The 2012 IGF Pirate Kart: 323 x 10 Words

by berv

Some months ago, I heard of the Pirate Kart: a collection of quick jams, abandoned projects, works-in-progress, and strange experiments deemed by their creators to be unworthy of entry into the annual Independent Games Festival. Fool that I am, I decided it would be a good idea to play through all 323 entries and attempt to review each of them in exactly ten words.

I’ve since found that expressing anything in ten words is, at its best, a damned challenge, and at its worst, not at all fair to the items under review. Attempting to balance description of the games with my reaction to them while at the same time trying to make the snippets enjoyable to read was quite a challenge that I definitely won’t claim to have overcome. I’d like to apologize in advance to those developers who I haven’t really done justice to and applaud everyone who participated for doing your thing, regardless of how much or how little I might personally have enjoyed it. I also appreciate that many of these games might never have been intended for review and so have tried to curb my snarkiness where possible.

I’d definitely recommend giving the Pirate Kart a try, if only to see sampling of the huge range of work contained within. The best way to appreciate it, I think, is to boot it up, take the random ordering it provides you, and start working down the list until you’ve had enough. Iif you’d prefer a little direction, though I’ve marked a few of the games below that I thought stood out. Games that are bolded and italicized are my top picks, notable in some way that made them clearly stand out from the pack. Games that are simply bolded had some sort of stand-out element and are certainly worth your time, if only to appreciate the idea or it’s potential.

But really, what I’d rather you do is throw yourself against the will of the Pirate Kart and see where you end up. Best of luck.

Title Developer Review
/ Escape \ Joshua Schonstal Satisfying jump timing from a single button. Guess which one!
1, 2, 3 Mike Meyer Simple puzzle platformer with the best damn music out there.
10.5 Sos Sosowski Buying all your powers is compelling. Why is jumping free?
1958 BNL Mike Meyer Real spacemen must get frustrated and lost all the time.
A Closed Mind Anna Anthropy Why can’t ethics ever defeat homophobia? What is the message???
A Game About Choices for At-Risk Youth Anna Anthropy At last the intricacies of abstinence-only education!
ABOVE v. BELOW Leon Arnott All your favourite arcade classics! All at the same time!
Adventures in the Public Domain Zayne Black This might have been better as a mediocre short story.
Afternoon in the House of Secrets Anna Anthropy Mysterious, but ALL CAPS BLOCKS OF TEXT turn me off.
Ah, La Mure Marek Kapolka No idea what’s going on, though now I hate lumberjacks.
Alfredo Richard Perrin Short Metroidvania platformer, floaty controls. Boss fight was kinda fun.
ALIANTE Santa Ragione Make it less slippery to rival Mario Kart AND Xtreme-G.
Aliems Kenneth Backus Letting momentum carry bombs into physiced buildings is surprisingly satisfying.
All The Better To See You Bento Smile Though rudimentary, lovely pixel art and seeds of curious reinterpretation.
Arenatron Mike Meyer Robotron without the ability to shoot back. Enjoyable dystopian distraction.
Art Attack Aaron “muteKi” Kearns Not quite a game, not quite art. Too generous, maybe?
ATC Blitz Andy Moore Planes much harder to land than in similar games. Realism?
Attack of the Chasers Benn Powell Reminiscent of Nimbus, interesting control scheme, but ultimately too frustrating.
Attack of the Heavenly Bats Sos Sosowski I really like ALL WEAPONS AT ONCE as a conceit.
Aubergine vs. Magenta Droqen Enjoyable two-player take on “Snake.” Unplayable by the colourblind.
Awesome Bob! Episode One – Bob Begins Zayne Black Derivative take on the unforgiving platformer. Simple graphics, catchy music.
Babymine Rob Fearon This is the Eraserhead of psychedelic spinning maze games. Nausea.
Baggage Daray Manning Simple jumping puzzles, nothing new. But I like the art.
Ballsy! Keith Weatherby II Simon in physical space with some interesting obstacles. Good potential.
Bang Bang Roguelution Sos Sosowski Surprising variety of music choices, but mashing keyboard little fun.
Barney Mutilator Jeremy Penner 64-bit incompatible. Was hoping for some Barney-killing nostalgia.
Bauerrauser Kenneth Backus Prototype airplane bombing: could be alright, but needs more variety.
beebash Kirk Israel Goddamn bees trying to take my diamond. Unique(awkward) controls.
