Page 11, Game 11: Guppy by Christiaan Moleman
“Okay, let’s see what this game is all about … looks like I’m the titular guppy, and I’m supposed to go find some food. Dope. I can relate to these goals.
“All right, low-fi watercolor look to the graphics. I’m feeling it. Very chill, very zen. Nice mellow background music, too. Good unified look and feel to the game; feels simple, but not cheap or haphazard. I guess the arrow keys move me around … oh, neat! Left arrow moves my fish-tail one one way, right arrow moves it the other. Just tap ’em to get my fishy butt moving. I don’t think I’ve seen this movement mechanism before. Definitely feels fishlike. I’m digging it.”
“All right, time to find some food. What does ‘food’ look like? Is it those bubble things? They seem to disappear when I swim over them, but otherwise the game doesn’t react. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of fish-hunger-ometer here. Wait, is that a bug? Let me wiggle over there … yup! The game just gave me a point! I’m here to munch bugs!
“Oh, hey there’s a larger fish!”
“Should I be wor– FUCK ME DID THAT THING JUST EAT ME?!”
So. Guppy is a zen, meditative little game about wiggling like a fish, eating yummy bugs, and FLEEING IN FUCKING TERROR FROM THE GRIM FUCKING SPECTER OF DEATH. The visual and aural tone of the game made me think that getting tagged by DeathFish would be some sort of minor setback, or slap on the wrist. Instead, NOPE. Ya DEAD, son. Meditate on THAT shit.
DeathFish does not appear until you eat your first bug. Perhaps he is their avenger. Live by the food chain die by the food chain, biyatch.
There are lily pads that make you appear shadowed, but they offer no respite. You can attempt to distract your pursuer by leading it into the school of goldfish hanging out down here with you, but it does not want them; it is here for you. It is your personal tormentor. Only you can sate its hunger.
I have no idea whether to characterize this game as a bizarre tonal misfire, or a work of subversive genius. It is definitely unique. I can confidently say I have never played a game like this before.
What the hell, recommended. If only so you too can experience the sensation of getting shivved by Bob Ross.
Alright, next game is the sex number. Don’t be a kids’ game don’t be a kids’ game don’t be a kids’ game….
Page 41, Game 22: Dirty Aces by Ben “Bee” Scerri, Red World Press
“Win or Lose Together. Touchstones: Firefly, The Dark Tower.”