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The Penniless Gamer

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Emma Elsewhere
Dec 28 '13
The Endless Forest by Tale of Tales is an MMO with a difference; it’s a screensaver. You play a deer, identifiable only by a unique symbol over its head. Certain actions will change the appearance or voice of your deer avatar, but otherwise there is little to achieve while playing. It is a game without opportunity for violence, without goals and without pressure. 
Strangely, with very limited options for communicating with or identifying other players, I have found I play much more sociably than I do in regular MMOs where I can be identified by name. I particularly enjoy the music that plays when you dance and is built upon when you dance with others.
—
Check it out on the Tale of Tales website.

The Endless Forest by Tale of Tales is an MMO with a difference; it’s a screensaver. You play a deer, identifiable only by a unique symbol over its head. Certain actions will change the appearance or voice of your deer avatar, but otherwise there is little to achieve while playing. It is a game without opportunity for violence, without goals and without pressure.

Strangely, with very limited options for communicating with or identifying other players, I have found I play much more sociably than I do in regular MMOs where I can be identified by name. I particularly enjoy the music that plays when you dance and is built upon when you dance with others.

Check it out on the Tale of Tales website.

Dec 21 '13
Brogue is a detailed roguelike by Brian Walker, in which you must descend to the 26th level of the dungeon, retrieve an amulet and return to the surface; it’s your average roguelike setup, and simple in theory. But not in practice - watch out for the monkeys.
—
Download it here.

Brogue is a detailed roguelike by Brian Walker, in which you must descend to the 26th level of the dungeon, retrieve an amulet and return to the surface; it’s your average roguelike setup, and simple in theory. But not in practice - watch out for the monkeys.

Download it here.

Dec 17 '13
Murder at Masquerade Manor is a murder mystery along the (simplified) lines of the board game Cluedo, except that in this game turning your back on the murderer will get you killed. Each game is randomly generated, so dying resets it and you will have to begin anew.
You play as the Inspector, and so it is your job to find out whodunnit. It helps to keep a pen and paper handy to jot down notes and help you piece the clues together. Slowly, you will be able to check off the innocent guests and reveal the murderer, but don’t take too long or you’ll end up the next victim!
—
Download it here.

Murder at Masquerade Manor is a murder mystery along the (simplified) lines of the board game Cluedo, except that in this game turning your back on the murderer will get you killed. Each game is randomly generated, so dying resets it and you will have to begin anew.

You play as the Inspector, and so it is your job to find out whodunnit. It helps to keep a pen and paper handy to jot down notes and help you piece the clues together. Slowly, you will be able to check off the innocent guests and reveal the murderer, but don’t take too long or you’ll end up the next victim!

Download it here.

Oct 18 '13
In TIMEframe, you experience ten seconds over a ten minute period. The flickering flames, flowing fountains and billowing banners of a desert civilization move almost imperceptibly slowly as you pass them at normal speed.
I did not know what to expect. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, so I turned to face the sun and walked. I found a city and wandered around, still aimless. It was a pleasant experience, but I didn’t see what the point of it was. 
Then the music changed. I saw it, and braced for impact. 
There’s something both upsetting and calming about watching a disaster happen in slow motion and being unable to do anything to avert it. A game in which you are unable to be the hero is rare.
It was a novel take on the Ludum Dare 27 theme of “10 Seconds” and I’d definitely recommend taking ten minutes out of your day to experience it.
—
Play it in your browser or download it here.

In TIMEframe, you experience ten seconds over a ten minute period. The flickering flames, flowing fountains and billowing banners of a desert civilization move almost imperceptibly slowly as you pass them at normal speed.

I did not know what to expect. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, so I turned to face the sun and walked. I found a city and wandered around, still aimless. It was a pleasant experience, but I didn’t see what the point of it was. 

Then the music changed. I saw it, and braced for impact. 

There’s something both upsetting and calming about watching a disaster happen in slow motion and being unable to do anything to avert it. A game in which you are unable to be the hero is rare.

It was a novel take on the Ludum Dare 27 theme of “10 Seconds” and I’d definitely recommend taking ten minutes out of your day to experience it.

Play it in your browser or download it here.

Oct 16 '13
Yeti Hunter by Vlambeer is a game about hunting yetis.
It manages to create a remarkable atmosphere of tension and isolation. The environment consists of two dimensional trees (climbable), bushes and snow drifts, as well as the occasional blood pool from your already-wounded quarry. Close fog limits your view and constant, heavy snowfall obscures your vision, frequently playing tricks on you. The music during the day is eerie and at night it is tense and startling.
I played for a long time without seeing anything. When I did see something, I trained my sights on it only to find myself wondering if it was ever really there, or if my long slog through this bleak, motion-filled landscape was driving me mad.
After playing until I was certain that I had seen the yeti several times and becoming convinced that he disappeared when I trained my rifle sights on him, I quit in frustration and looked up other people’s comments on the game. It turns out, you cannot kill the yeti. You can’t even shoot the yeti, as there is code in the game that tells it to teleport away if it is ever in the crosshairs.
That leads to the assumption that the developer made the game unwinnable on purpose. Maybe it’s a comment on violence being the main mechanic in video games. But then again, maybe it’s just an achingly atmospheric walk in the snow.
—
Download Yeti Hunter at Vlambeer.com.

Yeti Hunter by Vlambeer is a game about hunting yetis.

