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Dominique Pamplemousse by Squinky

It was meant to be a simple case
Pay my rent, get me outta the rat race
But I’m starting to think I’m out of my depth
And it might just mean my horrible, untimely death
Trying to get out of here, but it’s no use
And for the love of God, the name’s not Pimplemoose!

Musicals are a time-honoured tradition in both theater and cinema, but sadly, the artform has seldom made the jump to video games. Dominique Pamplemousse by Squinky, however, happily bucks this trend with a foray into the even rarer musical noir subgenre. You control the titular gumshoe as they sing their way down the rabbit hole of a case full of intrigue, deception, delinquent landlords, autotuning, and brutal student debt.

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No Delivery by oates.

[Content Warning: Discussions of abduction, murder, gore, and body horror]

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve chosen, or have been chosen, to work for the Steeze Pizzeria Stezzoni’s Pizza family. Here at The Steeze Stezzoni’s Pizza, our pizza is our pride, so buckle up and RUN read this manual carefully to ensure that you deliver the perfect pizza every time!  And, for you code monkeys out there, don’t forget to check out our website, full of information, activities and secrets fun pizza facts!

No Delivery by oates is a horror game with procedurally generated dungeon diving, a fantastic aesthetic, engaging combat with a focus on symbiotic resource management, and the occasional burst of dark humor that perfectly encapsulates the suffocating experience of working the night shift alone at a fast food establishment. Whether you’re cleaning tables, crawling through the ventilation shafts, or turning on the industrial walk-in microwave without adequately ensuring that it’s empty, every moment of its gameplay and atmosphere will leave you with a beautifully crushing sense of dread.

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Watering A Flower by Lily Belmira

There’s a common trans experience of wishing you could see your future self, the self you want to be. This experience blossoms, over time, into the earnest wish that you could send your younger self a message in a bottle telling them how everything will change, and who they will become.

Watering a Flower by Lily Belmira is a perfect encapsulation of both sides of this experience, at once presenting a small, safe place for her younger self to seek out the wisdom and reassurance of her older self, nurturing them with kindness, understanding, and hope, while also allowing the older side of herself to reflect upon the events of her past and reify all of those precious memories eked away by time or necessity.

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(CONTENT WARNINGS: Alcohol, Violence, Implied Drug Use, Implied Domestic Abuse, Mental Health)

The skeezy little rats under the bleachers smoke their cigarettes in blissful ignorance, not realizing the extractor fan is on full blast putting them on Mr. Mahoney’s war path. With Suzy nowhere to be found, you’re stuck playing errand boy for the jokers, wannabes, and wall-flowers, slowly drip-fed a goose chase for your high school sweetheart.

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“Lockheart Indigo” – by Harmless

Icy cold glares of passersby cut through the gaps of the iron palisades as you walk down the brick road path that leads to the grand entrance. Once in a while you catch a glimpse of hidden emotion on the face of the staff- grief, guilt, shock, something has shattered the peace so suddenly that no one, not even the family estate, knows quite how to react. For a moment, you’re sure that one of the robots might even be crying… actually, nevermind, I think that’s just machine oil.

Whatever they may be feeling, they’re all suspects and you’re no therapist, you’re a private eye named Beatris Summers. When the killer is hiding in plain sight, you can only rely on evidence, quick wits, and nerves of steel, just don’t forget that everyone is a piece in play, whether pawns or queens.

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(Content Warning: Existential Dread, Death, Epilepsy triggering VFX warning)

There is a friction, a loud churning in my skull whenever I hear the words “Interactive Fiction”, my sensory nodes become disrupted, my enthusiasm modules go cold, and my fingers seize up as the cursor hovers over the application. My mind’s eye starts to blur, I lose interest and my sense of disbelief, and whatever drive I had to progress through the most luminary works of our time goes temporarily quiet.

……… Support systems flicker on, I receive a strange transmission in my email inbox with a subject header… “Lysogenesis“.. An electrical impulse fires somewhere deep within me, and the reflective surface of my eyes go white.

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Just, Bearly‘ by Daniel Roberts

(Content Warning: discussions of anxiety, mental health)

It’s difficult to find games that address anxiety in a way that isn’t demoralizing, dehumanizing, or both.

Just, Bearly‘ avoids many tropes of the shy awkward protagonist narrative, instead approaching it with an earnest humility that passionately demonstrates the ways strangers intimidate us, without being overly resentful, resorting to dehumanizing story beats, or ascribing ulterior motives to everyone around our hero.

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Painting has never been something I’ve had much skill with. My attempts have always hedged towards embarrassing, with shaky brushstrokes and deeply flawed translations of the image I have in mind to the canvas in front of me. Nonetheless, I understand the merits of the craft and can appreciate the dedication even a single painting requires of its creator. Every colour carefully chosen to resonate with those around it, shapes drawn just so, layers of iteration and happy accidents synthesizing into one cohesive piece that blooms in front of the viewer; a collage of abstractions that coalesce into beauty.

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Wandering a closed loop of an island, a hidden quest lays scattered about the surreal sights of this lonely mass. Your only choice: poke and prod the surrounds until something happens. Slowly, knowledge is amassed, and a eureka moment strikes! A flurry of activity as disparate elements click together, finally approaching new heights… And plateau. A new challenge lay before you, the culmination of all your epiphanies revealing further unknowns. Will you ever find an escape from this place?

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