The YoYo Games Slush Pile

And another Ludus Novus hiatus comes to an end. I left my previous job, and just a few days before my final work day, my computer was stolen. Everything’s straightened out now, and I’m working on some personal projects and living on savings while I figure out where to go next. I just need to figure out how to make my first million making and discussing video games.

Over at the YoYo Games “glog”, the creators of Game Maker put out a call to rate all unrated games. I’ve spent a few hours this afternoon combing through the chaff. A natural consequence of a system like Game Maker — where it’s so easy to make a video game with minimal programming experience — is that most of the games seem to be made by nine-year-olds. I’ve played games that were distributed as uncompiled .gmk files, games that crash on startup, games that do nothing on startup, racist games, and about 712 versions of Pong, Breakout, and Pac-Man.

When sifting through trash, you do sometimes find a treasure or two. I didn’t find any hidden masterpieces, but I did come across a handful of very solid games. You can check out my list after the fold.

Quarantine, by AJ Young, is a heavily Halo-inspired game with a truly epic, if overenthusiastic, years-long storyline. Cities are infected, planets are teleported, and through it all some guy named Mike gets put in charge of a lot of missions despite getting a lot of people killed. The gameplay’s a bit simple, and the dialogue’s a bit ungrammatical, but I had fun.

Derelict, by Phillip Burke, has the most faithful bullet casing simulation of any 2D game I’ve played. It’s a strangely atmospheric game where you shoot stuff and stuff shoots you. Unfortunately, I ran into a bug around level 10, but it passed the time.

Two games by Baco caught my eye: Ship Commander and Slave. Both are in Spanish but easily playable. Ship Commander is a charming scrolling shooter with retro stylings a la 1942 (numpad 1 fires your guns). Slave is a classily done box-pushing game. Neither is all that original, but both are well-executed.

So if you’re interested in finding something obscure but fun, check out the slush pile at YoYo Games. You can find unrated games or even unplayed games. Just be ready to wade through a lot of Mario ripoffs, barely-modified examples, and, oddly enough, music players along the way. And let me know if you find anything especially cool.

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