Games of 2010

Posted in games of 2010

Better late than never! Here’s a selection of games released in 2010 which I absolutely loved. Unfortunately, I now have to accept that I simply don’t have time to explain why I loved them in detail, but they’re all amazing games and I recommend you check out as many of them as you can.

They’re in the more or less arbitrary order that I’d planned to post them, with one exception; the last game I was planning to post – my favourite game from 2010 is Phenomenon 32.

Minecraft by Mojang
Shareware, 14.95 EUR, download, (writeup)

REDDER by Auntie Pixelante
Free, Play online, (writeup)
Super Crate Box by Vlambeer
Free, Download, (writeup)
Fractal by Cipher Prime
Shareware, $9.99, Download, (writeup)
Sleep is Death by Jason Rohrer
Pay what you want, Download, (writeup)
Fish Fish Bang Bang by Rob Fearon
Pay what you want, Download, (writeup)
Hero Core by Daniel Remar
Free, Download
Space Funeral by thecatemites
Free, Download, (writeup)
Cactus Block by chuchino
Free, Download, (writeup)
L’Abbaye des Morts by Locomalito
Free, Download, (writeup)
Digital: A Love Story by Christine Love
Free, Download
The Terrible Whiteness of Appalachian Nights by Increpare
Free, Play online
Recettear by Carpe Fulgar
Shareware, £12.99 Download
5 Colors Pandora by Jordan Magnuson
Free, Download
Desktop Dungeons by QCF Design
Free, Download
Looming by Gregory Weir
Free, Play Online
The Sense of Connectedness by Brog
Free, Download
Teppoman 2 by Ikiki
Free, Download
Norrland by cactus
Free, Download
Prosopamnesia by Agj
Free, Play Online
Super Meat Boy by Team Meat
Shareware, £11.99 Download
Feign by Ian Snyder
Free, Play Online
Air Pressure by Bento Smile
Free, Play Online
Where we Remain by Two Fold Secret
Free, Play Online
Playpen by Farbs
Free, Play Online
suteF by Ted Lauterbach
Free, Download
A Slow year by Ian Bogost
Shareware, $19.95 Order
Marvel Brothel by Nicoisas
Free, Download
Pirate Kart II by The Glorious Trainwrecks Community
Free, Download
Phenomenon 32 by Jonas Kyratzes
Free, Download

Catching up

Sorry I haven’t updated much lately, I’ve been incredibly busy this year. Here’s a quick update on what’s been going on:

Games of 2010 writeups:

So much for that whole writeup thing – there’s a lot I wanted to say about the games I really enjoyed last year, but I always forget just how time consuming it is for me to write up blog posts like that. I’m probably just going to make one more post with the full list of 30 games. There’s only really one game left that I wanted to do a proper write up of anyway, which I was planning to leave till last.

Nexus City

Nexus City is going really well – the game’s engine is now more or less finished, the first area of the game is playable (minus battles) – it’s really starting to come together. Sadly though, I’ve had to put it on hold for a little while. It’s not easy to step away from a project that was just starting to pick up momentum, but I’ve got other games to make with deadlines approaching (more about that in a sec), and unfortunately I just don’t have time to do everything 🙁

Thankfully Jonas also has lots of other things to keep him busy right now, so it’s not a huge deal for us both to take a break from this for a while.

We’ve talked a little about maybe making some sort of short MiniRPG set in this world as a prequel; it would just be a 20 minute short story or something like that, rather than the huge RPG experience that Nexus City has become. This would be in addition to making Nexus City, of course.

I just really can’t wait to share this world with everyone! Finishing Nexus City (or whatever we end up calling it) is my main priority for this year.

Super Top Secret Game

My actual current project right now is something I haven’t posted about yet, and can’t post about for another little while because I’m making it for an event. This is the game I’m currently spending all my time on. I’m really excited about it too – as soon as I can talk about it, I will!

Dancing RPG

So the other game I worked on at TIGJam was an RPG with Jasper Byrne – it’s a game about challenging people to dance offs, and learning what it really means to be a dancer. There’s quite a lot here already, but it’s far from finished – with everything that’s going on right now I dunno when we’re going to get around to being able to finish it. Hopefully things will slow down for both of us in a while and we can set aside a week or so to make it happen.

Other Games:

Somewhere along the way I spent a bit of time working on a few other games as well. The one in the screenshot above is another game I’m really excited about making, but right now I dunno where I’m gonna find the time to work on it. It’s actually hugely frustrating to have so many things I want to work on and not being able to.

As well as this, there’s the shooter from last year, another little game I worked on at the jam, and at some point this year I wanna revisit Big Hero.


I’m heading to the IGF in a couple of weeks! Last year was incredible, and I’m really looking forward to getting back to San Francisco for another week. Haven’t really planned anything in particular this time, but I’ll be at the summit and some of the parties, and probably jamming at noisebridge for a bit too.


