For the second year in a row, queer indie game developers and gamers alike are celebrating Pride Month with the Queer Games Bundle. Until the end of June, interested parties can download almost 600 games and game-adjacent zines for $60, with a cheaper option available to those for whom that cost is prohibitive. Described as “an initiative to collaboratively support as many queer indie/micro/art devs and makers as possible,” the bundle is a project of swampbabes, a small New York organization of game artists. Swampbabes, as a collective, is “interested in sharing experimental, non-commercial, renegade games-related art and projects and providing a platform for diverse voices and bodies outside the structures of already established hierarchies.”
The bundle certainly provides a platform for diverse voices. There is a massive amount of content in the bundle, so much so that the selection might be intimidating. Let me provide some starting points. For those intrigued by last week’s blog post, there are two volumes of a zine chockablock with Twine tips and tricks, called “The Twine Grimoire.” Wordle fanatics might be entertained by “Herdle,” which casts Wordle’s distinct collections of squares as farm animals in need of herding. Did my post about stealing back your time via poetry resonate with you? You might find joy in “Time Bandit,” a game for Windows and MacOS that forces the player to slow down.
If tabletop roleplaying is your preferred gaming mode, never fear—included TTRPG guides range from the adorable and arguably self-explanatory “Rodents With Guitars” to the cyberpunk “Escape from Neo-Millenia.” I was pleasantly surprised by the number of bundle entries incorporating tarot, like the solo journaling game “My One True Wish,” the browser-based “kate sees your future,” digital tarot deck, “Slimegirl Tarot,” and “A Note in Time,” a TTRPG about writing a letter to your younger self.
The puzzle-minded among you are likely to enjoy the game RESYNC, available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux (the bundle can be filtered according to the operating systems compatible with each game). RESYNC challenges you to work with robots as allies, solving puzzles to “uncover the true purpose of the mysterious outpost” on which your character has crash-landed. Then there’s the browser-based “people are labyrinths,” a collection of mazes studded with wistful dialogue boxes meditating on topics such as loss, the complex inner workings of other people, and an unwanted job.
Swampbabes states on their website that they hope the community their work fosters “begins to undo the curse inherited from mainstream video game culture.” They leave up to the imagination what exactly that curse is, but if you too feel that mainstream video game culture is cursed, and want to do something about it, purchasing the Queer Games Bundle is a win-win situation: hours of fun for you, and financial support for queer game developers. As of this writing, over a thousand gamers have purchased the bundle, raising almost $66,000 that will be split among the creators at Pride Month’s end.
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