Video games are big business in 2021, but like many mainstream industries, they still tend to suffer from a notable lack of representation. Many blockbuster titles, for instance, feature white protagonists and characters, despite the fact that 57% of players in the U.S. between the ages of 6 and 29 will be people of color in less than a decade, according to Quartz. This disconnect extends to development, wherein the number of white and Caucasian developers easily eclipse the number of Black developers.
Despite this disparity, however, Black developers have always made an impact on the world of gaming. In the 1970s, for instance, Black engineer Jerry Lawson changed gaming as we know it with the introduction of Channel F, the first cartridge-based home video game console. This new way of playing, which allowed players to tackle multiple games on a single system, paved the way for the systems we all know and love. Needless to say, hardware was only the beginning.
In honor of Black History Month, we’ve rounded up 10 titles from Black developers players may have missed. There is something here for fans of intuitive platformers, classic 2D brawlers, and even stock photos of dogs.
Players who want something of a puzzle-based platformer should try out Chrono Ghost. This time-bending platformer features an art style that is reminiscent of Ori and The Blind Forest. Players step into the shoes of the Chrono Ghost and move through levels that highlight the Chrono Ghost’s ability to stop, slow down, or speed up time. Each feature gets more intricate and involved as time goes on. Each level is filled with traps, hazards, and objects that want to stop the player. The only thing that will affect these items when they’re glowing green is the player’s time powers. This game will require careful planning, keen reflexes, and power time travel to beat.
Be warned, players. This game is great, but also it’s difficult. It can be tough to master, so be sure to take your time when trying!
Wanna beat someone up who definitely deserves it? Treachery in Beatdown City gives players the opportunity to beat the bologna out of anyone they see. Combining RPG and tactical games with wrestling mechanics, players can lay to waste all the awful people they meet. Players choose fighters and build up custom strike and grapple combos to save the president, Blake Orama.
The game follows a 2D, fight-for-your-life style, and is reminiscent of turn-based games like Yakuza 7. Those who saw their glory in Streets of Rage will love to pick this game up. The art style is reminiscent of those awesome ’80s games fighter games in arcades.
Hex Gambit is a short form, competitive strategy game which allows players to surprise their friends right in plain sight. Characters are able to jump across the board like checker pieces. Each move compliments each other to create bold, game-changing plays to increase one’s chances of winning. Each match is a race because, with every win, stronger abilities become unlocked.
This game is not just perfect for solo strategy players — it’s also ideal to play with friends. This game was created not just to enjoy playing, but for friends to enjoy watching as well. I mean, there’s little more satisfying than watching a friend get one-upped in a video game.
At this current time, One Man Left Studios is holding off on sales of Hex Gambit. This was decided because the developer plans to release Hex Gambit: Respawned. Currently, the game is scheduled to launch in Q3 2022.”
On Aurioma, those who seek answers can connect with their ancestors through an energy called Aurion. King Enzo and Queen Erine Kori-Odan are crowned on their wedding day in the city of Zama. But this happy day is only the beginning. Follow Enzo and Erine Kori-Odan as they face trials and struggle to find the meaning of the Kori-Odan legacy.
The game is done in 2D hand-drawn graphics, making it an absolute sight to behold. The game has real-time fast-paced battles both on the ground and in the air for players to try out and enjoy. Those that want to play something more story-based, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is the perfect game to try.
Hair Nah aims to answer a complex question in a way that players can understand: What are the stresses that Black women face and how can we address them? Hair Nah follows a Black woman’s struggles to avoid people touching her hair uninvited. The simple, browser-based game is simple, fun, and will give players a message of inappropriate racial attitudes in style. Players can create their own avatar, pick a travel destination, and use directional keys to swipe away uninvited hands.
The game is simple to navigate, so players shouldn’t have much trouble figuring out the keys.
Let’s face it, leisure games are currently all the rage. Tiny Bird Garden is the perfect virtual pet simulator that lets players customize a bird garden. Players can use a variety of toys, collect accessories to dress their birds up, and engage with other small, quirky things that will keep them invested in their garden. What’s more, players can listen to little birdy conversations as they chat with each other. And with over 100 birds, players can find their favorite birds, enhance friendship levels, and other surprises that we don’t want to give away here.
What’s more relaxing than a sweet bird garden? Not much. It’s the perfect way to enjoy some downtime and listen to some sweet bird sounds.
Swimsanity! is an action-packed, underwater shooter that will take players by surprise. Players control Mooba and use a variety of unique power-ups and weapons to survive in a cruel, aquatic world. Team up with friends to swim, explore, and shoot in Adventure mode, or face off in Last Mooba Standing matches. And, with over 150 challenges to complete across 8 action-packed game modes, players and their friends are sure to be facing off for hours.
What’s more, Swimsantiy! is offered on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC, and offers cross-platform play. No matter what system anyone has, they can all play together
Sometimes, a nice story game is the perfect thing for a long day. Before I Forget is a story-based game about love, loss, and a life fulfilled. The game centers on Sunite, a woman with early-onset dementia. Players try to piece together her life by searching her home for answers and clues. Each item will bring players one step closer to bringing Sunite’s memories back to her.
Before I Forget highlights the small yet important aspects of our everyday lives. Each item in Sunite’s home has a heavy history that will help put together her memories. The game explores the tragedy of how easily memories can be lost by the people who live them. Be ready for tears and some feels when you play this one.
For players that are looking for something more fast-paced, Aerial Knight’s Never Yield is one of the most delightful platformers of the past couple of years. This level-based runner will have players jumping, sliding, and dashing through a vibrant, futuristic Detroit. It features an amazing soundtrack from Danime-Sama, an artist from Detroit.
It’s simple and short, but a ton of fun. In February 2022, the game also received “Da Update,” a massive update for the game that adds new bonus levels, music, an endless mode, leaderboards, and more to the game. The game is available across PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
This game puts it all out there in its title. An Airport For Aliens Currently Run by Dogs is a comedy game where players explore large airports around the universe as they try to reunite with their fiancée. These airports, of course, are run by stock photo dogs with bold personalities, and players can speak to, bribe, and pet them in this quirky intergalactic adventure.
While An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s very sincere and guaranteed to put a smile on any player’s face. Those looking for a game to lift their spirits can always turn to An Airport For Aliens Currently Run by Dogs. It’s available on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
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