Most video games can be easily categorized. There are racing games, fighting games, shooting games, dancing games, maze games. For the home computer there have been times when flying simulators, wargaming, text adventures and role-playing games were overwhelmingly popular.
Then there are the weird games. Things which just don’t really fit into any definition of normal, and whose appeal lies as much in the oddity as in the gameplay. Q-Bert was a prominent early success in this style of video game. Octodad is one of the more recent examples.
First appearing as a student project, the player takes the role of a giant octopus who has been masquerading as a human being. This charade has been so successful that he now has a wife and two children, none of whom have any inkling that the father of the family is a mollusk.
The gameplay focuses on having the player perform simple tasks such as grabbing, carrying and moving items; the tentacles move, via the internal physics engine, in the way that tentacles would be expected to act. The result is a game that is much harder than it appears, but in which luck can sometimes be all that’s needed to fulfill even the most difficult challenge.
And, of course, he can’t be too obvious about his true nature… not without everyone catching on and ending the game.
The game can be found here.
It proved to be successful enough to develop a sequel, Octodad : Dadliest Catch. The gameplay is more complex and the game is more polished, and unsurprisingly it’s no longer free.
It makes no sense, but it’s not meant to. It’s just all-ages goofiness with an intentionally frustrating control system.
Question of the night: What’s a successful group project you’ve been a part of?