Summer Strange: Weird Ass Games You Never Knew You Wanted

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As many of you are painfully aware by now with the hole that Steam has burnt into your wallets, it’s Summer time. As such, it’s time to find titles to fill the void left by the annual lack of new videogames that comes with the season. I suppose the games industry believes that we should be outside playing with children our own age during these sunny months. I, for one, am not convinced. This is the time when I usually discover the smaller games that I heard little to nothing about earlier in the year, and for a lucky few, I’ll drop the cash to give them a chance. During my nightly trolling for a fix on Steam, I came across a few titles which reminded me that we live in a wonderful time in videogames, where weird concepts can come to life when a small group of people believes in an idea and executes.

There is some base fascination with finding oneself in a tricky situation and having to maneuver out of it. Spintires, the new title from Oovee Games, captures the essence of man’s eternal struggle against the earth as once told by the ancient Greeks. It is a Perfect allegory wrapped up in a game about getting a truck from point A to point B and occasionally getting stuck in the mud. Brilliant. While it is still seemingly in its early stages, this game has sold over 100,000 copies over the course of the month since it has been released. I first heard these figures and thought that there must be some mistake. Perhaps a good 60,000 of those buyers confused the title for the digital version of the popular German children’s game Sein Teir, loosely translated to “Be an Animal,” a game where one child pretends to be a wild animal and the rest of the children have to catch, bind, and beat him. A few years ealier, a game like Spintires would have been reserved only for the most niche enthusiasts – the Farm Simulator crowd, but with amazing physics and a clear dedication to the concept, this small team has created quite a popular curiosity.

 

Mud Fun

Base image provided by CarStuckGirls.com….yeah, apparently that’s a thing people are into.

 

Diving deeper, there are more and more acutely conceptual titles that are garnering huge support from the fans on Steam. A game by the name of Sunless Seas from Failbetter Games has a tagline that is right up my alley: “Lose your mind. Eat your crew.” Sunless Seas is a game about sea exploration in which players choose a set of motivations and skills and set off to find what lies beyond the seas. It sounds like Oregon Trail on water with a super creepy vibe. Anyone in their right mind knows that the worst things exist under the sea and those things deserve to remain shrouded in darkness below the surface where they can’t hurt us. Where this game absolutely prevails over Oregon Trail for me is that when I was a kid playing that game in my 5th grade class, I had always hoped my settlers would react as I would in some of those more perilous situations. As many children as my avatar lost to coyotes, dysentery, and being swept away during river crossings, I’m sure he would eventually snap, or at least eat the occasional hitchhiker when food got scarce. The dream is alive in Sunless Seas. The idea of deep exploration of the high seas sounds exciting enough in itself, especially with the amount of strange quests that this title offers to players, but it’s great to know that I’ve got a food reserve on board when things get hairy. Sunless Seas features a global trade system, expansive exploration options, and a deal of humor to keep players hooked. For fans of Failbetter's earlier games, Sunless Seas is also set within the same universe as their earlier hit Fallen London.

Blue-River-Crossing--Angler

Would you like to cross?

In hindsight, we played a lot of fairly messed up games as kids. The game of "Would You Rather" began fairly innocently with choices like “would you rather eat a worm or kiss Dirty Suzie who always has sores on her lip for some reason?” As we got older the questions became more along the lines of “would you rather have your best friend get hit by a car or wake up tomorrow morning with your penis gone?” The guys and gal over at Destructeam have created Gods Will be Watching, a game that takes that spirit of high stakes "Would You Rather" to a new level. In this game, players are faced with a series of situations where they must make decisions that could either benefit themselves or their fellow humans when trapped in hostage situations and the like. Would you sacrifice yourself to possibly save others? What can you say in the split second before your partner has his arm so unceremoniously removed from his torso by your captors that might cause them to reconsiderPersonally I would like to see both endings. Following the storyline of Sgt. Burden and his team, players will face moral dilemmas while navigating narrative puzzles which may give pause to the weakhearted. Sometimes the heroic choice is simply not the right one but decisions must be made, as is life. This game allows players to explore that and see how dark the world can get.

We live in a glorious time where the kids who grew up with games and thought “wouldn’t it be cool if” are in a position to make their own games. That, my friends, is how we end up with gems like these that stretch the imagination of what a game can be, taking a great concept and giving it life. It is no wonder why I can’t seem to keep any money in my Steam wallet these days. There are simply too many great concepts being brought to us by groups of individuals with smart ideas and the gumption to make them happen. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go throw more money at Steam for bringing my childhood to life.

Jon Malloy

Jon Malloy

Senior Writer & Editor at What's Jump?
Jon is a writer and co-founder of “What’s Jump?” With a passion for gaming, comedy, and discussion, Jon works to bring his unique views, along with a bit of humor, to his writing. With a background in information technology and development, his interests lean toward the newest trends and technological advancements. Reporting for “What’s Jump?” he is at home both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.
Jon Malloy
Jon Malloy

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