Beautiful platformers stand side by side with state surveillance simulators in ResistJam. Focused on projects that “resist oppressive authoritarianism in all its forms,” it’s full of great games. All of them are this week’s Indie Pick.
There’s just shy of 220 games in ResistJam’s collection. The jam lasted for one week, allowing designers to make games about fighting back against authority. The tone ranges from apprehensive to something proud and radical. Many games focus on personal anxieties.
In The Cat in the Hijab, you ride the subway, enduring various glares and epithets. In some cases, you will decide to ignore someone. In others, you will be forced to talk to them. Dialog can lead to tense exchanges or pleasant conversation. You never know which, and there’s always uncertainty at play.
Other games are less personal. In Somebody is Listening, players are tasked with locating leaders of various domestic groups by tacking individuals and scanning their phone data. It’s a puzzle game where you have to make an arrest based on the limited information that you can glean. It is very easy to arrest the wrong person. Far, far too easy. But don’t worry. Get it wrong? Just plant evidence after the fact.
Other games opt for a more whimsical approach to resistance. Paint the Sky Golden is a platformer where everything you touch turns into beautiful gold. Rootless focuses on non-violent solutions as you wander around trying to find snacks for your sentient plant companion. Bluebird is a Flappy Bird clone about soaring above a city. There’s even a side story game with characters from Read Only Memories.
ResistJam has plenty of stories to tell: the harrowing struggles of refugees, the allure of direct, confrontational resistance, and how easy it is to misuse institutional power. I highly recommend scrolling through a few games. You’ll not just find something you like. You’ll probably find something affecting as well.