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As its students graduate, the NYU Game Center shows off work of the best and the brightest

Minus the whole “gum controller” thing. I… I just can’t…

gamecenter event new york
Image: Jake Vander Ende / KnowTechie

Established in 2008, the NYU Game Center is a department in Brooklyn, NY that offers a BFA and MFA in Game Design.

Their 2019 class just graduated, so to cap the year off there was a showcase event putting student work on display. I went to support a few friends of mine and here were some of the highlights of the event.

Up first was checking out Carol Mertz’s game, With You

with you gamecenter
Image: Carol Mertz

I didn’t get a chance to play, because there was a nearly infinite line to do so, but it’s a non-violent, cooperative “date game” where you solve puzzles together. With You is evocative of the same sorts of feelings you get from playing games like Snipperclips and Ibb & Obb, where you face asymmetrical circumstances and have to work together to figure out what to do.

The world needs more games like that and I’m excited to see what happens with this one.

Clutter is a point-and-click, zero-pressure game

clutter game
Image: Francesca Carletto-Leon

The entire night was dimly lit so you’ll have to forgive the photo quality, but up next was Cesca and her game, Clutter.

Clutter is a point-and-click, zero-pressure game about moving out of your own apartment and into a shared space with a romantic partner. In it, you have to make decisions about what objects to keep and which ones to donate, having conversations with your partner along the way. It definitely tugged at my heartstrings, because I’ve absolutely been there.

This photo also warms my heart, because that’s Cesca’s dad playing the game for the first time. Adorable.

Call 666 for a good time

666 game game center nyu
Image: Jacob Vander Ende / KnowTechie

I made my way into a much, much darker room and found this game, Dial a Demon, which I had seen on Twitter but didn’t otherwise know anything about. It’s a game played on a phone where you call a demon, summon it into the digital aether, and flirt over a facsimile of iMessage (which, of course, uses a Ouija board as a keyboard).

It was slick, stylish, and uncomfortably alluring, reminding me of how exciting it can be to have flirty conversations with new people over text.

A.B.C. Already Been Chewed is the stuff of nightmares

abc already been chewed game
Image: Jacob Vander Ende / KnowTechie

I believe games should always aim to elicit strong, unique, specific emotions and if that’s the metric we’re aiming for, I’m sorry but this one takes the cake for the night. It’s a game called A.B.C. Already Been Chewed. You take a piece of gum and start chewing when you play the game, which is navigating through text with the analog stick. When you’re done, you add your freshly chewed gum to the controller, which gets more and more disgusting as the night progresses.

Yes, that poor soul is holding a controller coated with the gum of countless other players.

I was going to play, but I literally gagged and couldn’t do it. It’s fucking horrifying.

Here’s one more picture of the nightmare controller because if I had to see it so do you

abc controller
Image: Jacob Vander Ende / KnowTechie

The defining characteristic I found at this Game Center event was that these are games made by designers thinking way, way outside the box. These are going to be the folks making the experiences you haven’t even dreamed of yet and I frankly cannot wait to see what they come up with.

Hell, maybe Panic can recruit some of them to make sure their Playdate developer roster isn’t just dudes.

Seriously, how gross is that controller? What did you think of the games showcased at Game Center? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Jake is a writer and game designer in the suburbs of Philadelphia. He loves action, exploration, building, filling bars, and turning numbers into bigger numbers. Someday he'll release a video game.

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