Indiepocalypse to me is multiple things and I don’t want to ramble too much, so I will say that Indiepocalypse is not only a celebration of the art form of games and these personal and experimental experiences that come with but also a way each month to get to play these games that I(and you) might not have otherwise come across before.
When I first started the daunting task of writing down my favourites I had already written down twenty games from the first year of editions alone. It was an incredibly hard task to narrow down further, and I am now deeply honoured to present and talk about my top ten favourite games from Indiepocalypse.
Crafting consent is a 2-player game about consent and creating a piece of art together. Creating the loom requires the hands of both players(with two different play styles to choose from!) and with a lack of a hard-win condition, the concept of consent and communication in a non-sexual way is not just encouraged but required. I personally really liked seeing a game touch on the importance of consent in a platonic way, and it was also cool to finish the game and end up with a piece of art you had created with someone else.
flaming/million is a mayo-slathered fever dream for using the queer power of glitches to fight back against the heteronormative toxic masculinity plaguing the town. I strongly encourage you to acquire and read Nilson Carroll’s Zine video games have been queer on his itch as he describes the queer power of glitches (and so much more!) better than I can. My short explanation is that utilizing glitches allows us as players to subvert the expectations and roles placed on us by others(like developers or a cis-heteronormative society). It’s for this reason that I connected strongly with this game and its glitchy queerness.
Weird and Unfortunate Things Are Happening is a surreal cosmic horror RPG. Everything about this game was phenomenal. The writing was witty and smart and the plot was enthralling. The art, visual and musical, for each level was so well done and well-designed, causing each place to feel distinctive. As well, the battle system was super engaging with a fun strategic element to it. This game effortlessly had me invested within seconds of playing. A game that made me feel like I was younger playing RPGs on the SNES. I ended stayed up multiple nights in a row not wanting to stop playing because I wanted to see more of the story.
tony rawr is a bitsy game about skateboarding and finding communities. I despise gatekeeping in any form, and this game is the antithesis of that mindset. A game about finding new hobbies and communities and being welcomed by those communities with open arms. Like the people at skateparks with spare wheels, bandages, and snacks; who are willing to help new folks in the hobby. A game that is just as much about being new to a hobby but also being able to share a love of a hobby with a new person as well.
By Kai Clavier
The first time I played Hotel Paradise, I was instantly reminded of my first year of university, wandering through the bowels of the science building trying to make it to my first day of chemistry class on time. And while at the same time as invoking these anxious lost feelings, I also found this game paradoxically meditative to play. Wandering through the liminal halls while elevator music played was a soothing experience. Will it take me ten mins or an hour to find the room – who knows? This is a game that I regularly go back to to wander the halls multiple times.
madotsuki’s closet does not just tell but brings the player themselves along on a journey, starting with really interesting and informative breakdowns of Yume Nikki fan theories through to Bagenzo’s own autobiographical piece on being trans. This journey is strengthened further through the use of changing perspectives and styles coming from using bitsy and Twine in unique ways. A standout example of what can be done in bitsy/Twine. I found this to be such a beautiful and impactful game and I was honoured it was even created and shared with us(the players).
Playing Riba was a deeply personal and emotional experience for me. Without going into too much detail, I will say that a lot of us have dealt with or are dealing with the loss of a loved one to dementia. The colour palette and soft music allow for a quiet and reflective moment on loss and grief, an almost ritual of remembering those loved ones. I cried the whole game, but like good tears – therapeutic even.
By Maria Mison
There is no way I can even begin to describe how beautiful the writing in A HUNDRED THOUSAND PLACES is. A solo lyric game where Maria Mison brings you along on a journey as a Virgil of self-discovery. I have played the game multiple times and found the experience profound each time. It is a game that is just as fun to play at various points in your life as it is to play as someone else – like maybe your tabletop RPG characters.
One of my favourite genres of games is horror, and I would love to talk about how retro aesthetics add to the horror genre, but I don’t think I can fit that into this list. I will say that The Manse on Soracca nails the retro 8/16-bit horror-adventure style perfectly. An eldritch horror game about searching for a missing woman. A game that made me feel like I had stumbled across an unmarked game at a garage sale with Manse on Soracca sharpied on with some duct tape. In a year of great horror games, this game was one of the best games I played!
novena is a beautiful bitsy poem game, and I struggle with not wanting to describe it too much because I don’t want to ruin the joy of experiencing this game for the first time for others. A game/poem, like all good poems, with many interpretations. Things like: the ocean, forgiveness, and the cyclical passage of time. The art and music are some of the best I have ever seen in a bitsy game. After finishing the game, I was left with the feeling that I played this game at exactly the right time in my life that I needed to.