There’s an indie game revolution going on right now: bedroom hackers are changing multiplayer forever, and two-man teams can even knock the giants of the industry off the top of the iPhone game download charts. But it’s still hard for most game makers to get published and get noticed. Fret not, though: that’s where Steam Greenlight comes in.
Greenlight lets all 40 million users of game download service Steam vote on upcoming indie games: the ones which get the most will actually get published on Steam, a surefire route to success.
There are already hundreds of game ideas on Greenlight awaiting your virtual thumbs up, and they range from the inspiring to the, well, downright disturbing. Here are ten of the most bizarre games you can help get made today. Is one of these the next Octodad: Dadliest Catch?
To say that this PC port of an Xbox Live point and click adventure game is ‘high concept’ would be putting it mildly. Imagine you’re a fish, right, and then you swim to Libya by accident. And then, right, you get caught up in the civil war and have to help topple Ghaddafi. Why didn’t we think of that first?
Side scrolling beat’em ups were all the rage back in the 90s, and Let’s Get Fiscal was lovingly inspired by them. But this is no Golden Axe: instead, you play an accountant sorting out his workplace issues with his fists. The Greenlight pitch also promises ninjas in hot tubs, although we get the feeling that developer Baller Industries came up with the terrible pun of a title first and bolted everything else on afterwards.
You can do some incredible things with Microsoft’s Kinect, from playing Super Mario by jumping, to parking your car with no hands.
You can also play as a ski park ranger, tasked with the exciting job of “maintaining the law and order of his mountain district”, as the developers describe it. Given that you’ll have to hack a Kinect to work with your PC to play this, we can see the audience being a bit, how shall we say, niche.
It’s an old timey lemonade factory where everyone sports wispy moustaches, and it’s up to you to work your way through its levels, helping co-workers increase production by jumping and moving blocks around. It was a hit on iPhone so, fingers crossed those touch controls translate to your laptop.
Unlike some of the other games on Steam Greenlight, this one looks like it’s actually been thought out with some degree of care, rather than pieced together by pulling fridge magnet words out of a bag. It’s an unsettling horror game set in a Soviet bunker that’s equal parts Silent Hill and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
It’s the simple revenge tale - as old as Hamlet - but instead of an evil gangster murdering your father, an ostrich did it. With a shotgun. What follows is level after level of animated avian slaughter that would surely make Rovio’s angry birds think twice about launching themselves from a catapult again any time soon.
A game where you play a fish fighting a North African dictator seems like a guaranteed cash cow compared to this, a top down game where you play as a medieval knight - except you're a medieval knight who also happens to be a washing machine. It's up to you to destroy other washing machine enemies roaming the countryside with your lance. No, we’re not sure why the big publishers didn't bite on this one either.
Many Stream Greenlight games take refuge in a faux-retro design to hide the fact that they have to be made on a shoestring, but this cel-shaded 3D puzzle game looks surprisingly polished. You play an umbrella-wielding hero who can change time to her advantage, travelling back to take out enemies before they even realise you’re there. The arch-villain you’re after is called “Moustache Girl”, but we can let the questionable plot by given its graphical promise.
Mort is an eager young skeleton, keen to work his way up the ladder in the afterlife. But right now, he’s stuck picking up the coffee for the boss. It’s not all boredom and ring binders though: he’s got to jump over spike pits and lava to get to there. What happens if you die in the afterlife, you ask? That’s a plot hole this game pitch fails to address.
You play as a homeless Mexican wrestler, fighting to survive against a ceaseless army of sci-fi fans dressed as space marines. No explanation is offered as to why you should hate men in fancy dress so much, especially when wrestlers themselves are so fond of spandex, but based on this trailer, there are probably more pressing things that need to be fixed.
This is video game as satire. Sick of modern games stinging you for more money with every new level and DLC (downloadable content) update? DLC Quest sympathises: there are 16 different DLC packs, each offering “quiet introspection on the state of the gaming industry”, as well as ten awards to “make you feel reasonably satisfied with yourself”, all of which you have to pay for with (thankfully in-game) coins. It was a hit on Xbox Live, so if you’re peeved about a rubbish new character costume you shelled out for, give this one a vote.
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