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19 games at GDC 2018 that redefine what a video game even is

You thought you knew what gaming was. You're wrong.

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Sean Buckley
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Too Many Captains (And Not Enough Wire)

What's the best way to ruin a command structure? Put too many people in charge. "Too Many Captains" is what Star Trek might be if you had only one crew member following the orders of half a dozen commanders. 

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Too Many Captains (And Not Enough Wire)

The engineer controls the game using a custom box of buttons and wires -- rapidly reconfiguring the console to meet the demand of his superior officers.         

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Too Many Captains (And Not Enough Wire)

Because there's only one engineer controlling the game, things can get pretty frantic. To make matters worse? The person at the controls isn't allowed to look at the game's screen!

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Shococooococo VS

These aren't cleaning supplies. They're game controllers. 

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Shococooococo VS

See? Video game controller. Tilt the spray bottle to move up and down and squirt your enemies to death. Easy. 

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Striker Air Hockey

Ever try playing Air Hockey without the puck? ...or the paddles? ..or the table? 

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Striker Air Hockey

Striker Air Hockey combines a hidden touch surface and a projector to create a game you can play with just your hands. 

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Disco Is Dead!

Okay, Zombie games may be a bit played out -- but tell me you don't want to punch a dismembered zombie head to control a video game. 

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Disco Is Dead!

Yes. It's just as satisfying as you imagine. 

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Yo, Bartender!

If you've ever dreamed of being a mixologist, this is the game for you -- Yo, Bartender!

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Yo, Bartender!

It's a surprisingly deep bartending simulator -- not only do you have to get everybody's drink right, but the glass has a maximum fill limit, meaning you can't just dump ingredients into an invisible glass. You have to get the amounts just right. 

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Puppet Pandemonium

This isn't a puppet show. It's a video game. Really

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Puppet Pandemonium

Two players control a pair of puppets -- and try to act out a show displayed on a nearby screen... but it's still a video game. Each puppet is wearing a button on its head, used in a series of minigames that are unlocked throughout the show.

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Puppet Pandemonium

The audience has a role, too -- using their own buttons to participate in video games and choose the direction of the narrative.

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Clunker Junker

We all fantasize about flying through space, but have you ever thought about what a hassle it would be to repair a spaceship? Clunker Junker has. 

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Clunker Junker

In Clunker Junker, two players try to stay ahead of a group of attacking smugglers while navigating an asteroid field -- while their ship is falling apart. To survive, players need to use a custom repair tool on a series of four modules that are constantly breaking open.

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Wobble Garden

Wobble Garden is controlled based entirely on flipping springs. Each one is surrounded by a ring of LEDs -- which light up and react to how the springs are used.

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Wobble Garden

Play the game with these light-refracting glasses, however, is a real trip.

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Wobble Garden

Wobble Garden looks awesome through light-refracting glasses... but it does make it a little harder to play. 

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Hi-5 Heroes

What's more awesome than a high-five? A high-five that helps you get a high score, that's what.

Hi-5 uses Makey Makey technology to detect when two players have touched hands -- and make a game out of it.  

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Unicornelia

You know you've always wanted to be a Unicorn. That's why you should play Unicornelia.

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Unicornelia

In Unicornelia, you take on the painfully realistic task of juggling your responsibilities, relationships and feelings -- except with the limited movement of a unicorn. It's a surprisingly introspective experience. 

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Voiceball

It's like Pong, but with your voice! Yell into a microphone and watch your soundwaves reach out for the ball! It sounds wacky, but it's actually pretty neat: Hitting the ball where you want it means knowing what tone to use when you speak into the mic. 

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Vaccination

No, it's not Operation -- this is something much more complex. 

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Vaccination

Two players work together to save a patient riddled with bacteria -- one controls a syringe filled with antibiotics while the other uses a scanner to find the target. 

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Doors to the City

If you wasted your youth playing with toy Tech Deck skateboards, your time has finally come. The fingerboard is now a game controller. 

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Doors to the City

Oh, and this isn't a Tony Hawk clone, either -- Doors to the City is a giant, cosmic skateboarding playground with low gravity, bizarre landscapes and physics like Super Mario Galaxy

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Lemonade

Lemonade might be a simple game about shooting falling lemons with water, but its controller is anything but simple. Those are real pipes and valves.

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Lemonade

Playing it isn't complicated, at least -- turn the valve to adjust pressure and point the pipe in the direction you want to shoot. Easy!

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Bot Party

Technically, you're following the instructions of these adorable little robots -- which can't speak on their own. They can interpret a "skin-to-skin bot communication protocol" if you're holding them, however. 

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Bot Party

Hi-5 isn't the only game here about physical contact -- Robot Party is played by giving your friends fist bumps. 

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Mark Wars

Everybody likes to drive robots -- but this little guy doesn't have a controller. 

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Mark Wars

Instead, players take turns drawing lines of potential paths, hopefully guiding the robot to the black area in the center. The first player to get there wins. 

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Mark Wars

The little teeth on the front can tell the difference between an area with or without a drawn line -- but the robot still follows at its own pace. 

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Living Orb

The creator of the Living Orb calls it a "tangible game console." Basically, it's a ball with 162 LEDs on it designed to spark ideas for games that wouldn't work on existing devices. The Orb's maze game, for instance, turns one light red at the top of the orb and draws a maze using the leftover lights -- players have to rotate the ball to move the red light through the maze. It's a fully three-dimensional gaming console... but the graphics aren't much to look at.  

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Pump the Frog

Yes, that is a bicycle pump in an LED-illuminated glass jar! It's also how you play the platformer on the screen above it. 

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Pump the Frog

Pumping air or twisting the handle of the pump will let you move the frog in the game -- inflating it to jump and bounce around obstacles. 

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Pump the Frog

Believe it or not, this is the most traditional-feeling video game out of all of these. 

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Wind Golf

Wind Golf is basically just minigolf -- but without a club. Instead, players blow into one of two pipes to create gusts that push the ball forward to the left or right, and rotate the entire console to choose the direction. 
You look a little silly playing it, but it's surprisingly fun. 

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