Indie game news, reviews, previews and everything else concerning indie game development.

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5 Buttons Good: Experimental Gameplay Project Announces Contest Finalists

You may have already seen Monday’s announcement of the forty-eight submissions received by the Experimental Gameplay Project in response to their recent competition. The task, set back in December, was to design a game to be played in its entirety using only five buttons – no more, no less. Well, results have followed and thirteen lucky finalists are now guaranteed to have their games played through – and judged – at the imminent Stattmedia Game Contest at the Stattbad Gallery in Berlin on 17th February. Ten more runners up have also been given the honor on the condition that they make minor changes to fit in with the contest criteria.


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Minina Time

minima-time-day-5Graduate Games‘ new Flash platformer, Minina Time, was written in five days for March’s Experimental Gameplay Project. March’s theme was 10 seconds, which becomes the basic question of survival in Minima Time. Players are greeted with the announcement that they have10 seconds before they die — although you can extend your time with special items which stop or slow down the death count – so players have to make the most of those few seconds!

Flash platform games are hardly a new genre, but the interesting shift here is from an indefinite amount of time that the player ends by making a mistake, mistiming a jump, or otherwise failing to complete the games’ objectives, into an incredibly short lifespan, making thirty seconds of survival feel like a massive accomplishment and not the glaring failure it would be in another WASD platformer.

Developer Mike Gnade says that he was struck by March’s challenge asking developers what they could bring to the player in just ten seconds, which immediately brought to mind speed rounds for platform games. Gnade claims he twisted “EGP’s challenge of creating something interesting in 10 seconds, and instead said to the player, here’s 10 seconds, see what you can do with it.  There’s a finite time and a finite number of power-ups so it’s inevitable that everyone explodes into a bloody mess – the question is how the player can make the most of it. “

Right now, the highest scoring players have managed to turn their allotted ten seconds of life into twenty minutes or more of playing time. (The Grad Games blog warns that some of the portal sites are reporting occasional issues with the high score list, but I didn’t encounter any problems.)  You can check out this free flash game now on Graduate Games and also on various Flash game portals.


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Next Up on the Experimental Gameplay Project: Rejection

Rejection The Experimental Gameplay Project’s January theme, 100 Things, ended with 17 entries that put 100 things on the screen at the same time. I think the most interesting of the entries is Envy, a game that plays with the idea that people can only maintain 150 social connections by asking you to maintain relationships with 100 people.

February continues things with a theme appropriate for the month of love. The month’s project is rejection, which could provide some small comfort to those spending Valentines Day unwillingly alone. At least they’ll have a bunch of games to look forward to at the end of the month.

[via Experimental Gameplay Project]


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A Different Feather: Beluah & The Hundred Birds [Browser]

Hundred_BirdsIf you’re looking for a nice little escape from the early week funk check out Jake Elliot’s browser based platformer Beluah & The Hundred Birds. Just you, some arrow keys and the birds. Use your big bird to gather all the little ones, find keys, unlock doors, all the good stuff you’ve been looking for.

The title was designed as an entry in the 100 Things friendly game competition organized by the Experimental Gameplay Project. The full source code for the game along with its music can can be had from bitbucket, in case you wish to express more interest than just a play-through.

A nice relaxing web game instead of whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing on Monday morning? Don’t mind if you do.


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Sunshine: Kyle Gabler’s Art Game

SunshineKyle Gabler’s created Sunshine for the Experimental Gameplay Project’s art game theme, which wrapped recently. The game came a few days too late to be a submission for the challenge, but I guess that’s OK when you’re a founding member.

Sunshine is a stylish and addictive PC game. You guide a tree as it grows ever higher, looping the tree around branches tiny falling people while avoiding the falling rocks. Each person trapped in your loop becomes a flower and restores some of the tree’s energy. The more people caught in one loop, the better the energy payoff. Rocks break branches and drain energy, but if you loop a branch around nothing you create a bubble that can capture rocks and lift them out of your way. Just be careful; the bubbles will absorb people too.

Here’s Gabler’s description of the game.

Oh no! It’s raining, and people are falling out of the sky, but that’s not going to ruin your day. You are a little plant, determined to make your own sunshine. As you grow, make loops around falling people to sprout them into Flowers. Flowers give you more energy, so you can grow taller. Watch out for falling rocks.

[via Experimental Gameplay]


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Hey, Look, It’s an Art Game: Every Day the Same Dream

Every Day the Same Dream Paolo Pedercini put together Every Day the Same Dream for the Experimental Gameplay Project‘s Art Game theme. You play an office drone going to work. Or not going to work. Or going to work without a tie. Like a cynical version of Passage, Every Day the Same Dream packs a lot of emotional weight into a short package.

It’s easy to say the game is about suburban alienation — which is probably because that’s what Pedercini, who founded molleindustria, says that the game is about — but I think there’s more to it than that. It’s about finding meaning in life, even when much of your time is taken up with the same thing day after day. Of course, this makes it a pretty good entry for Art Game, because people can read different things into it.

Pedercini also made music for the game but apparently didn’t like it, because the music included in the final game is by Jesse Stiles. I don’t know who that is, but it fits pretty well. Play it here.

[via Experimental Gameplay Project]