Not your typical games.
January 1, 2011 8:59 AM   Subscribe


 
Excellent list. I'll have to check these out.

I regret that One Chance got the top spot, because One Chance was a pretty shitty game that explored concepts ripped off from Every Day The Same Dream, which in turn ripped off from Passage, which was brilliant and still way too overlooked. But top 10 lists are always silly. Some of these other ones look really neat.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:05 AM on January 1, 2011


Ah, p0nd. Who doesn't love p0nd - a definitive answer to "can video games be art."
posted by blahblahblah at 9:22 AM on January 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


I should say, many (all?) of the games on the list go for shock (or schlock) value over gameplay.
posted by blahblahblah at 9:24 AM on January 1, 2011


That's such a bizarre charge to me, that One Chance is bad because it "explored concepts ripped of from Every Day the Same Dream, which in turn ripped off from Passage." One Chance had similar game play mechanics as Every Day, but it dealt with a completely different subject matter, and yes, Passage is also about loss, though a different kind of loss. This particular objection to One Day strikes me like saying that Shakespeare was a terrible poet because, really, Spenser had already written plenty of sonnets about love already and besides, Petrarch had been there first. One Chance works within the same tradition as Every Day and Passage, but that should be a neutral observation, not a criticism.
posted by Kattullus at 9:25 AM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just discovered Minecraft in 2010, my new favorite game, but I guess it was created before 2010 so doesn't count. Hopefully, it will come out of beta and appear on all new 'Best Of 2011' games lists.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 9:28 AM on January 1, 2011


Minecraft was PC Gamer UK's game of the year.
posted by empath at 9:31 AM on January 1, 2011


Minecraft isn't freeware.
posted by Mwongozi at 9:41 AM on January 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was disappointed to not see Space Funeral on there, and One Chance in the top spot, but I hadn't heard about most of those, so it'll be fun to check them out.
posted by codacorolla at 9:42 AM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this, ...but that was [yesterday] really made my morning.
posted by samsara at 9:48 AM on January 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


One Chance works within the same tradition as Every Day and Passage, but that should be a neutral observation, not a criticism.

Then let me elaborate. It's not just that it deals with the same concepts and gameplay mechanics, it's that it's actively unfun, poorly designed, actively sucks at letting you know when and what you're supposed to interact with, and gets off on being the mere pretense of a game rather than actually delivering anything interesting.

The thing is, that's a criticism I had of Every Day The Same Dream, too; I thought it was a shitty game that only ever got noticed because so few games attempt even that much of an emotional playstyle. And it's a fault of Passage and lots of Jason Rohrer's other stuff; it's interesting conceptually but as a game it borders on being mediocre. But Passage justified itself with its absolute tightness, its use of graphics and gameplay and music to almost propel me forward as I played it. And Every Day The Same Dream had at least some interesting visual direction to it, so that while I was disappointed with it I didn't resent the guy who made it. One Chance was pretty much bad in every way; poorly-written, sloppily designed, ugly, and a rip-off of an already-mediocre art game.

It's like saying that a shitty poet who writes sonnets is a shitty poet even though Shakespeare also wrote sonnets, and that "works within the same tradition" is hardly a defense of that.

(I like to point out that Raitendo, who made a terrific parody of Passage, created a game called You Only Live Once in 2009 which anticipated One Chance and pre-emptively mocked it. Same gimmick, better writing, actual gameplay, and the fact that it opens up by telling you how many pretentious indie awards it's won suggests that perhaps pretentious indie gamers are a heck of a lot simpler and more gullible than they wish they were.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:51 AM on January 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


(The concept was similarly explored in Execution, a full two years before One Chance came out.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:54 AM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Activate the Three Artefacts and then Leave is amazing!!
posted by The Devil Tesla at 10:08 AM on January 1, 2011


As the year comes to an end, many networks, sites, critics and journalists write up the 'year in review.' Some tell the story with statistics, others with images and others with lists. Here is a compilation of links to those from various reputable publications and sites listing "The Best of 2010" in categories such as social media trends, tweets and statuses, world news stories, the year in pictures, art, advertising, business, fashion, gadgets, movies, sports, tv, and books.
posted by netbros at 10:17 AM on January 1, 2011


Mwongozi: Minecraft isn't freeware

Creative mode is.

posted by inedible at 10:54 AM on January 1, 2011


Yeah, One Chance as game of the year (on any list) is pretty damned lame. Almost as lame as the "game" itself.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:58 AM on January 1, 2011


Thanks for this, ...but that was [yesterday] really made my morning.

My kids sat with me while I played and we talked about the game. I really enjoyed it.
posted by monkeymadness at 11:09 AM on January 1, 2011


Well shit if that's all it takes to get on the year's top ten list.
posted by hellojed at 11:47 AM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


i think probably the keyword here is 'experimental'
posted by empath at 11:53 AM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


i think probably the keyword here is 'experimental'

Then you should check out the experimental gameplay project, which has programmers make a game in a week every month based on a theme.

By extension, you should also check out Ludum Dare, which has programmers make games in 48 hours based on a theme. A few of the games here in the top 10 are from those.

This is where the nitty gritty experimentation comes from, with a brutal self imposed deadline and nothing to prove.
posted by hellojed at 12:11 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, if you actually read the link, you'd see that a good portion of the games came from ludum dare.
posted by empath at 12:17 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, I was sceptical of the hate, but One Chance is really very very bad. Pretty, though.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 2:14 PM on January 1, 2011


I have to take this opportunity to plug Solace, a beautiful game that presents the five stages of grief in shmup form.
posted by NMcCoy at 2:47 PM on January 1, 2011


One Chance seemed more like a rip-off of You Only Live Once to me.
posted by baf at 5:24 PM on January 1, 2011


Rory Marinich: It's not just that it deals with the same concepts and gameplay mechanics, it's that it's actively unfun, poorly designed [and] actively sucks at letting you know when and what you're supposed to interact with

[[[SPOILERS AHEAD]]] All of that is true. However, One Chance managed to affect me emotionally and make me reflect on mortality in an unexpected way. By amplifying mortality to encompass the entirety of the human race designer Dean Moynihan dramatized death instead of commenting on it. The world of One Chance degenerates much like the human body degenerates in old age, i.e. the dying mass of people becomes a metaphor for the human body dying. In my end-game I was faced with the decision of continuing to strive to come up with a cure even though everyone was dead except for my character and his daughter, or go to the park and die peacefully. I chose the latter.

Before playing One Chance, whenever I contemplated mortality I always thought that I would make every effort to remain alive, no matter what the circumstances were. While I could understand intellectually that for some people dying was the rational choice (e.g. someone who's facing a protracted and fatal illness) emotionally I couldn't quite grasp that idea. One Chance put me in a situation of choosing between struggling for life even if the world (the metaphorical body) was almost completely ruined, and a peaceful death. I understood then, on an emotional level, why someone would choose peaceful death over continuing to struggle, and I guided my character and his daughter to the park. In real life I would choose the struggle but by allowing me to dramatize this conflict Moynihan made me understand something on an emotional level that I had only ever understood intellectually. This emotion washed over me as I watched snow fall on the lifeless body of my character and his daughter. If it had been a movie, I wouldn't have understood the choice because I hadn't made the choice. In other games I would've simply restarted from an earlier point and seen what happened if I chose to go to the lab instead of going to the park. But the game didn't allow me to do that, the only thing I could do was contemplate the peaceful death I had chosen over continuing to struggle for life. That is why I consider One Chance a great game, even though it's presentation is flawed.
posted by Kattullus at 10:19 PM on January 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


One Chance at #1, really? Are the IndieGames.com editors all 15-year-old emo kids?

My problem with the game is that even though it may have elicited a genuine emotional reaction from some players in the audience, it did so only as a byproduct of the creator's blatant intellectual thievery from other games (links to the aforementioned Every Day The Same Dream and You Only Live Once, just in case some of us haven't tried them yet) in the same genre. One Chance doesn't just lift certain gameplay aspects from these works, but it directly steals from them in such an insincere, under-thought way that it feels like an amateurish imitation rather than an original artistic statement. If I never play another lazily-conceived "art" game where the main character commits suicide Because Life Is So Hardâ„¢, it'll be too soon.

On a more positive note, I just got done playing But That Was [Yesterday], and found it charming and life-affirming in ways that so many other experimental-narrative games just aren't. Thanks for this post!
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:37 PM on January 1, 2011


Could someone spoil p0nd for me? I played it through, got to the pond, and the game started over. I've tried googling around, and all I'm getting is a bunch of reactions in one of two camps: "That ending was amazing and haunting" and "What was the ending?"
posted by Gordafarin at 4:40 AM on January 3, 2011


Could someone spoil p0nd for me?

Spoiler here.
posted by monkeymadness at 4:46 AM on January 3, 2011


Three Artefacts was good, but my favourite Increpare game in 2010 was The Terrible Whiteness of Appalachian Nights [NSFW], for values of "favourite" that include "has haunted me for months and I can't actually suggest in good conscience that any of you play it yourselves."
posted by Zozo at 9:14 AM on January 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


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