It manages to create a remarkable atmosphere of tension and isolation. The environment consists of two dimensional trees (climbable), bushes and snow drifts, as well as the occasional blood pool from your already-wounded quarry. Close fog limits your view and constant, heavy snowfall obscures your vision, frequently playing tricks on you. The music during the day is eerie and at night it is tense and startling.

I played for a long time without seeing anything. When I did see something, I trained my sights on it only to find myself wondering if it was ever really there, or if my long slog through this bleak, motion-filled landscape was driving me mad.

After playing until I was certain that I had seen the yeti several times and becoming convinced that he disappeared when I trained my rifle sights on him, I quit in frustration and looked up other people’s comments on the game. It turns out, you cannot kill the yeti. You can’t even shoot the yeti, as there is code in the game that tells it to teleport away if it is ever in the crosshairs.

That leads to the assumption that the developer made the game unwinnable on purpose. Maybe it’s a comment on violence being the main mechanic in video games. But then again, maybe it’s just an achingly atmospheric walk in the snow.

Download Yeti Hunter at Vlambeer.com.

Oct 16 '13
A short, simple physics puzzler, Poyas Odyssey by TeawWithoutLegs starts with you falling into a dungeon room full of Poyas - strange, spherical creatures with bared teeth and blinking eyes. Using the cube that they follow or flee from, depending on which state it is in, you can manipulate the Poyas to solve puzzles for you, allowing you to progress through the dungeon.
Although it is quite Portal-esque - the ending seems to be a direct reference to Portal, and the cube and the springboards are almost certainly also inspired by it - the attractive art style and the inclusion of the Poyas themselves sets it apart.
The puzzles are unlikely to give you any trouble, but playing is an enjoyable experience and definitely worth the ten to twenty minutes it will take you to complete it.
—
Play it in your browser or download it here.

A short, simple physics puzzler, Poyas Odyssey by TeawWithoutLegs starts with you falling into a dungeon room full of Poyas - strange, spherical creatures with bared teeth and blinking eyes. Using the cube that they follow or flee from, depending on which state it is in, you can manipulate the Poyas to solve puzzles for you, allowing you to progress through the dungeon.

Although it is quite Portal-esque - the ending seems to be a direct reference to Portal, and the cube and the springboards are almost certainly also inspired by it - the attractive art style and the inclusion of the Poyas themselves sets it apart.

The puzzles are unlikely to give you any trouble, but playing is an enjoyable experience and definitely worth the ten to twenty minutes it will take you to complete it.

Play it in your browser or download it here.

Oct 16 '13
Time Flies Straight is a disorientating game by Mr Speaker, featuring Carl Sagan (not really). You have to reach the orb before the timer counting down your life runs out, and it’s as simple as that (not really).
—
You can play it in your browser. 

Time Flies Straight is a disorientating game by Mr Speaker, featuring Carl Sagan (not really). You have to reach the orb before the timer counting down your life runs out, and it’s as simple as that (not really).

You can play it in your browser

Oct 16 '13

10 Seconds in Hell is about an abusive relationship, and is an incredibly tense game, despite the fact that the only character model is a huge pill labelled ‘evil’ and the voices are computer generated. Using WASD to move, space to jump and QE to interact, you must find a way resolve the situation in your motel room. There are several outcomes; of the ones that I encountered only one was in any way rewarding.

Play it in your browser.

Oct 16 '13
Notch made another game, and it only took him a week. It’s called Shambles, and it’s about that time honoured favourite, zombies.
The main goal of the game is to not die for as long as possible, and to increase your score by killing zombies and picking up the yellow globes they drop. This is complicated by the panicked civilians running around; they join the ranks of the living dead if they come into contact with a zombie, or you can kill them for health. Then there are soldiers who shoot at the zombies, but can be killed for their guns (of course, they fight back). It’s a big old mess, but a lot of fun.
—
Play it here.

Notch made another game, and it only took him a week. It’s called Shambles, and it’s about that time honoured favourite, zombies.

The main goal of the game is to not die for as long as possible, and to increase your score by killing zombies and picking up the yellow globes they drop. This is complicated by the panicked civilians running around; they join the ranks of the living dead if they come into contact with a zombie, or you can kill them for health. Then there are soldiers who shoot at the zombies, but can be killed for their guns (of course, they fight back). It’s a big old mess, but a lot of fun.

Play it here.

Oct 16 '13
The premise for Escape From The Fishing Community Island by Nenad Jalsovec is that while on holiday with your spouse you were separated by demon fish that emerged from the sea in the night, and subsequently must find said spouse, as well as the fuel and keys for a boat, to make good your escape.
Despite being a very simple game, it’s a lot of fun. Using your choice of two weapons (choosing from a harpoon, a hook and a net) you must fight off the fish and search across the island. You can also upgrade your skills by finding hiding villagers and telling them what to help out with, and your equipment can be upgraded with certain items.
—
You can play it in your browser here.

The premise for Escape From The Fishing Community Island by Nenad Jalsovec is that while on holiday with your spouse you were separated by demon fish that emerged from the sea in the night, and subsequently must find said spouse, as well as the fuel and keys for a boat, to make good your escape.

Despite being a very simple game, it’s a lot of fun. Using your choice of two weapons (choosing from a harpoon, a hook and a net) you must fight off the fish and search across the island. You can also upgrade your skills by finding hiding villagers and telling them what to help out with, and your equipment can be upgraded with certain items.

You can play it in your browser here.