Betasuppe mjau Lots of potential in this sort-of-graphical text adventure.
Better Than Anna Cycle Because Anna and I both played this, we both lose.
Big Runner Matt Rix No usable inputs mean I lose the game every time.
Black Desert Peter Sundling Needs tighter boundaries, but otherwise: great atmosphere, sound, enemy design.
Blackheist Manuel Magalhães More games need a robot. This robot needs more game.
Blast Jockey Allan O Rocket jumping and extreme recoil make a fun puzzle platformer!
Bledge Ciro Continisio Very stylish improvement over the classic Snake. Great multiplayer choice.
Blind block0man Much promise in words-as-pictures blindness portrayal. Why deviate?
Brain Dead Mark Johns Visually striking, agreeable gameplay, but theme choice in poor taste.
Bridge Terry Cavanagh More of a slightly interactive art installation than a game.
Bungee Bungee Bungee Alan Hazelden Simple co-op physics provide interesting prototype for bite-sized game.
Bushido Code Pizza Time One-hit-kill swordfighting rules! Would love an enhanced version.
Caevstroy Sucks Part 7/15: The Road to Victory Rhetoricstu Personal meditations from a self-aware jealous dev? Or art?
Caevstroysux 6: The Pursuit of Knowledge Rhetoricstu What knowledge am I pursuing? How to give myself epilepsy?
Calories Emma Fearon Tasteless cheap shot. Don’t play. No need for ten words.
Camel Quest 2000 Revolution Cycle Even the Vengaboys’ music can’t save this bizarre train wreck.
Camouflage Snake Alan Hazelden Snake/memory game. Incredibly difficult. I don’t envy adapted snakes.
Canabalt for Pink Daleks Michael Fearon Lots of people like Dr. Who. Is this for them?
Cancer Ben Sironko Sadly accurate representation of title material. Frustrating, difficult, and disheartening.
Candy Alchemist Snapman & WordRescue Nonsensical candy combinations eventually make gold. Not before raisins, though!
Catch the Mice EffBee Everything is noisy and erratic. Not much to see here.
Catsan Rob Fearon More nonsense/noise. Questionable demonstration of I-don’t-know-what.
CatSmash Jeremy Penner “Can not set video mode” ruins my chance at revenge.
Cave Sporey squidlarkin Asymmetry makes this Galcon/Eufloria spinoff superior to its predecessors.
Ccccombat Sophie Houlden Homage to the Atari 2600 game. Doesn’t offer much more.
Clergy VS Joy Team Focaccia Religion vs. gays as one-button space duel? Surprisingly good!
Cloadokum Porpentine Nicely written text adventure, though progress is *far* too scripted.
Coller Leon Arnott Adventure puzzle with light yet compelling theme. Simple potential here.
Collide Em Up Alan Hazelden I thought I was supposed to destroy earth. I lost.
CondomCorps Robert Yang Goofy spin on sniper games; wish life were like this.
Convenience Kelsey Higham I can see the goal but refuse to grind there.
Coolspace Fabien Porée This feels like my computer is too slow for it.
Crab Attack 3 Andy Moore A first Flash outing? Or just an early-abandoned project?
crakou anne laplantine Game overtly told me it was unintelligible. Then it crashed.
Crime Zone Stephen Murphy Funny, original, and compelling. Point and click storytelling perfected.
Criminal Alley Anna Anthropy Heavy-handed subversion of cultural norms! Oh Anna, you card.
Cubetendo mjau Nice Gameboy aesthetic, but unoriginal puzzle gameplay. Explore this look!
Cut Here Tim Garbos Visual style: agreeably old school.  Everything else: really quite derivative.
Daddy I’m Scared Leon Arnott A minimalist take on survival horror. Disconcerting and quite successful.
Dame Game Zoe Quinn Nice theming, but “I can’t do that” is adventurer’s bane.
Danger! Take! Mike Meyer Neat idea: constantly replicating PCs. A clever puzzler concept!
Dark Acre’s Ball of Steel Dark Acre Jack Solid labyrinth puzzling, but the ball moves so very slowly.
Darwin Soup Jonathan Whiting Swim around an empty world. Is this adaptation or failure?
defective Sergio Cornaga Main character’s animation excellent in its uniqueness, maze navigation insufferable.
Defend the Land Anna Anthropy Seemingly inconsistent “spot the difference” game. Sweet women’s fest soundtrack.
