I’ve now written ad nauseum about my own Pirate Kart V games, so I’d like to turn the spotlight to a number of excellent contributions by others. Among the 1,027 games in the Kart, I confess I’ve only played somewhere around 300 to 400 of them, so this can by no means be comprehensive (and these are just ten of twenty-five I plan to do small write-ups about; I’ll be doing a follow up or two with additional games I don’t get to in this post, and others I discover later). I’d strongly recommend you download the Pirate Kart launcher and browse around at random, looking for new, exciting, and hilarious things, an addition to playing what I recommend below. And also to make your own game at the next event at Glorious Trainwrecks (there are two to four events per month and I try to participate as often as I can!).
These games are presented in a more or less arbitrary order. I mean no insult to anyone whose games I don’t feature. Every game in the Kart is valuable because, and everyone should have their game played. But I wanted to share some of my favorites.
Dark Scorcerer by Ryleigh Kostash
There are a lot of things I like about Ryleigh Kostash‘s Dark Scorcerer. The player character is a dark sorcerer (or, I suppose, scorcerer) whose magic bullets grow and gain in power as they travel across the screen. You have to dodge the knights as you attempt to kill them. The knights give you points, but also drop multiplier mods you have to pick up to stack onto your existing modifier, which quickly balloons into a gigantic number. And if that number hits you, you also die. It’s a game about navigating space and manipulating numbers with a natural, somewhat comical difficulty curve. It also just feels really good to play.
Win Condition by Hugs
This game borrows heavily from the last screens of The Legend of Zelda for an enjoyable exploration of how video games can end. There are, I believe, five different endings, though I’ve only reached four. Find as many as you can. The game’s cheeky as hell, and has a splendid sense of humor, and feels like a pretty good approximation of Zelda‘s core mechanics to boot.
I won’t give you any more than that, because it’s largely about the joy of discovery. I’ve perhaps already revealed too much.
Action Figure Fighter by Kirkjerk
A brilliantly simple and utterly adorable idea. A mashup of arcade fighting games and that box full of action figures from your childhood. Its aesthetic is simple, and totally pitch perfect.
Also strongly recommended is another Kirkjerk entry into Pirate Kart V, DinoBeeBoxer.
Absolute Chaos Dog by Yuliy
Balance your physical need of food, obtainable by obediently performing the tricks your human overlords request of you, against your desire to achieve chaos and anarchy, accomplished by rebelling against those same demands, in your desire to become the Absolute Chaos Dog. The game’s input is smart and unique, and the tone of the presentation is really fun. The game has three endings, but only one allows you to achieve the status of Absolute Chaos Dog.
Rapid Fire Your Hookshot to Glory and Death by Damian Sommer
An alteration of Sommer’s own Context Insensitive, this works very well as its own, standalone, fast-pace single screen platformer. The hookshot mechanic is used to navigate very narrow spiky passages and impossibly long jumps. It feels tight and its aesthetic is great. A lot of fun.
Chris Whitman made two games in his “Famous Authors” series and a making-of in the same style featuring himself making the game. He uses them as a good platform for some good comedy both about his subjects and game inputs.
Realistic Female First-Person Shooter by Anna Anthropy
Adapted from a gallingly sexist post by some men’s right forum poster named XTC, Anthropy executes a ridiculous concept brilliantly in the best kind of mockery.
I also gotta say, too, I’m kind of in love with how this game looks. Anthropy is really excellent with her video game visuals.
Super Thwomp Bros. by Dock
I’ve got a serious soft spot for games that put you in the shoes of the enemy. I’ve also got a particular fondness for doing that with enemies from the Mario series (and I’ve done it myself in my game Hammer Bro.!, though you didn’t have to kill Mario in that game). Playing with how a different character in a familiar world plays is a fun experiment. This game is, of course, much like the excellent Spike: A Love Story, albeit much cuter and shorter.
PepsiMan Generations by Topher Florence
With such a relentlessly, garishly hip aesthetic (everyone and their Coke can in sunglasses, wild Spring Break cam), a feverish confusion of the same things (the game is called PepsiMan Generations, stars a Coke Can, and the executable is called drpepper.exe) and some seriously wacky but precise controls, this is some modern pop art masterpiece.
But could we expect any less from DocFuture?