Titles announced for alt.ctrl.GDC exhibit

Showcasing games with unusual control mechanics at GDC 2018.

Showcasing games with unusual controls at alt.ctrl.GDC

Game Developers Conference 2018, the world’s largest annual games industry event, will take place in March of next year. GDC always has an array of experimental and envelope-pushing demo games to try out, and next year won’t disappoint. 20 titles have been announced for this year’s alt.ctrl.GDC exhibit, which as usual will give attendees the chance to play games which ditch the traditional keyboard, mouse and console controller, in favour of a variety of less typical methods of play.

The 20 games selected are one-of-a-kind and some were created specifically for the alt.ctrl. exhibit. In Too Many Captains (and Not Enough Wire), created by Avi Romanoff and Giada Sun, two players must go on a journey in a spacecraft. One player, the pilot, relays instructions to the other player, the engineer, but the engineer cannot see the screen and the pilot cannot physically control the ship. The engineer must insert multicoloured wires into holes (marked ‘weapons’, ‘shields’, ‘propulsion’, and ‘repairs’) based on what the pilot tells them.

Other methods of control include motion-sensing unicorn-themed headgear, water pipes, and a giant set of scissors, but the standout entry is surely Disco is Dead by Third Floor Games. In Disco is Dead, the controller is a zombie’s head, which must be slapped by players who take on the roles of Reggie and Kenny, two cops battling the undead in this retro arcade-style game. Devastatingly, the zombie heads are not commercially available, but the good news is you can play Disco is Dead at home using conventional keyboard controls on the Disco is Dead itch.io page.

Unfortunately you won’t be able to play the rest of the games, unless you’re lucky enough to be able to travel to San Fransisco where GDC takes place, but the conference is attended by all the big hitters of the industry, so let’s hope some of them like what they see enough to bring games like these to the mass market. The full range of alt.ctrl.GDC titles is available on the GDC website.