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The Found Art Of Gingiva

12. June 2014

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Gingiva is a bizarre adventure RPG game by developer John Clowder (AKA myformerselves) where the player assumes the role of a toy-like, wind-up automaton escaping from a strange and oppressive factory. The game takes place in a decidedly unsettling world... a psychedelic, dystopian landscape built from of found objects, cutouts of old texts, hand-drawn scraps, and glitchy pixel art. It's uncomfortable, often macabre, and pretty intriguing.

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Demon Chic

13. May 2013

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Demon Chic is a psychedelic hand-drawn RPG-ish iOS game full of bizarre and nonsensical creatures. It’s at the intersection of animated cartoons, a television sitcom, and the sketchbook of a madman. The three main characters are subjected to wild hallucinations of griffins, ghosts, demon cops, venus flytraps, disembodied heads, walking tree monsters, hooved TV men, golems, and other nonsensical monsters as they juggle mundane, real-world problems. The game bounces around between various levels of realism and rendering styles, full of surreal vignettes and mini-games that keep the player surprised, entertained, and often delightfully confused.

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Connection via Control: Thirteen Gates

13. December 2012

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Thirteen Gates is a strangely disorienting first-person exploration game by Ian Snyder that withholds most of the normal cues of a 3D space. There is none of the lighting, depth of field, texture mapping, or atmospheric effects that might normally aid a player in perceiving depth and perspective. A "spiritual successor" to one of Snyder's previous games Feign, Thirteen Gates takes his minimalist first-person experiments one step further, creating a world so abstracted that, without player movement, the world becomes completely unrecognizable as an interactive space:

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Fotonica

2. September 2011

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Fotonica is a fast-paced, first-person, rail running game developed by Italian game design studio Santa Ragione, made up of Pietro Righi Riva and Nicolò Tedeschi. Its visual style is a psychedelic throwback to vector arcade classics like Tempest and cult console favorites like REZ and Space Giraffe:

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Back to Reality: Norrland by Cactus

23. August 2010

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Norrland was created by Swedish freeware game designer Jonatan Söderström (also known simply as Cactus), who has released over 40 titles between 2005 and 2010. He has been nominated for multiple awards in the annual Independent Games Festival, namely Excellence In Visual Arts and Excellence in Audio in 2008 for Clean Asia, and the Nuovo Award in 2010 for Tuning. In Norrland, you play as a man out on a hunting trip in rural northern Sweden who, throughout a series of rather sadistic and perverse minigames, has violent encounters with nature, suffers from bizarre, psychedelic dreams, and manages gratuitously explicit everyday camping necessities.

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The Odd World of Vasily Zotov

28. July 2010

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The games of Vasily Zotov are in the puzzle adventure genre, with fantastical overtones and somewhat autobiographical narrative themes... or, as Zotov calls it: "a little bit of truth reflecting through the fiction." Zotov, a Russian immigrant who lives in Los Angeles, has been involved in a deportation struggle with US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, and his real-life struggles have proven very influential to his games. The series, consisting of the games SpaceSpy, Refugee, and Refugee: The Second Hearing, tells the story of a homeless "alien" character who emerges from the sewers in Hollywood, is admitted to a psych ward and escapes, and eventually appears before and escapes an extradition court, all under the gaze of the ominous "Director Canavati".

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Hazard: The Journey of Life

19. October 2009

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Hazard: The Journey of Life is a "Philosophical First Person Single Player Exploration Puzzle Art Game" where the player must work their way through a succession of byzantine corridors, solving a series of spacial problems, in order to liberate themselves from captivity. Each challenge rewards the player with a simple lesson, and the promise that they are just that much closer to freedom. The journey serves as an analogue for the types of problems one inherently encounters throughout life, and all the unpredictability that goes along with it.

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The Absurdity of Golf?

15. September 2009

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I was first introduced to Golf? at the Independent Games Festival at GDC2005 in San Jose, and again later that year at the IndieGamesCon in Oregon. This game has since found a place in my mind as the ultimate holy grail of bizarre game art, sealed by the fact that it was never officially released. Created by a joint effort from Detective Brand and Chronic Logic, Golf? is in fact a golf game that features a sort of macabre, misplaced, French art noir film-meets Alice in Wonderland art style.

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4 Minutes, 33 Seconds of Uniqueness

14. September 2009

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One of the more notable results of the 2009 Global Game Jam, was 4 Minutes, 33 Seconds of Uniqueness. Developed by Petri Purho (and team), who also created the clever indie breakout hit Crayon Physics Deluxe under his Kloonigames moniker. The game was created within a 24-our window and was provided by the competition with the theme "As long as we have each other, we'll never run out of problems".

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