Short & Sweet: The Vignette Game Thread


#1

Hi Waypoint-o-nauts, let’s talk about short games!

I find myself increasingly excited about “vignette games” - short games, usually playable in one sitting, often (but not always) with a narrative focus. Games that capture a single place or moment in time or just a feeling. Games that make a big impact in a small package. They can be hard to find because they are rarely covered by the videogame press, so let’s discuss them here.

What are your favorite short games or vignette games?


#2

I’ll start things off with a couple of my favorites:

Lieve Oma by Florian Veltman is a short game about mushroom hunting that captures the relationship between the protagonist and their grandmother.

Lost Constellation by Alec Holowka, Scott Benson, and Bethany Hockenberry somehow fits a ghost story, a folk tale, a love story, and meditation on religion into a short adventure game. Made by the NITW crew.


#3

Good topic! I’ll have to think on it more but right of the bat Q: A Dystopian Queuing Simulator was brief, memorable, and made standing in line anxiety-inducing.


#4

Cool, I’m always on the hunt for more vignette/short games in this style! Here’s a few of my favourites:

Statues by Space Backyard + Giucapan is very brief and it does a lot with very little.

air mail (rubna) has a very cute and gentle art style, and I just find this game very relaxing and pleasant to exist in. Same thing with chasing birds (davidczar).

Love the art in A Raven Monologue by Mojiken Studio.

Also, Shoot that Pizza by wstacey.


#5

Great suggestions y’all! I haven’t played any of those and I’m excited to try them out. :smiley:


#6

Since it’s the spooky month, I’ll recommend Anatomy from Kitty Horrorshow. It’s only $3, is full of creepy VHS/lo-fi aesthetics, and is a horrific joy to play late at night when the lights are off, your headphones are buzzing with static, and you’re home alone.


#7

Just going to rattle off a few without description here, they’re all worth looking into:

Also I made a short bitsy called Minuit. It is also NSFW because, like Sleepy Time, it is about masturbation.


#8

What Remains of Edith Finch is, I think, a pretty good one? It didn’t strike me as a very long game and I finished it in in about 2 hours. Not sure that’s short enough for this thread, but it’s on the low side for me tbh.

There was another game I liked called Entity, which was by Palebits, about a girl with sleep paralysis that you have to help wake up by clicking away her hallucinations and using items around the room to keep more complex ones away. I think it was taken down though.


#9

The Writer Will Do Something, a text game about being the writer for the third installment in a AAA shooter franchise.


#10

Anna Anthropy’s Queers in Love at the End of the World still might be, to my mind, the indie game that makes the most expressive use of brevity.


#11

Mama Possum is another one I remember vividly. Iirc, Austin Walker retweeted it, which is how I found it. It’s about two sisters who pilot a giant possum-shaped mech and fend off kaiju in the Smokies. It’s primarily text based, with a few prompts to use the mech interface, and there is a warning there for some elements body horror on the page.


#12

Andi McClure’s He Never Showed Up is an impactful short textless game with a lo-fi aesthetic that reminds me of early VGA art. Whenever I play it again, I feel like I’m burning off a little frustration in exchange for a little melancholy.

From the creator of Cryptworlds, it’s Lost Town! Sweet in ways you haven’t been trained to expect.


#13

Starlight is quite neat.

Blind to Siberia strikes a nice balance between being strange and hopeful

Tonight you Die does a lot with audio and architecture (giant CW for suicide)

Glitchhikers is just magical (also a CW for suicide)

Everything Strangethink has made (unfortunately they deleted a bunch of their older works at some point)

All I want is for all of my friends to become insanely powerful still is my favourite Twine game


#14

I played air mail and hoooooly moly is that a cute game - thanks for the recommendation!

Here are a few stray thoughts about it. I love how manual / physical everything is: attaching letters to the plane with a string, how you have to pull back to lift the plane off the ground, the fact that you have to keep the button held to hold things. I even like how you have to wander around looking for fuel to fill up your plane when you run out. What’s interesting is that in a longer game that could be a huge annoyance, but here it’s very charming. The sounds and colors are very good. And the flying is also excellent - I only wish the letters and their recipients were further apart more often so I would have more of a chance to keep flying.

Anyway I think I’ll try to post in here with some thoughts whenever I play one of these suggestions, or if I find some other vignette game.

Y’all should feel free to join me in posting your own thoughts / impressions - we could make this thread a public vignette game diary!