If there's one thing at GDC I love as much as listening to lectures by some of the most interesting established names in game development, it's heading to the expo floor and playing games made by the indies and students who might one day follow (or better yet, completely disregard) the footsteps of those lecturers.
One of the student finalists in tonight's Independent Games Festival, Tag: The Power of Paint was the first game I got to actually sit down with after hitting the show floor, and I was pleasantly surprised. I'd go into a lot of detail and say this first-person-puzzle-painting-platformer* has some really clever puzzles, great pacing, and a wonderful visual style, but you can actually find out for yourself. The full game they're currently demoing less than fifty feet away from me is available for free on their website.
You may find yourself surprised by how, despite being "just" a student project, it still feels like a complete, satisfying experience that takes what I initially feared would be a silly or pointless core mechanic -- all the player's platforming abilities are activated by spraying the environment with different kinds of paint -- into a legitimately interesting half-hour experience.
As for now, I'm off to see if I can get my hands on Night Game.
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