Looking for a game that invokes nostalgia or melts your heart at the end of a hard day? Cocoa Moss is a collaboration of indie game developers that’s resulted in 12 free whimsical games (and counting). From puzzle adventures to atmospheric wanderings, at least one of these games will brighten up your day. Stay up to date via Twitter.
Looking for a place to purely wander with a sense of curiosity and positive vibes? Proteus renders a uniquely generated and responsive world played to dreamy music. Investigate and capture moments of discovery. This game is also available via Steam, Humble Store, and itch.io.
A documentarian and novice game-maker dedicated his 2018 to designing a game documenting an impactful Terence McKenna traveling experience to the Amazon. True Hallucinations: The Game puts the user in control of McKenna during his true-life adventures journeying to La Chorrere in the Amazon rainforest. The game attempts historical accuracy and features mushroom and butterfly gathering, I Ching philosophy, Amazon river boating and tripping out.
To play the game you’ll need to support the game-maker’s Patreon (the game-maker also has produced two doc films about McKenna). Or for the gist of the game you could watch the narrated walkthrough for free.
This is the simplest of browser computer games, Chat Noir. It is you versus a black cat who is trying to escape. It is addictive and you’ll probably lose a few even when you get experience. Cathartic, strategic, elegant, quick, won’t hurt your mind.
“Imagine that the collapse of civilization didn’t happen everywhere at the same time. Instead, it’s happening in waves. Every day, more people fall out of the society intact. We queers were always living in the margins of that society, finding solidarity, love, and meaning in the strangest of places. Apocalypse didn’t come for us first, but it did come for us.”
Successfully Kickstarted last year, this book (either PDF or printed) uses a no-dice and no-dungeon master format to explore players’ imaginations as they become characters from oppressed communities in otherworldly but familiar settings. The two campaigns in the book are about: “a queer enclave enduring the collapse of civilization” and “a Jewish shtetl in a fantastical-historical Eastern Europe.”Dream Askew uses the system to create campaigns in “a queer enclave enduring the collapse of civilization” and Dream Apart is set in “a Jewish shtetl in a fantastical-historical Eastern Europe.”
[Both of the campaigns put] community at the center of the story. Players collaboratively fill out a community worksheet as part of setup. Dream Askew has players choosing apocalyptic visuals and ideological conflicts, while Dream Apart has them choosing blessings and curses. A map gets drawn, relationships get established, and play emerges.
Rather than telling stories of rugged individuals on epic adventures, both dreams keep the focus closer to home. They tell stories of interpersonal relationships, community drama, and tension with the outside world.
Each player takes on a character role, one of six archetypal figures in their community. These are pages divided into three columns: on the left, everything that gets read aloud when introducing the role; down the middle, all the choices you make during character creation; and finally, on the right, everything you need to play the character.
These games are diceless, leaving nothing to chance. Play is driven by the choices that get made at the table, with scenes unfolding as players make moves: picking simple narrative prompts off their sheet and working them into their description of what happens next. Weak Moves grant a token while Strong Moves require one, creating a balanced tempo for each character – moments of petty drama and tragic failure set the stage for ones of resourcefulness and skill later on.
There’s no Game Master to defer to; authority is divided equally around the table. The dreams achieve this by giving each player a setting element to customize and play.
In Seattle we have several supremely psychedelicly dark black-light-glowing strobe-blinking bar backrooms chock full of obnoxiously-loud pinball machines (most impressively: Shorty’s). The addictive scene reeks of chaos, but pinball wizard Roger Sharpe tells how the game isn’t as random as it seems.