GDC: Experimental games shown, playable

Be a shadow, change a poem, chase a swan.

Hot on the GDC-heels of award-winning independent games comes a batch of creations from the Experimental Gameplay Sessions.

These range from first-person painting to 4D platformers, according to MTV Multiplayer, which dutifully attempts explanations of each.

The Unfinished Swan is the first-person painting game, based on a young boy who is chasing a swan. All players see upon start is white, but by throwing balls of black paint, walls, floors and objects are splattered and discovered, helping boy find his way. Videos and screenshots can be found on developer Giant Sparrow's website. (You may also remember Unfinished swan from our Indie & Esoterica edition of Coming Attractions.)

Storyteller, Fate, and Today I Die are all by developer Daniel Benmergui. Storyteller is a three-panel storyboard featuring a trio of characters that can be moved around to affect the latter panels of the story. It's a bit strange, and can be played now.

Fate, on the other hand, is a static take on Super Mario Bros., in which all of Mario's possible positions are displayed at once. On a flat level that would mean a line of Marios stretching along the floor from left to right. The idea here, however, is to grab stars and avoid enemies by jumping, causing bumps in the line. Fate twists this formula by not allowing Mario to die; blocks move to stop Mario falling on a bed of spikes, for example.

Benmergui's final game, Today I Die, has players rearrange words in a poem to affect an on-screen character. Rearrange "today I die" to "today I shine", for example, and a lady plummeting to her death becomes radiant and floats.

Achron is a time-travel RTS that has been 10 years in the making. It's described as "a race to the past" and, on a basic level, lets players send units back in time to affect the future. Chronal energy to perform these manoeuvres is limited and can only be recharged in the present, however, and the amount of moves per timeline are restricted. There are plenty more chronological twists along the way, which are explained better on the Achron website.

Closure is a 2D platformer built on a light-and-dark gameplay mechanic. Only illuminated areas are solid; passing through a wall would involve removing the light source illuminating it before jumping through. You can play this now over on the Closure website.

Spy Party is a game by Spore man Chris Hecker for two players: Spy and Sniper. A cocktail party provides the setting, in which the Spy will be asked to complete an objective such as bugging an ambassador. The Sniper, on the other hand, will simply have to sit back and watch, looking for minute and subtle giveaways that will identify the Spy who can then be shot in the face.

Shadow Physics follows a shadow character navigating a 2D wall. He'll come across shadow obstacles, though, but these can be manipulated by interacting with the 3D objects responsible for casting them. The light source can also be moved.

Miegakure is the 4D platformer mentioned above, but MTV Multiplayer struggles to describe gameplay, which involves a mind-boggling array of dimensional manipulation to get from A to B.

Last but not least is Where's My Heart?, a platformer that has dropped side-scrolling in favour of showing every screen at once as part of a massive collage.

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About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer  |  Clert

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.


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