The podcast’s recent discussion of Kitty Horrorshow sent me down a rabbit hole trying to find notable examples of experimental game design, and I’m sure y’all know a lot more about this kind of thing than me. I’m trying to collect a list of designers and works that push against the limits of their medium and seek to interrogate the assumptions brought by the user/player. Ideally these would be high-concept games that rely on the subversion of preconceived notions, rather than on narrative or art style. They could also blur the line between “game” and art installation/gallery piece. I would also love to include notable works of Interactive Fiction (which I’m mostly ignorant of) in this list.
I think it could be very valuable to build a syllabus of works that force us to reframe our ideas of what computer games are and how they operate. To start, I’m mostly looking to populate a large list, without worrying about the merit or worthiness of any individual suggestion. I’d also like to start with smaller, independent works - for example, I think Nier hits all of these qualifications, but I’d rather focus on other things to keep it interesting. I did search for this topic to see if anyone else already did this, so if this was already done I apologize!
I’ll just start off with a few works to give you an idea of what I have in mind. Feel free to share links/itch.io’s!
Michael Brough - 868-HACK; Cinco Paus
Kitty Horrorshow - Anatomy
Sean Han Tani - All Our Asias
Ian Cheng - Bad Corgi; other gallery installations
Sam Barlow - Her Story
Zoe Quinn - Depression Quest
Aaron’s Reed - Blue Lacuna
These are in no way systematic or encyclopedic, just things I’ve encountered by chance that might fit this category. I also haven’t played all of these, so if anything is secretly super-problematic please lemme know. Thanks!!