Nerd that I am, I like games. I also like interactive things that people argue are/aren’t games (which is a discussion I’d like to avoid in the comments because it’s fucking boring). Here are some interesting things, some kink related, some not.
Consensual Torture Simulator by Merritt Kopas. This game costs $2, but it’s well worth it. To quote Merritt, it’s “a game about hurting someone who wants it.” You can read more about it in this article on Kotaku. Whether you see it as a comment on violence in video games or strictly as a simulated scene, it’s interesting to play and you don’t have to have spent the last 10 years playing games to understand it. The writing in this one is lovely and there’s a strong feeling of intimacy and affection between the characters.
encyclopedia fuckme and the case of the vanishing entree by Anna Anthropy. This is a pornographic lesbian dating sim sort of thing, and it’s super fun to play. Like Consesual Torture Simulator, it’s a text game that you don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy. There is some non-graphic violence in this one that could be taken to imply that kinky people are damaged/evil, but as Anna’s kinky herself, I feel pretty comfortable saying it’s just in there to add to motivate the player to escape and add drama to the game.
Dys4ia, also by Anna Anthropy. This game is about Anna’s experience with hormone replacement therapy and gender transition. It’s the single most interesting thing I’ve ever seen done in a game.
Candy box! by aniwey. This one is hard to describe without spoiling it, so I’ll just say that if you’re patient and keep fiddling with it, you will be rewarded. This game has a sense of discovery and wonder that I think is missing from most big budget games.
A Dark Room by Doublespeak Games. To quote the developer, this one is a “minimalist text adventure.” There are some similarities to Candy box!, and this one will probably be most interesting to people who have been gaming for a while.
Depression Quest by Zoe Quinn, Patrick Lindsey and Isaac Schankler. This game is meant to show depressed people that they aren’t alone, and to try to explain what depression is like to people who don’t have it. Those are pretty awesome things to try to do, and Depression Quest helps expand the range of what we can communicate with games.
Unfortunately, Depression Quest, or more precisely Zoe’s efforts to get the game onto Steam (for non-gamers, Steam is a game distribution platform with massive reach. Getting the game onto Steam would get it into far more people’s hands), are kind of a lightning rod for assholes. There’s a small but vocal minority of gamers who are terribly threatened both by the idea of games that don’t specifically cater to male power fantasies, and (I’m guessing) the idea that women have feelings that have nothing to do with men. If you have a Steam account, you can help greenlight Depression Quest.
don’t take it personally babe, it just ain’t your story by Christine Love. In Christine’s words, this is “A full length visual novel about the erosion of privacy, gay drama, young sexuality, and the perils of modern online life for a high school literature class.” As serious as that makes the game sound (and there are serious parts), most of the game is straightforward voyeuristic juicy gossip fun. There is some content I feel I should add a trigger warning for (select the text to reveal it, it spoils a major plot point) [ a minor character appears to commit suicide, but is later revealed to be perfectly fine. When she moved away, she and her classmates took the opportunity to play a trick on their teacher], but apart from that the game is pretty light-hearted.
Finally, Myst is now online and free to play. If you’ve never tried it, you need to check it out. Unlike the other games in this list, it’s not an indie game created on a tiny budget by just a few people, but it is free now, and it’s a classic for a reason. Myst is a puzzle/adventure game where you roam around an island, but you don’t have to be any good at solving the puzzles to enjoy wandering around a beautiful environment messing with stuff (I was certainly never any good at the sequel, Riven).
Nerd trivia: Because Myst was so graphics heavy (for it’s time it was absolutely gorgeous, and actually holds up pretty well today) it was just too big to be installed from 3 1/2″ floppies like other games of it’s time. People bought CD-ROM drives just to be able to play it, which helped drive adoption of the newfangled CD-ROM format. Okay, I’m probably the only one who thinks that’s interesting.
Readers, have you been playing anything interesting lately?