Local Video Game Releases

A handful of local games showcase the weird side of interactive art

<i>Disorder</i>
Disorder

Disorder

Swagabyte Games
www.disordergame.com

"Violence is a complicated issue. Now go shoot everything between you and that goal." It's such a popular video-game trope that the dissonance barely registers anymore. Few games take the time to align what it tells you with what you actually do. The team at Swagabyte Games took this lesson to heart when they created Disorder, a 2-D platforming game that explores grief and mental illness. It's a disparate dichotomy. Can a style of play popularized by those lovable scamps Mario and Luigi offer insight into schizophrenia and emotional trauma? Disorder proves it can, as players run and jump their way to a kind of resolution. The controls are simple: left, right, jump, duck, and ... uh, swap worlds. Every level has a twin with slight variations in environment and player interaction. A simple tap offers access to that twin realm allowing entry to previously inaccessible areas. Disorder offers little hand-holding, which works well with the intuitive challenges and forgiving difficulty curve. By the end, alternating between sides of the dark mindscape becomes a reflex, and both the story and the interaction tell the same, difficult story.


I'm Null

www.mooosh.tv

It may be a "walking simulator," but I'm Null is one strange stroll. This free browser game from local game-maker Zak Ayles and sound designer Robin Arnott drops players in a world that consists of darkness, stark landscape features, and sculptures that look like three-dimensional line drawings. Headphones are recommended as you explore the colorless realm because distant sounds often lead to the next interaction with a pyramid, graveyard, or even other players. The vast quiet and dark spaces weigh equally on the mind as players stumble their way around in search of the next encounter.


Monkey Fortunetell

www.fortunetell.alienmelon.com

If having your fortune told just doesn't feel legit unless a digital, dancing monkey is assisting, then Monkey Fortunetell is for you. Local digital artist Rachel Weil (aka Party Time! Hexcellent!) helped create this self-described "glitzy glitching mystic divination." It's equal parts interactive art and prognosticator, assuming you trust life decisions to primates.


Vertical Golf

oeFun
www.oeFun.com

Vertical Golf turns the iOS sensation Desert Golfing on its ear. Actually, on its side. Instead of the infinite side-scrolling of the original, VG puts the tee in a deep chasm and the hole high above. It doesn't have the lonely elegance of DG's soul-crushing landscape, but it's hard to say no to a fun and free challenge to while away a few hours.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Screens Reviews
What If the Marx Brothers Got Around to Making That Movie With Salvador Dalí?
What If the Marx Brothers Got Around to Making That Movie With Salvador Dalí?
Josh Frank brings the legendary unproduced movie to printed life

Wayne Alan Brenner, March 22, 2019

What If <i>The Texas Chain Saw Massacre</i> Was Really About the Horrors of Modern American Society?
What If The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Was Really About the Horrors of Modern American Society?
Putting the Austin-made seminal slasher back into context

Marc Savlov, March 22, 2019

More by James Renovitch
VR Arena Adds Cardio to Your Virtual Experience
VR Arena Adds Cardio to Your Virtual Experience
Virtuix’s new attraction at Pinballz has players running and gunning without moving

March 22, 2019

Austin Video Game Developer Certain Affinity Announces Original Title, <i>Last Expedition</i>
Austin Video Game Developer Certain Affinity Announces Original Title, Last Expedition
Independent game studio also plans expansion to offices in Toronto

Jan. 30, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Local video games, Disorder, I'm null, Vertical Golf, Monkey Fortunetell, Swagabyte, Party Time! Hexcellent!, Zak Ayles, Robin Arnott, oeFun

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle