Valve recently hosted the now-traditional Steam summer sale, during which it used the promotion to hide a kind of store ‘minigame’ for players. Essentially a time traveller called Clorthax tells you they’ve nicked ten games from the future and offers up riddles to help players find them.
The sale’s over now and Clorthax has returned to their own time and place, which means Valve artist Claire Hummel could share all the cover art she mocked-up for the future games.
I’m not sure whether the art or the riddles are the best thing about this stunt (there’s a gallery below pairing them up). Some such as Get the King to the Toilet are just straight-up funny concepts, while others are a tiny bit more pointed. Take The Consecration Of Esthme, which is found by solving this riddle: “The horror the horror, pretentious explorers / This one’s the father of all arty snorers.”
The thing that these games get absolutely right is the veneer of plausibility: we’ve all seen a hundred games on Steam that look like these kinds of things, and it’s easy to imagine players scrolling by without giving many of these a second thought.
“Erik Wolpaw and Jay Pinkerton came up with the names/descriptions for Clorthax’s fake games,” writes Hummel, “and then I just tried to match their energy in the final art. Super fun trying to make plausibly polished logos in a whole bunch of different styles/genres.”
My favourite has to be the art for Hold In Your Farts, which channels the kind of language and layout used by games like Evony by enquiring whether YOU could be budget Gandalf’s next champion.