Molyneux Magic: The Games of Molyjam 2013
Peter Needs a Pint by Michael Noland, Justin Allison, Kimani Hall and Derrick Nsibuka
Tim: A simple task, this: Peter Molyneux is in need of a pint, but he doesn’t want to drink alone. Are you a bad enough dude to wander around a series of areas, bumping into people to make them agree to a drink with Peter before your time limit expires? Careful, though! You’re part shark, so if you stop moving you die.
You could say it’s a timed, British, pint-centric version of Snake, but that’s selling it short. Peter Needs a Pint is really exposing that even gaming’s greatest auteurs sometimes have problems finding people to come out for a friendly pint, allowing us to relate to the person whose Twitter page inspired this very game jam. Touching, no?
Emotion-o-meter: Boundless joy, then either rage or depression that will end with you waking up the next day wondering why you’re covered in sick and where you got that traffic cone.
Rating: 27 pints of lager and an entire box of crisps. Cheers.
Real Boy by David, Barney, Jonathan Murphy, Gav Kusters, Ben Weatherall and Louis Meyer
Peter: Do you struggle through every day, feeling deep sadness that Milo never became a real game? Fear not, because Real Boy is here to show you just how disturbing that would probably have been. Scold and guide Timmy around his, err, “Boy Enclosure” and steer him towards toys, food and affection. Alternatively, watch him shit on his bed, make him eat it and then kill him.
This game truly captures the moral dilemmas inherent to modern parenting.
Emotion-o-meter: Love, bordering on pathological psychosis.
Rating: 7 Milos out of 10.
Appropriate Social Behavour by Jannek Egeskov Kristensen and Alexander Birke
Peter: You are approached by an endless stream of people demanding either a hug or handshake, as a gigantic, ever-changing photograph of Peter Molyneux towers over the desolate landscape. There is no victory state, nor any way to fail. If you do not offer the correct social response, the person will recoil from you in horror. Agree to their demands and more of them will come.
It’s pretty much a waking nightmare.
Emotion-o-meter: Extreme social pressure to conform.
Rating: Appropriate Social Anxiety, more like.
Dickadoodle by Colin Capurso and Andrew Gray
Tim: Dickadoodle confuses me, if only because it’s the sort of bizarre social experiment that Peter Molyneux actually might’ve come up with at 22 Cans. You’re presented with a crudely-drawn picture of something vaguely rude, like a willy or pair of tits. You then have to convert it into something *nice* by drawing more on the screen… and then you upload it to an online gallery, where people vote as to whether it’s “nice” or “rude”. Or, alternatively, you muck everything up by voting pictures of naked people as “Nice” and turn the crudely drawn dicks into masterpenises. It’s Draw Something: The Social Experiment. With lady parts.
Emotion-o-meter: Raw whimsy. And then maybe horror if you look at the rudest-rated ones.
Rating: 16 pretty hills out of 4 crude willies.
Plane Patrol by Bob Morate, Maximilian Stolze and Philipp Sendek
Peter: Thrust into the role of a cuboid man on a plane, you are in charge of keeping the aircraft free of pesky mobile phone calls. If someone makes a call, they highlight by growing in size and the plane starts to nose-dive towards the ground. Your task is to grab them, move to the nearest exit and toss ‘em out. Just as a real Air Marshal would do. Probably. This gives the plane time to gain a bit more altitude before the next call.
While the controls are a little rough, Plane Patrol’s premise is actually pretty good. There’s an urgency in locating and dealing with each phoning miscreant, as well as an incentive to act swiftly. Might be a bit controversial in light of recent events, mind. Time to publish and ride that media outrage to success!
Rating: Winging it.
Scarred by Leo Burke
Peter: Oh dear, I seem to have downloaded a properly serious game here. It puts you in control of a sketchy young fellow who’s ostracised and alienated at every turn. Get shunned at school. Roam streets as bleak and monochrome as an early Cure album. Escape the gut-knotting pain of your parents fighting.
Then grow up and join and whole new oppressive environment. “Have you submitted your report yet?” ask a horde of cloned employees amidst a maze of desks. Escape is a waste of time. The boss ditches you through a trapdoor like the human filth you are on the grounds of insufficient performance.
For every whimsical and stupid Molyjam game about snipers and dogs and dog snipers, it’s important to have a Scarred. Molyneux is great to poke fun at but, deep down, I think we know he’s right when he claims that games can be at their most powerful when they nip and prod at our emotions. In its own hopeless, bullied and unhappy way, Scarred does just that. Makes you think, doesn’t it? Does it? Maybe. Right?
Emotion-o-meter: Depressed, man. Like, seriously bummed out.
Rating: 40mg of Prozac and a Jack Daniels.
Major League Cat Touching 2014 by Tom Vinita and Hayden Jackson
Peter: Right, that last game was deemed too depressing to end on, so here’s Major League Cat Touching 2014. I’m not sure what Peter Molyneux’s stance on cats is. Presumably less favourable than dogs, as those tend to feature more often in his games. Then again, you can often allow the dogs to die. Hmm.
Your task here is to pet the cat to earn points, while ensuring the cat doesn’t get too pissed off. At least that’s what it appears to be about. In reality, it’s all about forming a deep, tactile connection with an animal through the medium of videogames. Or … wait, no, I think it is just about getting points.
Emotion-o-meter: D’aaawwwww, look at the kitty.
Rating: Peter Meowyleux.
There are many, many (many) other Molyjam 2013 games out there to try. This was but a mere taste of the vast selection. If you’re in need of a conference simulator, a bratwurst platformer or more dogs than you can toss a stick at, head over to the main Molyjam game page now. DO IT.