Delicious Breakfast Healy I appreciate this one-note approach to text-based adventure.
Delve Deep Leon Arnott The value of planning ahead/following instructions/having some patience.
Die By the Bladed Sword In the Darkness Of Hell Pizza Time I love same-screen multiplayer, but this is pretty rough.
Dinosaur Liberation Front lilserf Physics platforming potential, but too simple as is. Appreciated dinosaurs.
Disc Gunner Leon Arnott Stays true to its source material; double-edged abilities/powerups.
DOG PUSH 2000 Fabien Porée Noisy crappy not a game. Also has a bad MIDI.
Don’t Flub Your Line Noyb Wow did I flub that. Interesting concept, requires much patience.
Don’t Pee Yourself! Hulk Handsome Single focus improves experience but also reduces richness of gameplay.
Dorkgimp Weinerstink: They’re Out To Suck Your Brains! Jeremy Penner Poor text parsing makes this a short played text adventure.
Downflow Andrew Nissen Dodge this. Again. And again. For hours at a time.
Dracula Pong Pizza Time Unpolished pong wherein Dracula has a gun he can’t use.
Dreaming Big Nathaniel “Hectate” Mitchell Clearly prototypical jump ‘n’ chomp; a way to go, yet.
Duck Pond Justin Smith Hidden objectives might be neat if everything else were different.
Dwarven Rock Smash Colin C. Column jumper difficult to master, but no penalty for failure.
Eliza Edith Escapes Expiration Sergio Cornaga, Ethan Worley, Eliza Jackson, Michael Greene Run from a skull until you get bored. Twenty seconds.
Emagtra Kelsey Higham Tethered relational control an interesting prospect. Long way to go.
Encyclopedia Fuckme Anna Anthropy Erotic fiction choose-your-own-adventure. Ends up real gross.
EscapeOut David Gallant Brick breaker variant not variant enough to warrant new game.
Every Sperm Is Sacred Niche93 Moving around slowly collecting/dodging. “1000-games-in-one!” inclusion.
Extreme Digital Tennis Friends EffBee Stupid joke pong. Why would you make this at all?
Eyeball 3: Rorscach % Dungeon Sergio Cornaga, Mark Gobbin, AaronKI Difficult and obtuse mirror game. Good soundtrack/fog of war.
Farena Cycle Bottom of the barrel in design and sound. Graphics middling.
Fate of Mankind Leonardo Millan Metroidvania!? Here!? Charming powerup progression, decent jumping challenges. Not bad!
Fatherhood Episode 2: Entertain Eric! Quickly! Jeremy Penner Single button used to no good effect. Still, I sympathize.
Fatherhood: Episode One Jeremy Penner A fatherhood simulation. Is the point that I can’t win?
Find Shit Daphny Drucilla “Double [Dildos] Dragon” Delight David Disliked not because of its simplicity, but the visual assault.
Finderseek Leon Arnott A series of clever observation puzzles. Think outside the box.
Fish Soup Bento Smile Presenting the illusion of choice leads to much meaningless clicking.
Fizzy Dish Jonathan Whiting Prototype testing some strange mouse control. Too strange, I say.
Flood The Chamber Again Leon Arnott Extremely difficult platformer with too-easy-to-trigger game over.
For Cats Daphny Drucilla “Double [Dildos] Dragon” Delight David As a cat, I found this unrewarding and obtuse. Meow.
Fountain Anna Anthropy Move a toilet sprite around the screen to no effect.
Friendship in 4 Colours Damian Sommer Clever counter-co-operative gameplay best played with a close friend.
Frolicking Furballs Safari Resort Sos Sosowski A game for people who like cutesy pixelated murder simulators.
From A to Z and Back Again Syed Amin Salahuddin Stopped before A because it wouldn’t run on my computer.
Fuck All Y’all Elliot Trinidad Great art, fantastic intro, beginnings of promising gameplay. Future potential.
Fuck You Snake Zarawesome Snake with inconsistent speed. Not very rewarding for the frustration.
Fucking Run!!! Eddie Cameron Split focus is always neat, though this is really difficult.
FuhFuhFire Robert Yang A nice firey explosion, then no ability to affect it.
Generic Turn-Based Video Tennis Game Owen Grieve Interesting tweak to classic Pong. Would appeal to billiard pros.
Getalong Golfhop Leon Arnott Efficiency jumping would be much more enjoyable without hidden blocks.
Getout: Forever Alan Hazelden Generic brick breaker with a slow paddle and no powerups.
Giant Doll Velcro Technicolour Sticky Show Zayne Black Blind risk taking without any real rewards. Also, jump scenes.
Give Yourself Klikbumps madamluna Digital Goosebumps Choose Your Own Adventure on a small scale.
Go Forth and Multiply squidlarkin Most basic of space shooters, but bullets look like powerups.
Go West Hulk Handsome Novelty text adventure; ought to be named in spoiler tags.
Going Forward Terry Cavanagh The corporate climb summed up in jargon. It ends badly.
Gourmet Gaffe Hulk Handsome Novelty text adventure with minimal interaction. Reading a short story.
Grave Robbers Adam Saltsman Compelling proof-of-concept: multiple-simultaneous-trap-management-score-attack.
Graveyard Graveyard Revolution Terry Cavanagh Thought it was a memorial. Instead: black comedy, great music.
Gravity Gunner Leon Arnott Innovative use of tether mechanic in side-scrolling space “shooter.”
Hack // Run Adam Summerville “Hacking” more in setting than gameplay, but a decent shooter.
Hairy Chestival Phil Hassey A game no doubt made as a joke between friends.
HamsterBall Golf Nathaniel “Hectate” Mitchell The ability to shoot again mid-flight equals quintuple bogey.
Hangman 2011 Fabien Porée Is the 2011 reimagining that it doesn’t work in Windows?
Happy Birthday Hennell Alan Hazelden Happy birthday! You wanted a click-on-things program, right?
Happy Kitty Eats Christmas Bento Smile As it sounds, really. Run around, jump, and eat Christmas.
Heat Death Ben Cole Highly unpredictable effects of player input. An exercise in frustration.
Hello mjau Tried all the text-adventure standbys, couldn’t progress, gave up.
Heroica Evan Jones Enemies adapting to your build make a promising JRPG prototype.
Hero’s Adventure Terry Cavanagh A quick and clever send off of some RPG tropes.
Hold Right To Make A Metaphor Unfold Jeremy Penner I found Passage enjoyable and intelligent. This guy didn’t, evidently.
Hoody Attack Tam Toucan British class wars simplified in a rough and insensitive manner.
I Wanna Be The Red Guy Sergio Cornaga Very difficult move and shoot, maybe a metaphor? Not sure.
If Only James “Zaphos” Andrews Interesting “look to the past for solutions” conceit. More, please!
I’m Being Eaten By A Spider-Queen (And I Don’t Like It One Bit!) Leon Arnott Conveys feeling of helplessness while allowing satisfyingly futile player input.
I’m Not A Bad Person Really; I Just Have Low Self-Esteem Bento Smile Big Bad Wolf can either do nothing or awful things.
In The Well Leon Arnott Dodging falling Tetris pieces is better on reaction than memorization.
Inside Job Richard Perrin Metal Gear sneaking with the beginnings of a promising story.
Integer Inversion Nathaniel “Hectate” Mitchell Number puzzling game that I just don’t have the head for.
Intense Staring Simulator Zayne Black Venting about pains of social interaction. Dev on FBI watchlist?
Interview with a Rock Star Healy Good: constrained interaction in text games. Bad: text parsing.
Iron Fist Jake Birkett Basic fighting and basic exploration. Mindless, but it need not be.
J.A. Thomas Fab & Nanou Were driving this difficult in real life, carbon emissions would plummet.
Jaws Leashed: Mustach Edition Jeremy Penner A silly, cobbled-together experiment with Games Factory. Not good.
Jazz, the non-interactive Jazz Simulator Fabien Porée As explained in the title. Author must not like jazz.
Jetpack Dog Leo Burke Hold button to fly upwards, release to fall. Now with shooting!
Killer Hair Petri Purho Neat/pretty hair physics. But there is no game here.
Klik Asia Noyb This is a far cry from Cactus’ original. Nigh unplayable.
Kong & Play Cycle Hilariously bad. But honestly: really bad. Zig ah zig ah.
Kung-Fu Kristmas Kaper Cycle “Hilariously bad” seems to be a theme. Curious about its longevity.
Latino Jazz Explorer Kenneth Backus Very simple move around/dodge. Would Spanish fluency redeem this?
Lava Bricks Jonathan Whiting Build upwards on sinking tower. Slippery controls, but promising prototype.
Lazer Bitches Anna Anthropy 2 players sharing a fire key is interesting; definite potential.
Let’s Get This Over With Richard Perrin Bite sized bullet hell, couldn’t even survive ten seconds. Good?
Let’s Typing Some English Richard Perrin Objectionable subject material, though storytelling through typing game is novel.
Lick the Pineapple Kelsey Higham Like Tetris, but without structure or control. There are pineapples.
Licorice Theif Amon26 Cacophony underscores frustrating controls, served with side of lukewarm gameplay.
Livestock Longstack Leon Arnott Guys in a stack; each jumps independently. Extremely difficult; promising.
Lonely Hermit Dorf Glen Forrester Dwarf Fortress-derived, but without scads of tutorials. Utterly obtuse.
Los Mosquito Mark Johns Extremely sexy presentation, basic gameplay. Excited to see other projects.
Low Bitrate Fighters Troshinsky I hadn’t seen full motion video since the 90s! Fortunately.
Magnetball Leon Arnott Challenging mouse movement/physics activity. Not a compelling game yet.
Make Me A Moon Leon Arnott Orbit game with no room for failure. Moons too fast.
Malco Monogatari Sergio Cornaga, Liam Bowen, apologies to Pixel Flying robot head can rise or fall. What is life about?
Man Cannon Leon Arnott Using enemies as ammo is neat, but could use variety.
Man Jam Jonathan Whiting Minimalistic charm, but clicking on erratic men loses interest fast.
Mario’s Macross Glen Forrester Mario turns into a jet. What’s the POW bar for? Strange.
Mashing Efficiency Andy Moore Trainer for a skill that has no application. Sorry, chum.
Math Forever Jake Birkett For teaching math, this is a far cry from Number Munchers.
Mattar Jonathan Whiting Noisy Asteroids dodging without the ability to shoot. Pretty dull.
Maveric Minibus Bento Smile Tiger handheld gameplay, graphics, and sound. Nothing else to say.
megacool anne laplantine Title not indicative of coolness. Win (lose) in one second.
memrrtiks, suashem Terry Cavanagh Had to squint through epilepsy to see it’s a shooter.
Metal Spawn Jake Birkett Space Invaders-ish with ability to lay down sentries. Nothing new.
Mirage Cat Arcane Kids After running towards it for hours, concluded cat a mirage.
MissileDodger Fabien Porée Avoid death for a long time. Generally applicable life advice.
Mitch the Meteor Kyle Dwyer and Ryan Hill Seems odd that a meteor would shoot rather than collide.
MonoLudiCon Leon Arnott The ability to decide a level’s orientation interesting but underdeveloped.
Mother Sucker Martin Jonasson, Petri Purho Making fun of a particular friend in video game form.
Motion Columns Troshinsky Classic columns with an incredibly-difficult-to-parse matching mechanic.
MOTORCYCLE COCK Glen Forrester Platformer(?) without any practical jumping ability. Ergo, not particularly good.
Mr Cursor’s Chasing Adventure Alan Hazelden, Chris Jacobs & Nathanael Yau Mouse movement maze with novel attraction-switch-to-repulsion mechanic.
Mudslingers 3 Wade McGillis A less-intuitive Scorched Earth with an obtuse movement option.
Murder Dog IV Stephen Murphy Enjoyable if simplistic courtroom sim. Murder Dog a sympathetic protagonist.
My First IGN Interview Noyb Critically examines the state of sexual politics in games journalism.
My Game Terry Cavanagh The subtitle “You Will Never Play It” is seemingly true.
My Secret Boyfriend madamluna Weird text-based murder cover-up simulator. What’s it mean?
Needlesoft Haystack Explorer Sos Sosowski Needle-in-a-haystack at its finest(?). Can’t exit, though.
Netpack Jamey DeOrio Novel mashup of Pac-man/Nethack, but would rather play either.
Nitty Gritty Leon Arnott Progressive unlockables are crack to me, even when game is mediocre.
nobi2 anne laplantine I’m afraid I have absolutely no idea about this one.
Noggin Quest Leon Arnott Tricky restricted-control mouse puzzler. Could use some physics tweaking.
Noise Jonathan Whiting Interesting mouse-keyboard synergy, but very grindy vision-clearing mechanic.
Not the Sharpest Sword in the Box Alan Hazelden An enjoyable analogue to Twister, playable alone. On your computer!
NOTTUB Terry Cavanagh A fun surprise reminicent of Wii Warioware. More like this!
