Looking for the best "little" storytelling games
January 5, 2012 10:08 AM   Subscribe

What are the best interactive/short/quirky/unusual "art games" that you've played?

Ones that I've enjoyed in the past include "But That Was Yesterday," "pOnd," and whatever that game was where you were a scientist that went to work every day and the world was dying. Currently playing "To the Moon." Also loved Braid and Bastion, but am more looking for quirky, "little" games that aspire to emotional resonance and storytelling.
posted by jbickers to Computers & Internet (21 answers total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
There was some very pixelated game where you were a young person moving only east, you could find treasure chests and had to navigate obstacles (really just blocks in your path). You could also find a spouse but then it made getting past things harder as you were now two pixels instead of one.

You got older as you moved east until you died. I think your wife or you could die first and the other would carry on.

Can't remember the name of it for the life of me. It was from a few years ago.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:20 AM on January 5, 2012

I like all the little games at Orisinal.
posted by ApathyGirl at 10:23 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: OnTheLastCastle - yes, Passage. That's a perfect example of the kind of thing I'm looking for.
posted by jbickers at 10:28 AM on January 5, 2012

posted by trunk muffins at 10:29 AM on January 5, 2012

Response by poster: Not to thread-sit, but I remembered another one I loved - "Everyday the Same Dream." In case that helps.
posted by jbickers at 10:30 AM on January 5, 2012

Submachine. Only 1 and 0 (the prequel) are really short, and the story kicks in later, but... terrific, atmospheric, games. Start at 1.
posted by pie ninja at 10:41 AM on January 5, 2012

The Company of Myself
posted by RobotHero at 10:52 AM on January 5, 2012

There are several very nice games by Amanita Design, including the Samorost series. Here's a link to Samorost 1 online.

I recommend (I Fell in Love With) The Majesty of Colors, a self-described "pixel-horror" game. I enjoyed finding all the alternate endings. Here is the author's site with more games.

Definitely check out the downloadable game Seiklus, and check out her game recommendations.

Kongregate has a number of little quirky/arty Flash games. Some have varying levels of puzzle solving, but you may enjoy the following:

William and Sly 1 and 2 - artsy little game where you're a fox jumping around; may be more puzzle/questy than you want

K.O.L.M and K.O.L.M.2 - you're a little robot just trying to make his way in a hostile underground world who becomes a pawn in the "game" between his parents. It was very immersive as you try to figure out what's going on from the parts you hear.

Little Wheel is pretty short but another fun one. Story is more linear than I like, but it's quirky and entertaining.
posted by bookdragoness at 11:25 AM on January 5, 2012

I am scrolling through the game recommendations list I linked to above. It links to your original mentions, several of the ones I remembered above, and it keeps reminding me of even more artsy games I enjoyed, like Eyezmaze' games and Small World.
posted by bookdragoness at 11:29 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

You Have To Burn The Rope is pretty profound.
posted by Lorc at 11:29 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here's some of the games I've favorited on my Kongregate profile (in no particular order). All of them are short art games, some in established genres that do something new and others are a bit more conceptual like Passage:

The Majesty of Colors
I Wish I Were the Moon
Good Fortune
Silent Conversation
Bars of Black and White
I Can Hold My Breath Forever
The Book of Living Magic (this one is a bit long)
Hero's Adventure

And also:
Today I Die

A Half-Life 2 mod called Dear Esther is also worth looking at, though the creator is currently funded to expand upon it so you might want to wait for the full release.

Have you played Jason Rohrer's other games?

You might also want to look up "Experimental Gameplay Workshop" from GDC, which is where Katamari and Braid were first presented to the public, and has brought attention to a number of new trends in gameplay/'art' games. They go through 1-2 dozen games in a session, many of which aren't very good 'games' but do very interesting things with gameplay.
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 11:33 AM on January 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

A House in California

"I recommend (I Fell in Love With) The Majesty of Colors, a self-described "pixel-horror" game. I enjoyed finding all the alternate endings. Here is the author's site with more games."

Gregory Weir is a great indie designer - his style are art games with a somewhat dark/Lovecraftian mood. I've linked to many of his games above, but forgot this gem: How to Raise a Dragon
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 11:57 AM on January 5, 2012

Adam Cadre's 9:05 is a fun little exploration of the distinction between player and player character.
posted by dfan at 12:57 PM on January 5, 2012

The End is a lot of fun and makes you think a bit if you decide to take the questions seriously
posted by Mchelly at 2:30 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by fight or flight at 2:39 PM on January 5, 2012

Might be a little too large, but Machinarium is a visually-driven artsy game with no dialogue or text.
posted by troll at 3:01 PM on January 5, 2012

Have you played Gravity Bone? It's from a couple years ago, but didn't get much attention. It takes about an hour to play, and is fantastic. It's a very tiny spy thriller-ish thing.
posted by Sibrax at 3:27 PM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ancient Greek Punishment does what it says on the tin.
posted by Never Better at 11:41 AM on January 6, 2012

Stephen Lavelle's Opera Omnia
Anna Anthropy's Encyclopedia Fuckme
Christine Love's Digital: A Love Story

(these designers have other awesome games but those in particular are high on the emotional resonance and storytelling sliders)
posted by speicus at 12:32 AM on January 7, 2012

Amon26's All of Our Friends Are Dead and Au Sable (Windows only)
Highly atmospheric, with fairly disturbing visuals and sound and a touch of poetry. They need a bit of platforming skill though.

rotten_tater's suteF (trailer) (Windows only)
Again, highly disturbing visuals. Pretty challenging puzzles. Not a ton of story, but enough.

Somewhat recently mentioned on MeFi was To the Moon (costs money, Windows only)
Entirely story based.

Christine Love's don't take it personally, babe is my favourite of her works. (Mac/Linux/Windows)
Entirely story based.

All I can think of at the moment.
posted by Violence at 6:57 AM on January 8, 2012

Seconding don't take it personally, babe, but recognize that the player character isn't supposed to be you, and what he does is supposed to creep you out. Otherwise you may delete it with disgust :p.

increpare's Pirouette is pretty special.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 9:30 AM on January 8, 2012

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