And then there's "Stellar Smooch," in which two outer space probes just want to kiss and be friendly. "Apartment: A Separated Place" begins with a relationship that's already ended, asking the player to embark on a quest for emotional normalcy.These are just some of the more than 200 games that will be on display in downtown Culver City this weekend as part of Indie Cade, an annual event dedicated to what's next, what's experimental and what's risky in gaming.While the breadth of games on display at the weekend festival is wide — Indie Cade will showcase mobile games, board games, virtual reality titles and even family-friendly playground games — a number of Indie Cade's featured games are moving into more personal spaces.The game's creators, Robyn Gray and Richard Emms, warned me that this might happen."We recommend a one-month waiting period between breakups and playing 'Apartment,'" says Emms. In the first-person "Apartment," a book, an airline ticket, a once-shared glass, laundry — all of them are potential triggers for memories of better days.
A space less consumed with adolescent violence and raunchiness, if you will. One can explore a full human relationship via the games at Indie Cade, from the first kiss to the days alone wondering what went wrong."In the last three or four or five years, games have been progressing into this slightly more mature teenager hood, where a lot of different topics are being explored," says Naomi Clark, a game designer and an assistant arts professor at the NYU Game Center. We have more autobiographical games and games that are about relationships that are nuanced."Indeed, "Apartment: A Separated Place" may have even ruined my week.
"The whole idea behind the game is sort of reclaiming that space back."On track for release on home computers in early 2016, "Apartment" had me reflecting on past relationships because it felt so routine.
Neither Nick, the dumpee, nor Madison, the dumper, was necessarily at fault.
The game is simply about a relationship that didn't work.
Games today are getting emotional — and sometimes even sexy."Cibele" tracks an online-to-real life relationship, complete with clumsy Internet flirting and the awkward fears of commitment that too often follow.
Or "Consentacle," a frisky card game that has two players — one in the role of an alien, one as a human — trying to navigate an unexpected sexual encounter.