Games of 2010: L’Abbaye des Morts

Posted in games of 2010

Ok, I’m sure nobody’s too surprised to see this one on my list! 😛

While I love the game’s beautiful ZX-Spectrum asthetic, the thing that makes this game so wonderful is how well that gels with its setting – you play as Jean Raymond, a Cathar monk in 13th century France. Scrolls scattered around tell the grisly tale of the expulsion by the Catholic Church one sentence at a time, working perfectly as both a storytelling and a gameplay device, holding everything together through some really powerful moments where the game and story break apart, and finally reunite.

L’Abbaye des Morts is free, and available to download for windows at locomalito’s site.


Games of 2010: Space Funeral

Posted in games of 2010

I love RPGs – at any given moment I’m making several of them, in fact. I think a big part of my affection for the genre is that it often feels so alien to rest of gaming – my favourite RPGs have long drawn out interactive dream sequences, characters controlling younger versions of themselves reliving tragic memories, characters entering people’s subconsciouses to fight personified nightmares, interactive time travel paradoxes, teenagers summoning mythological creatures by shooting themselves in the head, and so on. As someone who loves concept driven games, you can see why this sorta stuff appeals to me.

Space Funeral is an RPG that feels alien to other RPGs. And it’s not just the story – I love that this thing is made in RPG Maker. It means that the game comes with decades of expectations; what the default menus are supposed to say, what inns are supposed to look like; more than just the setting itself, having the game not-quite-fit into its standard tropes is what makes it feel so wonderfully bizarre.

Space Funeral is free, and can be downloaded for Windows at gamejolt.


Games of 2010: Sleep is Death

Posted in games of 2010

That video I’ve embedded above the first part of a great little documentary of Jason Rohrer and Chris Crawford meeting at the 2009 IGF. The rest of it is available on this youtube playlist.

A lot of the documentary is about Storytron, Chris Crawford’s impossibly ambitious 17-years-in-the-making toolset for creating “Storyworlds”, interactive fiction games about interacting with incredibly complex “actors”. These are games about people, rather than games about things – as the IFWiki puts it, “a Storyworld is more concerned with modeling actors’ actions and reactions and their emotions and inclinations rather than the game world geography or the mundane objects that populate it.”

Near the end of the documentary, Jason tells Chris that at some point, he’d really like to try making a storyworld. Chris tries to talk him out of it, but he did it anyway – Sleep is Death is essentially Jason Rohrer’s take on Storytron. It solves the hard AI problem by simply using another human player.

I’ve only really had two or three very satisfying games of it – I generally make a mess of things when I’m the storyteller, and it can be a very slow game to play as the active player – but I think it’s an absolutely incredible concept. I wish I’d thought of it myself!

Sleep is Death costs whatever you want to pay for it, and is available at


Games of 2010: Fractal

Posted in games of 2010

Honestly, when I first tried the Fractal demo, it didn’t really do much for me. The basic mechanic of the game is kinda neat, but when I first played I had no intuition about what the results of my moves would be, and the chain-reaction heavy design of early levels made the game feel arbitrary. It wasn’t until I saw it again at Indiecade (where it was a finalist, and runner up for Best Sound) that I gave it a proper look. As it turns out, it’s actually an incredibly clever and well designed little game, and I’ve been totally hooked on it for the last few months.

What won me over is the brilliant “puzzle” mode (which is sadly not part of the demo). It starts with simple instructive levels, demonstrating the game’s main concepts with puzzles built around a few neat realisations. By the time you’re half way through the puzzle mode, you’ve developed that necessary intuition you need, and the main campaign mode becomes something far more enjoyable.

The other thing that won me over; the amazing soundtrack, which might be the best procedural music I’ve ever heard in a game.

Fractal costs $9.99, and is available at


Games of 2010: Super Crate Box

Posted in games of 2010

I first played this at this year’s BIGJam, where JW was showing it off and getting feedback from other designers. It’s incredibly addictive. Nobody who played it could put it down.

The basic concept is super simple; enemies spawn endlessly, but you don’t get score for shooting them – you get score by collecting crates. Each crate you collect gives you a new, random weapon, which means that every couple of seconds you’ve got to adjust to how that changes the gameplay. JW is incredibly prolific – the majority of his games he throws together in a couple of hours, but this he spent months meticulously tweaking, and it shows. This year’s IGF nominations were announced today, and I was absolutely delighted to see this get recognised for Excellence In Design.

Super Crate Box is free, and can be downloaded for Windows or Mac at


Games of 2010: REDDER

Posted in games of 2010

This blog post contains spoilers. REDDER is a short game, and I strongly recommend just playing it if you haven’t already.

I love REDDER because it makes explicit a difficult to articulate feeling I often have when I finish exploring well designed videogame worlds. It’s actually the same feeling I had when I got to the end of Final Fantasy VII, my favourite game, and found myself trapped in a huge world of NPCs that would forever repeat the same lines. Staring in the sky at that meteor.

This happens eventually with any kind of non linear, open game – at some point, you will have seen everything there is to see, done everything you can do, and there is nothing left except to trigger that final mission. Or wander a broken world like a ghost.

It’s uncomfortable. It exposes the strings holding the world together, it completely breaks your immersion with the world and it’s all the more powerful if that world is worth caring about in the first place, like it is in REDDER.

REDDER is free, and can be played online at Newgrounds here.