Claris Cyarron took us on the weird side of walking simulators, discussing atl games.
Warning : explicit content ahead.
Alt games can not be defined for it would constrain the creativity within its boundaries and impose rules while it’s trying to fend off existing conventions. Alt games is an umbrella term for peers to gather around and might refer to a means of production rather than a game genre.
Alt games are queer in that they reject norms of traditional games. Their creators often identify as queer as well, rejecting norms and constrains in a larger perspective. As a result Alt games are different and deal with subjects that are set aside in traditional games or deal with topics on a different basis.
For example, what if sex in a game wasn’t something you’d earn, but something you would do instead ?
Glitchhikers is a driving game that plays without stearing. Instead, the driving interactions are focused on changing gears, in an erotic fashion. During the game, players have a 48% chance to be stopped by violent police officers as a comment on real life police violence against minorities.
Claris illustrated Alt games with many more examples, which illustrated both the diversity of alt games and their common points. Some are mystical architectures, with the goal of obtaining unity with a deity through contemplation. Others are focused on a place and the reflections it provides. She shared with us games like Chyrza, howling dogs, cofee : a misunderstanding, condor, armagad, Oracle and many more.
Alt games are in conversation with other games and themselves. They can have something to say. The artist is present and comments on the value art gets frong being innaccessible or discusses wether you can become an artist in 10 seconds.
How to find more alt games ?
A good place to start looking if twitter’s #altgames tag and following @supportaltgames twitter bot to discover new titles.
Many alt games are distributed on alternative platoforms like itch.io and gamejolt.
Consider susbscribing to the Memory Insufficient Magazine.
There’s also an alt+g meetup group in Vancouver, which meets monthly in downtown and welcomes everyone with open arms.
In Vancouver still, galleries like heartprojector.com has special alt games exhibitions.
Is my work alt enough ?
If you’re wondering about this, consider whether your game throws away game standards. Do you provide the comfort of a tutorial ? Do you hurt the player ? Do you follow expectations ? These are a couple of ideas to make your game more alt, but really ? Push against standards if you want to, not because someone told you to. If it’s not your thing ? Just don’t !
Alt games is about diversity. Giving guidelines to define wether your game is alt enough isn’t something very alt.
How can I support alt games ?
Alt games want to attrackt a wider variety of players in, including people who usually don’t like games or think there’s nothing for them out there.
Alt needs spaces, and you might be able to provide them. You can also support locations like heartprojector by becoming a partner.
You can support artists by becoming patreons, or simply buying the games. If you have an IGF stand, you can also spray paint it with your favorite alt game, and demo it instead of your own game !