This Anthology of Sci-Fi Games Will Swallow Your Afternoon

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Game jams are interesting creatures. A bunch of amateur game developers crowd into a space for a short time to build a bunch of short games, usually based on a theme. The results usually vary from intellectual meditation on an idea to nonsensical blur of chaotic fun. A few of those games go on to be fleshed out and refined into things like Nidhogg or the upcoming Party Hard. Outside of those few lucky titles, most of the genius and spontaneity of game jams is lost on the larger public. Antholojam, from Zoe Quinn and Alex Lifschitz aims to broaden the audience a bit. 

Enter the fifteen games created in the first Antholojam. Based around the theme of "golden age sci-fi" (think Flash Gordon, Forbidden Planet and Rocketship XM) They were all built in about a month; much longer than some game jams, and are all playable in-browser from the anthology's site. They're fairly short, but I think you'll find them well worth the time.

Take Steal My Artificial Heart, for example. You play a robotic P.I. trying to solve a murder on a small lunar colony. The art is nicely polished and the story plays out like a comedic film noir. 

The one on the left is dead. You're the PI, the rest are suspects.

Killing Time at Lightspeed is another adventure game. You're on a journey to a distant planet that requires you to live aboard a ship for a significant part of your life, sort of. Time is funny at lightspeed. You'll spend your time on board by browsing social media to learn more about who you are, where you're going, and why you left in the first place. 

I could go on for a while about the various games in the anthology. Really, it's best if you try them for yourself. If you really like what you get from the games, consider donating something to the creators. The anthology is available for download as a pay what you want bundle. Give something, even a few cents to thank the participants for their time.