This week, we go a-wandering in a peaceful ocean, we solve some puzzles in a big old shack, and oh god, here come the flashbacks to the days of MSN Messenger and message boards. Enjoy!
Lost Memories Dot Net by Nina Freeman and Aaron Freedman
Lost Memories is essentially a time portal back to, ooooh, around 2002. Specifically the internet of around 2002, which—if you were there—you'll know consisted primarily of anime and JRPG fansites. Before the great void known as Twitter, we used MSN Messenger to communicate, and it's that more direct chat program that forms the basis of this nostalgic interactive fiction.
It's a fairly comprehensive old-fashioned-browser sim, as it also allows you to tinker with your old-timey website, to listen to a spot of music, and to visit a few of those fansites, when they become available. Wrapped in a convincing package, this is an authentically written story of teenage life.
Kirigami by Sophie Cook
This striking little adventure mixes hand-drawn, 2D characters and objects with a three-dimensional world—a mashup that works incredibly well. Playing as, maybe, a boy in a cat-themed onesie, you'll move from room to room in a sort of papercraft house, doing odd jobs for the strange human or animal residents therein. The handmade art is great, and I just love the feeling of depth to Kirigami's environment.
Gone Wandering by Oogaphobia
We all need a bit of peace now and again, and if you're looking to find that in digital form you could do worse than to explore the serene ocean of Gone Wandering. Armed only with a motor boat and a net, you're in search of butterflies here—a quest that takes you from one uninhabited island to another, on a bright sunny day. It's a bit of a shame for the butterflies, I suppose, but it's a nice enough reason to get out and about. (Via Warp Door.)
Zak by Scott Slucher, Robin Burgess
And here's an action-platformer with a gently inclining difficulty level, set in a mysteriously dystopian world. It's a bit of a shame that this dystopia all but fades into the background when you eventually head underground to batter mice with a lead pipe, but this is nevertheless a solid, enjoyable platform game in an intriguing setting.