Rainstorm EP is a cozy little collaborative piece by Jake Grizzly Pierce and Jakey Mumfie. Its soft pixel rain soothes the spirit with tunes you find buried inside various objects. It’s a game that asks you take a small moment out of your day, put work down, and interact with something that doesn’t overly demand your attention.

It’s a gentle massage for the eyes and ears that relieves some stress and helps to center the player. Tiny pieces of world-building comments help build its atmosphere both during and after discovering tape collection hotspots. Muddled visuals give way to short, varied audio vignettes crafted with love, leaving a feeling that this is less a game, and more of an artistic jam session.

Published by Ice water Games, an artist collective out of Washington state running under a self-described consent democracy philosophy and organizational model. It’s a grass roots style approach to solving issues inherent to artist representation and promotion, helping connect developers not just with each other but with the resources necessary, but often lacking, for experimental titles that would otherwise be difficult to market.

It’s an excellent initiative to solve long-standing issues with the industry that is reminiscent of co-operative grocery stores and cafes; a collective safe haven for publishing artistic works without having to tie oneself to the baggage of corporate politics or competitive contract negotiation.

Ice water serves as a beacon of hope in an industry currently having a lot of discussion about the problems microindies are likely to face in the coming years by making a conscious decision to group together for mutual well-being and artistic integrity in response to ever changing demand. It’s nice to see collective interest groups providing a home for wistful, imaginative works like Rainstorm EP and safeguarding them from the unpredictable whims of focus groups and market research.

We hope they see a lot of success in the future, and inspire future artists to pool their resources and instill hope in their aspirations by helping each other navigate any storm.

Emily Rose is an indie developer who writes for and resides in the pacific northwest. She’s often seen in the local VR arcade and developer community participating in pushing the medium’s horizons. You can find her on twitter @caravanmalice