Guide a hand puppet through a mysterious cult ritual, play golf with a toaster, or try to find your keys inside an oversized tie. All of this and more is happening at alt.ctrl.GDC this year!
The Game Developers Conference is excited to unveil the 19 games chosen to exhibit at alt.ctrl.GDC at GDC 2023. This exhibition, co-helmed by indie curator John Polson, showcases some of the most unique, offbeat, and innovative controllers in modern games—with this year featuring a focus on accessibility.
Visitors can come into this collaborative community space to play video games using alternative controllers—and meet the developers behind these interesting projects.
Be sure to vote for your favorite exhibit at GDC 2023 to crown one of the outstanding alt.ctrl exhibitors with the Audience Award. Voting will take place at the exhibit Wednesday through Friday of GDC.
Here is this year's roster of finalists:
Atomik (Posly): In this game, you work in the nuclear plant of the glorious nation of Osteria. Suddenly the alarm goes off, everything's going wrong. Thanks to your manual, repair the different modules of the plant before it explodes!
Attack of the bric-a-brac (Tatiana Vilela dos Santos, Olivier Drouet): Attack of the bric-a-brac is a unique Make&Play video game. Make your own controller by hijacking conventional computer devices to play several party games.
Blossom (Laura Meng, Blossom Team): Blossom is an interactive storybook that takes the main character through several stages of her life.
Cloth Car Challenge (Richard Vallett, Leo Cohen, Spencer Cohen): This team created textile-based capacitive touch interfaces that can fold and stretch like conventional fabrics and can be constructed in a variety of shapes and sizes. Cloth Car Challenge demonstrates this interactivity by providing control for steering and acceleration through tap and swipe inputs along the conductive fabric surface.
Fooscade (Hong Hua, Yixuan Liu): This game is inspired by Pong and Foosball, incorporating their game and interaction mechanics. The controller lets players control the feet in the screen to kick the ball into the opponent's goal.
Funny Kitty Stick (Kindle Games): Funny Kitty Stick aims to emulate the feeling of playing with a lovable kitten through the use of spacial tracking and haptic feedback.
Gilliams Great Escape (Marcus Kuffner, Annas Shazad, Deegan Kosen, Rowan O'Neil, Davide Ashley, Jayden Galita): Gilliams Great Escape is a golf-like game focused on having the player launch a fish towards a goal post, using a toaster as the alternative controller.
GridMaster (Jonathan Voss, Katie Kohutek, Emily Regner, Jon Siemon): The GridMaster control scheme is made for seamless, playful competition that is both personal and a spectacle. By hiding large step pads under a projected surface that the player dances on top of, GridMaster removes any mental disconnect from looking at a screen, evoking the grand movements and feelings of playing hopscotch as a child.
Haber Dasher (Erin J.K. Truesdell): Trick the world into thinking you're a normal businessperson! Two players share an 8-foot-wide bowler hat as they work together to perform mundane tasks.
HEIST '98 (Dean Debono): In this asymmetrical game, two players go head-to-head as to try and undergo—or prevent—a heist at a museum.
inTIErrupted (French K155): Players are stuck in a literal romantic entanglement, as they try to find their keys in an oversized tie and create alibis from household objects so they're not caught in a tryst.
Kitchen Kauldron (The Kitchen Kauldron Team): Join Wendy the Witch's crew and help turn this struggling magical food business venture around as you embark through a gamified food truck experience. Work together in three different roles as you take and make orders throughout various magical lands.
Paper Glider (S213): The player is represented by a small paper person piloting a paper plane through a rural village, using the controller in order to navigate the landscape.
Stump'd! (Team Borf): A lumberjack game where players chop an axe onto a tree stump—that detects in-game inputs, offering immersion to create a fresh experience.
Two By 4 Racing (Night Owls): A cooperative racing game where you can avoid cows, or not. The front driver steers while the one in the back keeps the engine running by spinning their wheel. Switch roles every time you collect fuel, and don't run out or your car will fall apart—just like all those poor cows you didn't avoid.
Unicycle Samurai (Spartan Samurai, Michigan State University): Instead of controlling their character through their hands, with the Unicycle Samurai alt controls players use their core and lower body to cycle around the screen.
YettiBebbis: Puppet In A Cult (Yuan Suo, Yile Xu, Jiacheng Qiu, Rei Yamada, Tingyu Yan): This game requires the player to use both hands (fingers, specifically) to control a virtual puppet in the game as if they are controlling a physical puppet—working to mimic the movements of the other YettiBebbis as they perform a mysterious ritual.
Cosmic Crew: The Game (Space Cow Team): A frantic cooperative space shooter with a unique control scheme! Using the power of friendship (and excessive shouting), work together with your crewmate to bring down the advancing starship fleet.
Grocery Trip (Victor Motti, Sara Brugoli, Arnaud Brabant, Clément Jamaer, Mathis Jibert): Take a trip to the grocery store in this two-person game! One player moves the shopping cart, while the other person (who sits inside the cart) tries to get the groceries into the cart—or knock them to the ground.
The alt.ctrl.GDC showcase takes place March 22 to March 24, during the final three days of GDC 2023 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.
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