With less than two weeks remaining before the 2016 Game Developers Conference organizers want to give you a heads-up about the great lineup taking the stage at this year’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop.
This jam-packed session — which takes place Friday, March 18th at 1:30pm in Room 135 of the San Francisco Moscone Center’s North Hall — will showcase an eclectic mix of unusual game prototypes that defy convention and explore new ideas and genres.
This year the EGW is once again curated and organized by leading creative minds Robin Hunicke and Daniel Benmergui, and it promises to be an exciting opportunity for presenters and attendees alike to explore some fresh territory in game design.
A number of ‘experimental’ titles that debuted in previous years have gone on to become some of the most well regarded in the industry. Some of these standout games include Portal, SpaceTeam, Katamari Damacy, World of Goo, Soundodger and Braid.
This year the session will reinvigorate that spirit of creativity with over 20 titles from some of the industry’s most innovative developers, including folks from Northway Games, USC, Radial Games and more.
Here are some of the games that will be at this year’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop:
Presented by Sarah Northway & Lindsay Jorgensen
Fantastic Contraption is surreal building game for Vive VR. Create life-sized machines as tall as you can reach, then send them whirling, flinging, and trundling off to solve puzzles on the other side of a floating island. Your task is simple: get the squishy purple ball to that goal off in the distance, or above you, or on the other side of that gap. Your tools are elegantly minimalist: spinning wheels and stretchable rods. But the solutions are endless, and there are no right or wrong ones.
Presented by Travis Chen & Peter Javidpour
Operator is a training simulation for technicians specializing in operation of the Killigan Industries Extermination Satellite Console. Qualified candidates may make use of the provided telephone to contact our 24/7 customer support line.
Presented by Christopher Hazard, PhD and TC Chang
Plosh: Time Bomb turns fast-paced crate-and-bomb game mechanics into a strategic turn-based game. It’s a magical combat strategy game in which you play as Plosh animal rag-dolls, meanuvering through a maze of blocks while planting bombs to clear paths, destroy opponents, and paintbomb your color everywhere. Challenge your skills and way of thinking about time through a combination of playfulness, strategy and time manipulation against a friend or the AI.
Mike Wozniewski & Jonathan Ng
Floor Kids is a touch dance action game for iOS and Android platforms that combines elements of rhythm, competition, and freestyle dance. Players try to master the moves of hand-drawn animated bboys and bgirls, competing to recruit new dancers to their crew. Featuring original music by Kid Koala, Floor Kids celebrates self-expression and diversity through the portrayal of street dance culture in super cute, super confident style.
Jerry Belich & Victor Thompson
Please Stand By is an interactive story about the past, using the body of a vintage 1951 Capehart television and its dozen-plus controls as an expressive medium, including adjusting the rabbit ears and physically striking the device. It is designed to be physically engaging, and challenge the user to remember and identify with various periods in recent history. It attempts to connect by using media, games, and metaphors of the time, both culturally and politically.
Mu Cartographer is an experimental exploration game that can be enjoyed as an interactive visual toy. The player will have to learn how to use a set of strange panels to shape the world as they wish, and go on a treasure hunt through a multitude of colourful landscapes.
Chalo Chalo is a local-multiplayer, top-down, abstract racing competition for three to eight players.
Simple Circles is an abstract puzzle game completely focused on you. The world is made up of only circles and they will instantly respond to any mouse movement you make. When you are still, everything is still. When you are moving, things start to get interesting. You’ll start to experiment, play and discover what could be special about a simple circle.
The game is heavily focused on experimentation and play. And these concepts are universal, anyone can play. There is no text, no instructions, just an abstract world waiting to be discovered.
New, from the maker of Engare, Tandis is about visualising mathematical functions.
Pol Clarissou & Marskye
Orchids to Dusk is a short networked wandering experience by Pol Clarissou with music by Marskye, created with the support of KO_OP. You are an astronaut stranded on an alien planet, with only a few minutes left to live. The game explores death and acceptance, emphasizing peacefulness and idleness in its design.
Jillian Ogle & Ryan Tharp
Control real life robots who stream video wireless to sites like Twitch.tv and take commands from inputs like chat.
Terence Tolman & John Ceceri III
SlapFriends is a “Dispute Resolution Simulator” 2 player competitive party game with a wearable twist! Players don a unique (and fashionable!) plushy character controller hat known as the “WEAR-A-BUDDY”. Folks get to become their favorite character while they flail about trying to resolve their differences by virtually slapping each other on the screen!
Walden, a game, is a first person simulation of the life of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau during his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond. The central design question behind the project is: can we make a game that translates Thoreau’s experiment in living into a playable experience? Players follow in Thoreau’s footsteps, surviving in the woods while also seeking out the small beauties of the environment. The game follows Thoreau’s first year in the woods, with each season holding its own challenges for survival and possibilities for inspiration.
s Jason Rohrer, Thomas Bailey, David O’Reilly & Damien DeFede will also be presenting new projects at the session. By demonstrating games that defy conventions and traditions in search for of new genres and ideas, the showcase is intended to ignite the imagination of all game makers. So come see what’s happening in the world of Experimental Gameplay – and be inspired!
Since limited information on many of the titles is available online, the best way to see what’s on offer is to check out the Experimental Gameplay Workshop in person. You can find full details on it and all of the other announced talks in the online GDC 2016 Session Scheduler, where you can also start planning out your conference week!
GDC 2016 itself will take place March 14-18th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. For more information on GDC 2016, visit the show’s official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.
Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech.