Some of the games we showed at Now Play This 2016!
A game about jumping around and avoiding red things, on a strange organic wobbling landscape. You know how lava in games basically doesn't make sense as, like, a thing that corresponds to something in the world? This lava makes sense.
A lovely tiny game about holding your breath underwater - for real. It's great to see people hold their breath and then suddenly gasp for air once they breach the surface of the water; and it's also really interesting to see a digital game with such an explicitly unenforceable rule about how players should engage with it.
This cooperative destruction game is joyful and vigorous and excited and exciting; bounce and slam into things and feel triumphant, with a friend.
In Joy Exhibition, you use procedurally generated paint guns to make artworks for aliens. The aliens wander around and have a look at your art. It's very unclear whether they like it.
Le Chant du cygne's Palimpseste can only be shown as an installation - it requires a special monitor and some amazing wooden goggles. But at least this screensaver, inspired by the game, is available.
Metamorphabet is a beautiful and tactile alphabet, each letter transforming and setting a series of tiny puzzles about how to interact with it. Maybe the letter can be set lumbering across the screen. Maybe you can coax antlers from its austere head. Maybe it will spin, or grow, or shrink, or call in a dozen of its friends for a joyful parade.
Get Lost! is a Twine game commissioned for the festival, which responded to the specific brief of being a story-based game that works well in a busy festival context, playable in a few minutes, easy to engage with but with reasons for people to come back and look again. It's a very charming story about running away from home, and the many different things that can happen next.
Push Me Pull You's double-headed bodies are surprisingly easy to control, collaborating with a team-mate to scamper around, stretching and contracting. The difficult bit comes from your opponents - doing the same thing with their own double-headed torso, and getting very much in your way.
Cobra Club sat next to a bathroom graffiti wall piece, in our adults-only room. The dick-pic simulator exhibits so well - people can watch other people play, or take part for a minute feeling a little silly about it, or really get into the process, sending messages and perfecting their self-portraits. The exhibition version however misses out on the conclusion of the game - so this version is in some ways preferable.
Guppy is a beautiful little game in which you're a fish, moving like a fish does - by wiggling its tail about, left and right, left and right. Swim around; find a school of fish, or strike out on your own; hide under lilypads; explore; and watch out for bigger fish. They are not your friends.
Imaginal is a quiet, contemplative game about catching fireflies. It combines the urge to catch as many as possible with the feel of a long, warm night that gradually grows lighter and lighter as morning approaches.
In Forager, you forage. You explore trees, climbing up and down effortlessly. You run across logs. You build a nest, and try to make it perfect, as much as you can with your woodland foraging. You eat. You look up (or across, or down, depending on where you're climbing) at the bright blue sky.