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This Week's Waste of Time

Independent Games Festival = cubicle fun = no productivity

By James Renovitch, 4:22PM, Fri. Nov. 4, 2011

If you do some mental math, I almost won this round
If you do some mental math, I almost won this round

Have you recovered from last week's Independent Games Festival selections? Good, because it's time to sift through entries 100 through 230. Did I mention that there are roughly 600 of these games? Lucky for you only a small portion are playable on standard Internet browsers or you'd get nothing done. Here are those games:

From the mind of Dr. Bennett Foddy (creator of the near-impossible 100-meter dash game QWOP) comes the frustrating and mind-bending GIRP. It's a rock-climbing simulator in the loosest sense of the term. Each grippable ring has a letter associated with it that must be held if you want to grab it and avoid the ever-rising waters. Hit the shift key to lift yourself up. The game quickly turns into keyboard Twister with your brain straining to keep up with what finger can be lifted and where it should go. It's fun to play just to watch your brain adapt to the painfully tricky controls.

Haunt the House tasks the player with controlling a ghost who can in turn possess various objects within the titular abode. Use your powers to scare people just enough and in just the right direction to make them flee from your rightful house. People are unpredictable when they're terrified, so it's harder than you might think.

Messhof's keeps his signature weirdness in check with straightforward multiplayer strategy game HexTank. The shaky art style that you may recognize from his previous games along with the constantly ticking turn timer make the game a kinetic experience that ups the fun as more players join in on the action. Get your cubicle neighbor to drop everything and proceed to blow him or her to smithereens.

This week's winner for best browser game is Hundreds from Greg Wohlwend (aka aeiou). TWWT has covered Wohlwend and his sometimes coding helper Mike Boxleiter's games before (you need to play Solipskier right now). On his own, Wohlwend has created a game that channels the anxiety inducing simplicity of Tetris and literally rounds out the edges. Small floating circles bounce around the screen; your job is to make the circles bigger by mousing over them. The trick? You can't be touching a circle when it collides with another circle. The rules are simple but keeping numerous trajectories in your mind while trying to keep your mouse on a moving target proves harder in practice than in theory.

We're not even halfway through all the IGF entries, so ration your excitement. Stay tuned for next week's offerings.

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