A week or two ago, I took part in my first Ludum Dare—Latin for "to give a game"—a recurring event that picks a theme and asks participants to make a game around it within 48 hours.
This time around the theme was "an unconventional weapon," and it produced more than 2820 entries with weapons including laser pointers, cats, happiness, your eyes, and even your own beating heart.
I don't know how to program in any meaningful way, but I showed up to help a friend write an adventure game, and I was surprised at how welcomed I felt; everyone I met just wanted to make something or learn something, myself included. While my team didn't finish in time, I will merely say that our weapon was the moon. Although there are literally thousands of games from the event now online for you to explore, here are five of the best I've seen so far.
Hugo the Laser Cat (Web, Windows, OSX, Linux)
This is the game whose persistent meowing made my cat freak out. You solve puzzles by manipulating hordes of cats with a laser pointer, and its game description is as follows:
Hugo has a laser pointer attached to his head.
All cats follow his beam.
All cats follow his will.
Hugo is the Laser Cat King.
Obey your god, cats.
The dot has arrived, and it is red.
Wink Murder (Web, Windows, Linux)
Your mission is simple: Wander around an environment that feels a little bit like an abstract sculpture museum, find all the brightly colored cubes, and murder them by blinking. Think of it like a game of hide and seek where you can kill things by looking at them.
Haters Gonna Love
You play as a little unicorn girl who battles the tedious negativity of the online world by shooting naysayers with stuffed animals and colorful confetti. Press "C" for "awesomeness"!
One of the most stylish games I've seen out of Ludum Dare this year, ScarKrow is a surprisingly challenging platform game where you can snap from location to location by targeting enemies and swinging your sword. The artwork and music really take it up a notch.
Soulbreaker (Windows, Mac, Linux)
A charming little game where your heart is your only weapon (and light source) as you explore a series of underground caves.