Nudists Gone Wild Hulk Handsome Very linear text adventure with decent humour. Could go places.
Oceanspirit Dennis Ben304 & qptain Nemo Intentionally bad writing is sometimes funny in this adventure game.
Operation Lodestone Leon Arnott Surprising amounts of poetry in gravity-based artillery placement game.
Organet Kelsey Higham Too frequently shifting world makes for nigh-impossible platformer. Metaphor?
Other People Kelsey Higham The intended artistic statement is completely lost on me. Sartre?
Pac-Man Without a Cause Sergio Cornaga Sans maze, pellets, or ghosts, Pac-Man can do little.
Parachute Skiing Leon Arnott I’m fondly reminded of SkiFree. Charming if simple little ditty.
Passage 2 Rob Fearon Is he riding a drill? Parody not entirely understood, sadly.
Passage 3 Rob Fearon 2001: A Space Odyssey as linearly interpreted through Rohrer’s Passage.
Pastagus Fantasy Shifty, Lucyberad and Jim Allehop Odd bullet hell. Couldn’t find any way to shoot. Can I?
Perception Andrew Nissen Screen rotation while maintaining controls. Blindness metaphor’s application somewhat unclear.
Phobiaphobiaphobia Terry Cavanagh Curious, if narrow, personality test. Less game, more thought exercise.
Pi Pong Kelsey Higham Couldn’t figure out inputs. Is a JPEG a game? Mind blown.
Piss Christ: The Game(s) Sergio Cornaga, Mark Gobbin Straightforward criticism of Serrano’s Piss Christ. Not too much game.
Platform RC Rylie James Thomas Hovering man responds badly to inputs. What does he want?
Pollination Aaron Jenkins Seeming plant simulation prototype that I couldn’t get the hang of.
Pong/Antipong Leon Arnott Probably the best single-player Pong variant one could make.
pongpongpongpongpongpongpongpong A. McClure Two-player Pong with multiple instantly appearing balls proves difficult.
PongSpar Aaron “muteKi” Kearns Single player pong against a wall. Time sink for the lonely.
Potato Potato Potato Potato Potato Sos Sosowski Eating unpeeled potatoes triggers unpleasant noise. Story of my life.
Prizeleaper Leon Arnott Rudimentary vertical jumper – tricky but forgiving. Add encroaching death floor?
Quest Bento Smile Apathetic protagonist jumps upwards to outrun his problems. He can’t.
R0B0 W4LK II Daray Manning Grid-based dodge/collect. Quit button oddly integrated into levels.
Rape A Scientist EffBee Title a disincentive to playing. Gameplay didn’t change my mind.
Rapture Raptor Rylie James Thomas Eating soccer players while dodging ball. Somehow they are saved?
Real Robot, Paper Heart Mitu Mechanics seem artistically motivated, but had difficulty understanding. Heartwarming potential?
RealTime Robots Jeremy Penner Kid’s face moves slowly. Fires and robots abound. Don’t recommend.
Redeye Andrei Mandrea The dark is scary. Occasional poetry insufficient incentive to explore.
Regression Jonathan Whiting Doesn’t launch at all. Does title reference era before computers?
Reset Robin Burkinshaw Great music integration in tightly controlled space dodger. No destination?
Retro Grade Leon Arnott Bullet dodger with very short approach distance. Way too hard.
Rogue Hockey block0man Fun Rogue/NES Hockey mashup. Add depth for smash hit!
rougelaika: a remembrance crow Soviet Union-themed asteroids reskin. Originated from a misspelling, perhaps?
Run! You Fucker! Hubol Gordon Hold right, jump occasionally, get sworn at pretty much constantly.
Safety Jonathan Whiting Follow instructions to win(?) Not much to this one, apparently.
SAKE EXPRESS * PRO WRESTLING Zak Ayles Nice aesthetic, but no visible hit indicators make fighting frustrating.
SaveMeQuick anne laplantine Grab falling powerups until game is done. No way to lose.
Seasons of Change Richard Perrin Great variety of artistic styles, compelling stories, frustrating platformer gravity.
Sergio Cornaga, Procrastinator Sergio Cornaga Flee your problems; all you will achieve is wasted time.
Sexy Missile Command Fabien Porée Like those old arcade hacks: classic gameplay plus nudie pics.
Sheeple Evan Peiperl Mockup for a potentially interesting interaction-sculpting game. Needs work.
