University of Malta's Institute of Digital Games professor Pippin Barr has a knack for making very simple, very funny games that often provide quirky twists on conventional game design. Just take his unwinnable browser-based retelling of greek myths, Ancient Greek Punishment, for example. Now Barr has taken to parodying the indie scene by creating a host of free curios riffing off the latest scrappy charmers to penetrate the cultural zeitgeist in his Mumble Indie Bungle.
Available on PC and Mac, the "Bungle" contains the following free titles: 30 Flights of Loathing, Gurney, Spy Parity, Proteas and World of Glue. Players can purchase the sixth's title, Carp Life, for any amount of money that isn't nothing.
Each game is less a parody of its namesake than a hilariously literal rendition of its stupid joke title, which somehow makes it funnier. "The idea for the collection, in keeping with the titles, is that it's meant to be this set of crappy indie games that someone perhaps bought for you, mistaking them for the originals," said Barr on his blog. "The challenge for me, then, is to make the game that fits the title, and that is also somehow 'wrong' and would fit into this odd, misshapen bundle."
Barr explained on his blog that he was inspired by a supervisors advice to "pick the title first" when writing papers and he figured this would work with game design, too. "I firmly believe there is truth to that. The benefit, so far, is that it's kind of forcing me to make games a little more outside my comfort zone because the 'misheard' names tend to suggest something specific, independently of what I might want to make."
I don't want to spoil the joke by explaining what each game is, suffice to say that 30 Flights of Loathing features an awkwardly grim ascent, Gurney is a hopeless rumination on where religion and mortality intersect (and naturally the least comedic of the bunch), Proteas is a gardening simulator of sorts, Spy Parity is a split-screen heist game where two characters must move in unison, Carp Life is a literal rendition of a carp's boring life, and World of Glue puts the platforming player in a sticky situation.
Check out the Mumble Indie Bungle at Pippin Barr's official site.