October 14, 2013 12:55 AM | John Polson
The first Asylum Jam has come to an end, where developers spent the weekend on horror games "outside of mental health stereotypes." With over 30 games posted so far, there's already quite a bit of variety to choose from. During my time with the lot, games involving ADHD, creeps in arcades, military checkpoint epidemics, space technology horror, night shifts with tiny flash lights, and deadly text-based games have stood out.
The above photo is from Team artichaut's Windows freeware, bizzare adventure Arcade, where a worried father looks for his son in a dark arcade room. It's short but definitely disturbing at the end.
d__adee's sidescrolling horror Night Shift froze on me once, but I appreciated the paranoia it induced. My flash light shined very little on both sides, and if I did anything more than walk slowly... Well, you'll see.
Trashgames's Checkpoint-Z is a short, first-person survival game about investigating a mysterious epidemic at a military checkpoint. The twist midway made me think about how games can turn the tables to induce a second, separate sense of panic.
The computer ship in space got the best of me when I tried [Space Octopus ]'s first-person horror [Survaillant] twice. "Everything is watching you and wants to kill you," and it probably will.
According to the readme file in Windows freeware 1-900-Gary, the developer suffers from ADHD. Nurvuss writes, "I was trying to come up with ideas for the Asylum Gamejam, but found it difficult to concentrate on one idea at a time. So I had the idea to incorporate that theme into the game itself." Players can try to find 1 of 9 endings, all the while reading silly and spooky dialogue, and just maybe figuring out who the mysterious Gary is.
Last in this round-up, Carrot Island Development Team's browser-based Sonny Jim - Adventure Through Hyde Park is a deadly text-based game you can explore while filling up your inventory and walking what I believe is a 20x20 grid park. I wasn't expecting such a level of interactivity via text!
We'll see what other horrors pop up this week from the Asylum Jam, as the deadline just passed (at least in EST). For now, feel free to try out these recommendations, or browse through all the submissions.