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Games of the Week: Anger, Sadness, and Fear

Are you ready to finish the year with a selection of handpicked games to brighten up your holiday season? In this last 2021 edition of Games of the Week we’ve got 3 really great experiences for whatever holiday mood you’re in. 

(that really) Boils My Piss

I’m not going to lie, I came to this game exclusively on its name. The audacity to include both 90s song title-style parentheses and the word piss was certainly a choice and, as it turns out, captures the spirit of the game perfectly. This is a relatively focused work with a limited palette of expression, but if you’ve ever wanted to scream your way through your troubles, this is it. You’re dropped into a variety of dioramas of frustrating situations, stomp your way around, and destroy these vignettes by shouting into your real-life mic. It’s an impressive 1:1 feel that works as powerful catharsis for life’s frustrations. 

Boils my Piss borrows a lot from Riot Grrl philosophy (as the game’s developer makes clear in the game’s pitch) so it’s very clearly designed with an audience in mind. I can’t speak to how well it serves that community, but I think there’s enough here for everyone to enjoy. 

Happy Game

I know we’re not in spooky season anymore, but I couldn’t resist checking out the newest game from Amanita Design. You may recognize that name as the team behind Botanicula, Creaks, and Machinarium, but this marks the studio’s first foray into horror. All of the studio’s hallmarks are here – beautiful art, strange surrealist characters, and an intense attention to detail– but I never thought I’d see them in this context. While all of the Amanita games feel like they’re in the same family, it only adds to the shock when Happy Game takes the turn from its cute set up into horror. 

But Happy Game is probably not the kind of horror you’re used to, this isn’t monsters and murderers– but a surreal, psychadelic adventure that is both surprising and shocking. I enjoyed my time with Happy Game despite it being a horror game. As someone who sometimes struggles with horror I found the tone of the game more unsettling than outright scary and found myself oddly compelled to keep going. Even if you’re not normally a horror fan, this may be the spooky game for you.

Before Your Eyes

You know what doesn’t get a lot of respect as a controller? The humble webcam. While it’s usually your favorite accessory to enable an endless procession of meetings, Before Your Eyes asks you to use it to look at a life. 

Before Your Eyes has such a simple yet effective premise, you’re put in the shoes of a dying person reliving their entire life in order. You skip from one moment to the next by, in the game’s big mechanic, closing your eyes. Scenes play out in front of you as long as you can keep your eyes open and, once your webcam detects you’ve blinked, it snaps you forward in time. It’s so brilliantly effective as you’re fighting back tears both from the game’s pitch perfect writing and having held your eyes open for minutes at a time. Sadly, there’s not much more to say about the game beyond this. It’s such a powerfully designed and executed project that nails just about everything it attempts. 

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Mentioned in this post

scream the whole place down!
Sweet Dreams Await :)
Embark on an emotional first-person narrative adventure where you control the story with your real-life blinks.
Interactive Fiction