Game of the day: Static, by ihavefivehat

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Duck and dodge the hellfire of unyielding squares in ihavefivehat’s latest game. Static sees players scrambling for their lives in a bleak, noised-out world. The second you come to, you’ll be ambushed by murder-eyed pink cubes that push wads of blue static at you as you writhe and flail about. It’s kill or be killed, and you’ve got nothing to your name but your gun and a trigger, a handy machine that wavers, well, unwaveringly between short range shotgun blasts and long range rapid fire. …


Game of the day: Sokobanana, by Tom Hermans

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Lithe as the best lo-fi puzzlers, Tom Hermans’ Sokobanana is a joy, tasking you to dart your way across pitfalls and banana peels to reach the checkered goal. With a well-paced difficulty curve and a commitment to just a few mechanics, Sokobanana’s levels never overwhelm. Instead, they focus on single ideas with scattered roadblocks to nudge you in creative ways. Short but sweet, it’s a game that could easily be confused with one of Stephen Lavelle’s smaller experiments. And that’s quite a feat.

You can play Sokobanana here.


Game of the day: three short nights in sin city, by Karen Kobezka

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I’ve been playing Karen Kobezka’s game for a few days now, opening and closing it, thinking it over, unfurling it once more just to close and then open it again to lodge under the stars of swaying voices. I’ve been thinking over how to write about it — I wanted to tell its story the way I experienced it, fading in and out of the murky clubs and then leaving, for home, and for people who know me.

And I wanted to talk about Kobezka’s breathtaking restraint…


Game of the day: The Tithe, by Borja Zoroza

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I never used to play horror games growing up. Content with the likes of Sly Cooper and Mario Kart, my gaming days were spent in brighter environs, carrying out charming tasks for charming people. I remember a friend of mine introducing me to Amnesia, and then a long night playing SCP: Containment Breach together, and–I wouldn’t exactly say that I was hooked, so much as intrigued (read: I’m a coward). It’s kind of where I’m at with the genre right now.

In any case, The Tithe is one of those gems…


Game of the Day: 10 Mississippi, by Karina Popp

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10 Mississippi is a game about routines. You progress through the rote mashing of keys, eking out days in flipping pictures. Popp describes the game as about “uncomfortable, creeping intimacy,” which I think is as good a summation as you can get: play and play again the muted mundanity of another life. Once the day is done, you’ll loop back over and start again.

The circling diversions of everyday add up to something that’s difficult to explain. Writing to an old friend, staring over subway tunnels, making food and reading Faulkner…


Game of the Day: TITONIC FISHERMAN, by Froach Club

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I’ve played many music-making games before and they never seem to grab me. Part of this is because I already play an instrument, and there never seems to be a good reason to keep playing a game instead of leaving to play the piano. So when I booted up TITONIC FISHERMAN I was expecting to be nonplussed. I figured I’d tinker around distractedly with its watercolor musicians for a moment before moving on to the next game. Its relentless metronome (which can be disabled) put me off immediately, no less, but…

Joey Schutz

Game designer/writer. If you’ve got a game you’d like me to play, shoot me an email at schutzj [at] kenyon [dot] edu.

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