6 DC-born indie games you can play right now

D.C.'s devs bring you a little bit of everything — from zombie survival to enhanced drinking games.

IGDA-DC at a recent happy hour. (Photo via Meetup)'s Editorial Calendar explores a different topic each month. The July 2016 topic is gaming. See gaming coverage from all five of our East Coast markets here.

Correction: Dead Man's Trail is made for PC, Mac and Linux, not iOS and Android. The article has been corrected. (7/27/16, 9:06 a.m.)
Hey, you. Yes, you — step away from the Pokémon Go.

When was the last time you played a game from one of D.C.’s very own indie developers?
Maybe, like us, you’re not quite sure where to start. If that’s the case, then you’re in luck — with the help of Callen Shaw and Joshua Jennings (two leaders of the D.C. chapter of the International Game Developers Alliance), we’ve got a list of six D.C.-born games that you can play right now. There’s a little bit of everything in this list — from drinking games to space games and beyond.
It’s a start:

  • Dr. Spacezoo. Available via early access in Steam, Dr. Spacezoo is a twin-stick shooter with the goal of rescuing “exotic space animals.” Shaw and Jennings confirm that this is as cute as it sounds.
Dr. Spacezoo. (Photo via Steam)

Dr. Spacezoo. (Photo via Steam)

  • Tumbleweed Express. Story-driven historical drama more your style? Check out Tumbleweed Express. “The year is 1885, the height of the Age of Steam in the United States of America,” the game description declares. “But something is not quite right in the land of destiny and the free market: Dirigibaus, a ruthless entrepreneur, has monopolized trade in the West with a fleet of airships!” Your mission? Defeat Dirigibaus, if you can.
Your life on the Tumbleweed Express. (Photo via Steam)

Your life on the Tumbleweed Express. (Photo via Steam)

  • Drinkards. This one is a little different — the mobile game was developed by Shaw himself. Shaw told the game is a “better way to get drunk,” essentially because it encourages you and your friends to complete goofy challenges while imbibing.
Drinkards. (Screenshot)

Drinkards. (Screenshot)

  • XenoBloom. If you’re looking for something meditative, the plant-growing/garden-nurturing game XenoBloom is a good bet. “XenoBloom charges you, an inexperienced demi-god, with the care of a fledgling alien biome,” the game description on Steam reads. We feel more important already. ?
An alien garden on XenoBloom. (Photo via Steam)

An alien garden on XenoBloom. (Photo via Steam)

  • Dead Man’s Trail. This game describes itself as a “procedural zombie survival game.” Made for PC, Mac and Linux it is envisioned as a kind of modern twist on the Oregon Trail game — this time with zombies.

  • Immune Defense. This one’s a little more education-focused than the others. Molecular Jig Games sees itself as a double bottom line company, making money while also making the world a better place through knowledge of molecular biology. Immune Defense is the company’s current project — in it players use cells and proteins to fend off pathogens. Melanie Stegman, the writer and designer for Immune Defense, is also a co-organizer for IGDA-DC.

Want to meet game developers like these and more, IRL? IGDA-DC is gearing up to host the group’s first “District Arcade,” a daylong celebration of all D.C.’s indie games on Aug. 27. The group also holds happy hours on the second Tuesday of every month.

Projects: Gaming Month 2016

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