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Friday, 17 February 2012

Free game Friday: Two unusual free games I've rather enjoyed

Oh good grief, did I really call it that? More like fucking-awful-alliteration-Friday. Oh well.

There aren't many multi-player PC games that don't need a network connection (LAN or otherwise) and even fewer which can be played on the same machine. I kind of miss games like that. My chum Matt and I used to play Tie Fighter together on the same machine. There was a single energy system for your craft and you had to juggle power allocation between weapons and the engine as well as balance how much power was allocated to the shields and you split that between front and back. So we'd play together with one of us dealing with the power systems and the other doing the flying. Good times.

The wonderfully-named Mindfuck isn't as complicated as that. It's not often that one can summarise a game in one screenshot, but with Mindfuck you can. That shot above is the entire game. Two players compete against each other on the same keyboard with just one key each. The aim of the game is the first to score 400 points (this can be altered). As the game begins, a counter ticks up steadily. At any point you can press the sift key and claim the points on the counter. That's all there is to it. It's all about psyching out your opponent: do you let the counter tick up higher in order to grab more points, or do you snatch them as soon as possible? And that's where the mind fuckery comes in. Intimidation, trickery, bluffing... can all come into play. And that's where the fun lies.

Symphorophilia is a very odd single player browser-based game. It's ostensibly a very simple car racing game in the style of Atari 2600 games or very early arcade games. You drive your car up the screen, avoiding other cars and pedestrians. Every now and then, you can grab a star which operates in a similar manner to a Pacman power pill, allowing you to plough through everything on the screen to gain points. When not under the influence of a star, crash your car or collide with an object and the little TV screen will play a (very graphic) video clip of a real racing accident.

As the designer explains on his site:
"Symphorophilia: (definition) a paraphilia in which sexual arousal hinges on staging and watching a disaster such as a fire or traffic accidents."

"Like many works of art I do not seek to entertain the player. This is another personal attempt to investigate and learn the use of video games as an art form."

You can play it here:

Read more about it here:

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