In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the continued string of unconscionable crimes against people of color during the Summer of 2020, Friendship Garden is created a space focused on Play, Healing, and Intersectionality. Over 60 developers, community organizers, and trauma workers met on the Gather platform to participate in workshops to process emotions, viewed presentations about play and inclusion, and grew together.
Through the community support, we were able to raise over $600 for Oakland relief funds and to promote the abolition of the police.
Featuring the Developers and their Games:
An Afternoon Rippling by Marcie LaCerte
Inspired by visual novels and interactive fiction, An Afternoon Rippling is a text-based 2D adventure game about getting lost in a valley after your car breaks down. In your search for the elusive Mechanic, you have conversations with several strange individuals.
afterHOURS by Bahiyya Khan, Claire Meekel, Tim Flusk, and Abi Meekel
after HOURS is a vignette, FMV game, that allows players a glimpse into the life of Lilith Gray – a young woman who was molested as a child and suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder as a result. By spending a night alone with Lilith in her bedroom and subsequently, her head, players learn Lilith’s story by adopting a double gaze: that of the player witnessing Lilith’s story and piecing together why she behaves and responds as she does and to an extent, the gaze of Lilith herself. This is achieved by having access to the voices in her head and the thoughts that respond to those voices. Hand drawn animations over the film serve to provide a more tactile experience of the game.
Anodyne 2: Return to Dust by Analgesic Productions
Rescue A Mysterious Island From A Mind-Warping Plague
Nano Dust infects the islanders of New Theland, distorting their emotions and desires. You play as Nova, a Nano Cleaner who must explore the island, seeking out the sick and shrinking inside their bodies to suction up the Dust.
Anodyne 2: Return to Dust combines the thrilling scale and cinematic storytelling of 3D games with the tight design and easy-to-pick-up satisfaction of 2D Zelda-like adventures. With art that re-imagines the PS1 and N64 era, explore 3D cities, valleys, and wastelands then shrink into the varied 2D mindscapes of characters, from snowy, aurora-lit valleys to perilous volcanic construction sites!
Calorie Defender by Seedful Games
Play as veggies inside the human body helping defend the Hunger against adorable candy. It’s a mix of 2D action platforming and tower defense style combat with a slight bit of Metroidvania like exploration.
DON’T WAKE THE NIGHT by Brujería @ Werk
…And with great apprehension she said,
Welcome to DON’T WAKE THE NIGHT, a world and a story about community and accountability. Mystery unfolds, as you, the ghost a community of witches has summoned, must act as their impartial judge. But for what purpose?
DON’T WAKE THE NIGHT, FOR ITS DARKNESS WILL REVEAL THE TRUTH
Finding Semolina by Team Coconut
What does it mean to not see?
Would you still remember how to if you lost all sense of the word?
Journey through your mind’s eye in a VR post-colonial adventure game about scavenging for ingredients & memories in worlds hidden behind spice jars. Explore a rich dreamscape while following a Sri Lankan-American, blind-sighted mother-daughter relationship twisted by time. Piece together a narrative puzzle obfuscated by cultural angst in this deconstruction of hyphenated identities.
Featuring original voice acting from Yalini Dream, Venu, Krishan and Viji Rajaratnam.
Go and Come Back by Krishan Rajaratnam
A historical fiction visual novel that explores memories around the Sri Lankan civil war, set in both the past and future. Featuring a Tamil protagonist battling Alzheimer’s, this is a bilingual game about remembering even when it’s easier to forget. Travel across time and space in this culturally rich non-linear narrative, and piece together a story as you help someone push through theirs. A game about remembering names, even when it is easier to forget.
Heart of Enya by Team Bapy
In Heart of Enya you play as Willow Wisp, a campfire spirit who guides a group of amateur adventurers in harnessing the warm magic of self love to fend off the Frost that surrounds them.
Cycle between helping them connect with each other at night and advising them in battle with icy foes during the day.
Fighting can be difficult, so feel free to retreat back to the campfire and make some soup to warm your heart again.
The Impossible Swan by Sharkbomb
You’ve read the stories of heroes pulling a mystical sword from a stone or finally receiving their predestined letter from a secret academy. And you’ve felt a yearning in your bones. The desire to be chosen, to be special. Someone who can put their handprint on the cave wall of humanity. Waiting for that sign to start your true life.
Yet all this time you’ve already been unique. But not by someone else’s will.
Within you rests the potential of the Impossible Swan. With this book I will try to help you find it.
Open Spaces by Queenship Games
Skylar is an art student suffering agoraphobia and anxiety. Walter is an unhoused farmer suffering intense social anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Jessica is a trans programmer suffering anxiety and agoraphobia. Li Wei is an agricultural technologist suffering intense anxiety. Navigate their stories to discover their symptomology, learn about methods of treatment and recovery, and how each character manages their disorders.
More than two hundred and sixty million people worldwide suffer from anxiety; more than sixty million suffer agoraphobia. It is our hope that this game will help sufferers find their own paths to recovery and symptom management, and to enable their communities and loved ones to more constructively assist them in that process. We hope you like Open Spaces!
Content Warning: symptomology, alcohol usage, and others. If you feel triggered, don’t continue play! Take some time for yourself and continue if and when you feel ready.
Queering Spacetime by Toto Lin
You are destined lovers across the whole of space and time.
In each millennia and every passing moment, you find each other again.
Sometimes you are just friends, and other times you fall deeply in love.
Each time you find each other, you are always a little different. It takes time to relearn what you both enjoy and how to take care of each other, but you are determined to make it work.
Whether or not you stay is another story, but sometimes all we have is the here and now, and we do our best to enjoy it with the people we have.
It is in this queer space, the in-between space, that we begin.
Robot Island by New Beings
Play as a robot flight attendant in this 20-30 minute visual novella with 3D exploration. Explore the ship, talk to plants, clean up, and most importantly: empathize with the captain as he tries to figure out some personal stuff during your lonely journey. Oh, and make sure you get his coffee right!
Expect a charming and relaxing romp where you’ll be mostly reading, choosing dialogue options, and exploring a 3D spaceship. There’s lots of little things to look at if you’re feeling like doing so… you can talk to plants! But you don’t have to. You can plow through the story if you want – speeeeeeed ruuuuun. Also, the music is good, the sound effects are nice, and it’s quite pleasing to look at!
SweetXheart by Catt Small, Phu Nguyen, Eden, Arielle Martinez
Can you get through a week in the life of a modern black woman? SweetXheart (pronounced “sweetheart”) is a slice-of-life visual novel about microagressions, race, and gender. The game shares creative technologist Catt Small’s perspective on being a Black woman seeking success in life, school, and her career. Players act as Kara, a 19-year-old girl from the Bronx who attends an art college and interns at a tech company.
Over five fictional days, players experience the highs and lows of life, including small interactions such as swiping a phone in the morning to wake up, getting dressed in the morning, and commuting to work. Minute choices such as the chosen type of outfit affect Kara’s life. Her stress level changes based on interactions with other characters.