Shit Snake Alan Hazelden Penis snake eats own poop until inevitable collision with self.
Shoot One Million Rockets at One Million Enemies EffBee Difficult rationing game that goes on for far too long.
Shoot-Em-Art Troshinsky Aim then click until satisfied. Sadly, that time never comes.
Shroom Eater Jake Birkett Incredibly simple timed collection game. Might get challenging eventually. Dunno.
Silent Game Anna Anthropy Encouraging player-provided sound effects cute gimmick, though gameplay’s abysmal.
Silent Skies Michael Todd Relaxing single button proof-of-concept. How to deepen experience?
Silly Family – An Original: Caevstroy Sux Part 10 of 15 Rhetoricstu Nonsensical mess that reminds me to go play Cave Story.
Skeet Nathaniel “Hectate” Mitchell Everyone’s least favourite Duck Hunt play mode done limited justice.
Sky Edge Anna Anthropy Critical response to Bethesda’s “Scrolls” trademark nonsense. Play once, maybe.
Snakes of Avalon Igor Hardy & Alex van der Wijst After sitting through the intro, there was no mouse responsiveness.
SOCCERBALL 3D Fabien Porée Like soccer without opponents, skill, or a ball that rolls.
Söze David Williamson Time-pressured logic/deduction game. Pretty decent in its simplicity.
Space Phallus Charlie Knight The title had me all excited, then it wouldn’t run.
Space Racist Allan O Splitscreen slowspeed racing. Does having a face make me fascist?
Space Squid Andy Moore Like a slow “Get that Sub!,” but it freezes constantly.
Speedlight Monkey Sos Sosowski Spinning your mousewheel gets you victory and worn out mouse.
Spike Sisters Anna Anthropy Neat: two entities with different dimensions. Frustrating: mouse maze games.
SSSHIFTY Glen Forrester Puzzle platformer; shoot to teleport. Neat potential with some refinement.
starman Glen Forrester Mario flies upward. Can move but it doesn’t really matter.
Stork Ride Leon Arnott Forced-scrolling dodge game. Help a baby eat some fruit.
Storm Dragons Vs Ninja Michael Todd Pixel art had me excited, then I couldn’t shoot. How!?
Strut Simulator Cycle Hold right. There are some animated sprites. That’s all, folks.
Suction Star Leon Arnott Rotational fall-down game. Does its simple task well enough.
Super Cult Tycoon 2 : Deluxe Edition Eddie Cameron Reasonably irreverant cult simulator. Needs a big zoom-out feature.
Super Duper Thwackswinger (IGF Edition) squidlarkin Another rudimentary tethered elastic gravity game. Is that a genre?
Tanks vs Aliens Zayne Black and @hannardynamite 2D rail shooter with no enemy variety or powerups. Basic.
Tapdance Simulator Kelsey Higham Mashing keys equals win. Is that the secret to tapdancing?
Test Subject Infinity Richard Perrin Lilypad puzzle, colour maze, and Plinko machine. Brief Unity exploration.
Tetris Fight Club Alan Hazelden and Paul Forey Fighting game without animations makes anticipation and appropriate response difficult.
The Alien Zit Jeremy Penner Painful voice work, extremely basic word recognition and reaction game.
The Ballad Of Sad Ghost Jeremy Penner Click constantly to move. Fly by almost nothing. Sad ballad.
The Deathracemas Pizza Time Classic Deathrace, now with two players. Basic, but not bad.
The Great Star Fusion Leon Arnott Rotational attempt to escape a black hole. Challenging but decent.
The Illogical Journey of the Zambonis – Special IGF Demo Noyb Logic/observation puzzles plus philosophy plus utterly bizarre theming choice.
The Last Survivor Benn Powell Pile blocks with mouse to overcome platformer obstacles. Not bad!
The Love Letters Double Feature Christine Love Turn-based textual fighting game and story-driven calligraphy tutorial.
The Mazing Adventure SirNiko Very easy short maze game requiring minimal thought or skill.
The Monkey Will Dance Zarawesome The monkey will not, as you need the secret password.
The Package Emma Fearon Text adventure story of how crime is a messy proposition.
The Sky Is Falling Philip Buchanan Frustrating platformer with limited control and no restart on death.
The Terrible, Terrible Turret Leon Arnott Simple dodge game; might be metaphor for futility of war.
The Trail Noyb Non-interactive sprite mishmash except for moving to “lose” square.
