“One Thousand Voices” is Steve Cook’s freeware curation project. It’s a Twitter thread of hundreds of experimental games by unique individuals that tries to highlight all of the amazing work being done in the game’s space that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, and over the weekend he tweeted out the 1000th and final game.
The game was warpmaze by Sylvie whose work is collected at love-game.net. A browser-based game where you walk around and travel through portals in search of something (other people, meaning, an end?), it was emblematic of the work Cook, who goes by moshboy Twitter, has been publishing over the last month and a half (the actual curation process took over a year).
Cook’s previous project was called Pirate Bay Bundle, a collection of small, weird, and mostly overlooked freeware games from back in 2014. One Thousand Voices is a spiritual successor that uses the pervasive number of GIFs for small indie games to showcase their charm and personality in 140 characters or less.
It’s easy to sometimes feel like the games space is stale or repetitive when you only focus on top-charting sequels like Call of Duty and Madden, or the growing wave of remasters, remakes, and ports, and projects like One Thousand Voices are a perfect antidote to that.
“Everything I do is an attempt to explore a little nook of videogames that would otherwise remain unexplored and unhighlighted,” Cook wrote in a blog post reflecting on his achievement. The project was originally supposed to include remarks from the creators on their work as well, but ultimately he ran out of time,
“In truth, I fucked it up. I had a whole other half planned where I was going to send out a detailed questionnaire to the videogame creators in the thread about their upbringings and how it has affected their work within the medium but I worked so hard on the thread itself that I ran out of time and energy.
I feel after having worked on this for over a year that I should be able to impart something profound or poetic or be able to share a deeper truth about videogames. The deeper truth is that I have no deeper truths to share. Videogames can be beautiful and chaotic and yet the medium remains largely unexplored. Popular big name AAA releases are discussed endlessly, while just about everything else gets tossed to the side.”
Cook outlined his methodology for arriving at the list in much more detail in mid-May. In a way, searching for undiscovered gems and curious little digital oddities became a game in itself, with Cook chasing down retweets and broken download links searching for functioning builds of the games and the creators behind them.
At the conclusion of the project, Gamasutra put together a list of feedback from some of people whose work Cook had highlighted. “There’s a strange gratification in being recognized as one of a thousand artists working in the same space. I feel that Moshboy’s list solidified a sense of community for indie game makers,” wrote Joe Cox who made Cheeseburger (in Paradise).
In the end, the testament to trash games is a beautiful and intimate reminder of all the different kinds of people creating games and how bizarre and unexpected some of their ideas can be when made playable and easily shared.