Indie Games for Good Marathon 2012!
On October 19th at 10AM Pacific Standard Time in San Diego a group of friends got together to play as many independently created video games for as long as they could for the sake of charity. Indie Games for Good is a charity event created by Cloudboat Armada to help raise money for Child’s Play, the Penny Arcade charity for children in hospitals. I was lucky enough to get to be a part of this 76 hour long event and I’m here to tell you about this year’s event.
The basic point of Indie Games for Good is that people donate money to have the fine folks play certain games or just to add time to the clock so that more games can be played, with the only limit being that the game has to be an independently developed game, such as Limbo, Artemis, and Hatoful Boyfriend. You could also donate money to get raffle tickets and bid for auction items, there were over 300 game codes raffled off and plenty of auction items such as Shaman Mice dolls from Transformice.
So not only could you give money to charity to watch some of your favorite games get played, but you could also win really cool stuff. Those Transformice dolls are only given away for charitable purposes so you just can’t go buy them at any store you find online. Other exclusives were getting to play some games early or with the creators themselves during interviews. Many interviews were conducted while the games of those getting interviewed were played.
Since there were so many games played I’m just going to highlight some of the biggest moments or moments I could be a part of. All photos are provided by Garret Williams.
Friday night had the crew of Indie Games for Good attacked and taken over by their nefarious opponents, Indie Games for Evil. The mustachioed villains took control of the whole set up for a few hours and were eventually beaten back by IGG. Before Good could conquer Evil, the site had even been hacked by IGE with an entire site overhaul.
Michael O’Reilly of I Wanna Be The Guy: Gaiden took control of the game as it was played, trolling in the already difficult game. The game is all about being an exceptionally difficult platformer that reminds one of the 80s and 90s video games with extra chaos added right in. Just getting to levels on the over map can get you killed, having the creator randomly hit you with a giant airplane, is hilarious insult to injury.
The game Artemis (in the game you are effectively a part of a Star Trek bridge crew) was played while interviewing its creator, Thom Robertson. Let me tell you something, being a member of crew while talking to the guy who made the game possible is surreal. I like being Science, you scan bad ships and it’s Science.
Cannon Brawl isn’t even out yet but we got to play it and a special level just for the stream. It’s like Worms upgraded from spineless critters to full blown warfare of buildings and weapons to destroy your opponents. This game also had the honor to be replayed at the very end of the marathon as our last game on hour 76.
Frog Fractions is a game that the less I say about it, the better it will be for you. You have to experience it so you can truly understand fractions in ways school will never teach you. Just go down when you can and get the warp drive as soon as possible.
Saturday night became Novel Story Games night where we played RPGs that let everyone in the room take on a voice, much like a radio play. We started of with
Princess Diaries 64 Long Live the Queen, where you are a 14 year-old princess trying to survive to become Queen in a year. You have to maintain different emotional states so you can learn different skills quicker and you get new outfits. The game is exceptionally hard but incredibly fun, we played it with all female roles played by men and all male roles played by women, I was the princess so I naturally went with Lumpy Space Princess of Adventure Time’s voice.
Following that play through we moved on to Hatoful Boyfriend, the pigeon dating simulator. If you ever wanted to know what it’d be like to live in a world where nearly all of humanity has died off while pigeons have taken on as the dominant species, well then here is your game, and a game everyone should try. Again, we played the game in that of a radio play style. This game is so wonderfully absurd and bizarre since it can take so many strange and terrifying directions.
This was followed by the JimJam, originally the Game Jam but since Jim Crawford (creator of Frog Fractions and a huge help to IGG the whole weekend) was also putting in a game it was decided it was a more fun name, is where the audience has a few hours to create their own games that would then be played live on the stream. There were a little over half a dozen and they were fantastic, you can go to the IGG website to try them all out.
Sunday night became the Creepy Hour, which like Happy Hour at any bar, was several hours long. The night started with a packed room watching in silence as Limbo was played, a kill count was kept through the night, I think it was at 14 when all was said and done. That game really lives up to the title of Creepy when you have a room of about 10 people watching in silence as a silhouette of a child keeps getting killed gruesomely.
That was followed up by the slow burning Amnesia: The Dark Descent, a very Lovecraftian style horror game. You gotta avoid monsters or risk losing your sanity, bright light keeps the sanity you have but it also draws monsters toward you. You gotta solve puzzles to regain sanity and get out of this crazy mansion.
Then came the highlight of the night, Slender, if you’ve never heard of the latest scary monster the internet has come up with, go look at some pictures of Slendy. Anyways, the game is you have to collect several notes out in the middle of the woods, the only problem is Slendy is following you around trying to get you. The best part though, was the players, never having played it before, it just became those who had no idea what was to come. When Slendy finally showed his adorable mug, we had slasher film scream queen level screams. It was wonderful since the last words said just before the scream were “Nothing is happening.”
As a stretch goal for reaching 10k by noon Sunday, the group made a Gangnam Style parody video to give to their audience. They made the whole video in just a few hours, that was really impressive knowing that they had it done within the span of several hours.
So in total it was an immensely fun and wild 76 hours of games played for well over 12.6 thousand dollars for charity. In total, since starting last year, Indie Games for Good has raised over 20 thousand dollars for kids and that’s amazing. They will return next year and I hope to as well to cover more and help out whenever I can.