So today I should be posting about the latest book in my Virtual Book Club schedule, but I got a wee bit distracted so I am here to talk to you all about something else instead! As you may or may not know, I love games. I tend to go for idle ones that I can stick on in the background as I do other things, but I also love ones that are story driven with interesting characters. I also try to be a good person and support causes that need help. Try being the operative word as I am rarely as effective as I would like to be, but that’s not really important right now.
The gaming website Itch.io has made a bundle of games that you can buy to raise money for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Community Bail Fund. There are over 700 games in this bundle and they are only asking for a minimum of $5, which means that you are paying less than a cent for each game. Of course, that is only the minimum that they are asking for, so you can donate more, according to the page, someone donated $5000 which is fantastic! But anyway, I thought I might use my corner of the internet here to draw your attention to it since it is for such an important cause.
As there are so many games in the bundle giving you a list of all of them would be very difficult and reviewing them would be next to impossible. So instead I am going to list a few of the ones that have caught my eye and hopefully it might tempt you to go and buy this excellent bundle and support these important causes.
First of all, though they’re not games, I thought it would be good to point out that a lot of the items in the bundle are actually there to help you make your own games! You can download files with art for backgrounds and characters, plus programs which will help you design games. Now, I am a writer and very happy to stay on that side of the video game creating world (I cannot code, it just is not a skill I seem able to learn, no matter how many times I try) but for those of you that might be tempted to try your hand at it, this may be a very good resource for you. At the very least, having these to fall back on as place holders will make things look better in the short term. And having access to pre-written programs will definitely speed up your work if you are looking to make your own games.
A lot of the games in the bundle are ones that are more game adjacent, or that gamify daily tasks. One of these is Deskspace, which is a self-care app with options for making to-do lists, rating how you feel each day, and timers to remind you to take a break or when you should stop taking a break. It’s very nice and minimalist, it looks like, well, a desk. So there are no extra bits to get distracted by.
There are also a lot of life simulators, like Verdant Skies, where you live on a farm and grow crops. Some are more realistic, while others just decide that realism isn’t that important, and so you can raise monsters on your farm, or befriend monsters in a nearby village. One example of this is Mon Cuties For All, where you have lots of cute fluffy friends to look after on a farm.
You can also pick up the PDFs for various Table Top games as a part of this bundle. A lot of these are going to need more than just the one person to play, but that might be a bonus for you, especially if you are in quarantine or lockdown at the moment and need something to do with friends or family. There’s Corvid Court, which is about assassins and mercenaries going around the city of Nest doing bad things. You can also play explorers investigating “the dark remnants of ancient Earth” in In The Light of a Ghost Star, which sounds very cool and I do want to see if there’s a group that I can scrounge up to play that.
There are several visual novels on the list as well. These stories usually have a set story, but the way you find out what has happened changes depending on how you go about it. For some, it might be that if you click on one character over another, you get their opinion first. Or maybe it’s less obvious than that, and instead, characters may tell you different things depending on when you ask them. And for some of them, it is even simpler than that.
Some of the games are really big pieces of work too. I don’t wish to minimise anyone’s contribution, but wow! In Airships Conquer the Skies, for example, you make a steampunk airship and then battle with it! And in Beacon, your character goes around stealing the DNA of your enemies so you can mutate yourself into a more powerful warrior! I am pointing these games out in particular because to buy them outside of this bundle you’d be spending $15/$20 at a time, so you can see that their creators are being really generous including them in this bundle!
And that is, I guess what I am wanting to say about this bundle. These games are massive pieces of work to people. They might be something that they spent hours upon hours on, and they are willing to donate the money they would make from them for a good cause. So, go check them out. Buy the bundle. There are 700+ games in it, you are going to be able to find something you enjoy playing in that amount. I’m not going to bet on it, because then someone would try to prove me wrong, I know how the internet works.
But yeah, check it out here. Leave a comment if you do and maybe tell me what games caught your attention in the bundle.
Also, Itch.io is a great source for games and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to play more indie games in general. They tend to be a lot more experimental than the games that become common knowledge, so it’s a good place for finding inspiration and having fun.