Play it now: Jostle Parent


As I understand it, being the parent of children is consistently terrifying — like herding cats, except suddenly minor environmental conveniences, like power outlets and stairs and cars, suddenly turn lethal. Everything is to be either managed with your last shredded nerve or avoided.

In Pippin Barr's newest game, Jostle Parent, you bluntly shove three arbitrary, peril-addled child-sprites through their day, clumsy and terrified at every second. It's quick and funny, and demands strong stomachs, in its way. Recommended companion reading: the very funny and touching parenting blog of Ellie Gibson, who's also a brilliant games critic.

Jostle Parent is the sequel to Jostle Bastard, a shoving game that has some fun at the expense of game violence (via Hotline Miami, I think). Each game is funnier and more interesting in the context of the other.

Barr is one of my favorite people working in games. Here at Offworld we deeply believe in the utility of games to express, communicate and share things among human beings, no matter how personal or small. But Barr often takes that a step further with clever little titles that perfectly demonstrate those times a game can be the best way to provoke, in ways no other media can.

That he does this through pure, minimalist works with a distinct, stripped-down aesthetic (and often, a sense of humor) is even more impressive. Do check out his works here (I think my favorite is 'Art Game'), or watch his talk about collaborating with artist Marina Abramovic here.

Jostle Parent is the latest in the Playable series at Unwinnable, a lovely publication for independent games criticism run by some lovely people, with some of the most interesting contributors out there. The Playable series not only offers some neat little games, but aims to bring readers inside the experience of making them. Unwinnable is supporter-funded and you should definitely look into subscribing.