The Ultimate Dungeon Crawl Christopher Sinclair Non-graphical roguelike with ubiquitous spelling errors. Hard to visualize.
The Wave Milo Brandt Wouldn’t open. Too bad, as it’s author’s sole IGF contribution.
thurs day Sergio Cornaga, James, MYLONELYDAYS.COM Events and interactions devoid of context. Graphical style uniquely enticing.
Time Stopperz block0man Input-triggered crash: a bug? Or the game’s whole point?
Tip of the Tongue Ben Nizan Earning of better endings through gameplay made explicit in story.
To the Bride Bouque-et Federico Fasce Quickdraw skeet shooting with a cynical marriage theme. Pretty tight.
Tombed Anna Anthropy Decent falldown game variant that increases tension in satisfying way.
Toy Motor Boat Sim EffBee Like a reskinned 2D golf game with really short strokes.
Train Blader Oli Harris Complex rhythm game I couldn’t quite figure out. Might evolve.
Trepidatious Peak Leon Arnott Limited but movable save points is cool. Very challenging, though.
Tribe Jonathan Whiting Groovy tribal masked men dance. Unsure of my input ability.
TRIS Glen Forrester Badly made gag tetris with picture of penis at end.
Trommel mjau Geometric figures move to no visible purpose. Clicking results similar.
Trusty Assistant Leon Arnott Did I just play a tickle fetish game? Yup. Hm.
Twankility – Forced Meditation Cycle Gag meditation game. Might even call it a jump scare game.
Tyrion 2011 Glen Forrester Medieval top-down shooter. Pretty simplistic, but welcome theme change.
Ultimate Game Leon Arnott Action-based elimination efficiency. The quit button literally tempts you.
Unexplored Michael Todd Naming alien artifacts a neat convention. Hopeful for deeper integration.
Unislot Jonathan Brodsky Simplified video game slot machine. Earn sexy pixel hats. Joy.
Unko’s Adventure In Magical Land Bento Smile Forced-scroll fecal platformer with nothing special to recommend it.
Vanishtash Rob Fearon Click repeatedly to make a moustache disappear. No win condition.
Virtua Swordsman Pizza Time Extremely simple sword-and-shield 2-player combat. Rather enjoyable.
Watson mjau Trial-and-error search through alphanumeric crowd. Nonsensical dialogue bits.
Wee Leon Arnott Very difficult platforms-as-cover platformer. Would like save points.
Where Am I? Benn Powell Memory-based navigation by bumping into walls. Novel, but challenging.
Windows Offender Jen Grier Shoot at slow-moving error dialogues. Lukewarm Windows frustration humour.
Winning Square EffBee Trial-and-error clicking on squares without guidance. Bad Minesweeper.
World Without Hunger: A Pretentious Art Game Rhetoricstu Intelligently parodying art often proves as difficult as making it.
Write anne laplantine Click on keyboard to type whatever you want. That’s all.
X Means Multiply Aaron “muteKi” Kearns This seems a first-run attempt at making a shooter.
YeargH 3D Glen Forrester Wolfenstein mod with reduced graphics and gameplay. Shoot a pirate.
You Have To Go Down The Hole Sergio Cornaga, Beathoven, AaronKI, 00800 Great aesthetic, decent controls, but only a tease of story.
You Have to Knock the Penis Erik Svedäng, Petri Purho Procedurally-generated Cut the Rope puzzles mean less clever design.
You Have to Put the Ball in the Cup Healy Joke text adventure with two action steps. Not worth it.
You Have to Put the Candy Cane in the Stocking Healy The same as above, but with a plug for SoftSoft.
You Have to Put the George Washington in the American Flag Healy Again with the basic conceit, again with the marketing plug.
You Have to Put the Indie Game in the Contest Healy The same as before, with an added level of meta-awareness.
You Have to Put the Spider in the Jack-O-Lantern Healy As the previous four, but Halloween themed and thus spoooky!
Your House Is Wet Kelsey Higham  Avoiding the cloud’s not hard. Eventually it gives up, resets.

If you’ve made it this far, I should let you know that there’s another Pirate Kart coming up the weekend of February 25th and 26th. If you’re interested in getting involved, check out Glorious Trainwrecks for more information.

Update (28/02/12): I just stumbled across this fantastic collection of developer reflections on what exactly a Pirate Kart is and why it’s important. Well worth a read.