Free Points: Introducing Avant-Garden, an Itch.io Collection of Surreal & Unique Games!

One of the best resources for good, free games is definitely Itch.io, the Steam for indies. Today I’m introducing my Avant-Garden collection on Itch.io, a collection of surreal, engrossing, and sometimes just lovably weird games that I love. And most of them are point-blank free!

Free Points is a series of weekly(ish) free game recommendations. The games may range from the most surreal of Alt Games to the most traditional of platformers; the only requirements for a Free Points game is that they’re free (real free, not free to play!) and very much worth your time.

What Is Avant-Garden?

Avant-Garden started out as “Cool Weird Games”, a collection I’d add every…cool, weird game I found into! I frequently use Itch.io to find interesting experiences for my YouTube, and after removing games from my “to review” queue, I liked to add them to another “worth playing” collection for others to see.

Sacramento, a game in Avant-Garden
Like Sacremento here, many of these games are brief, but leave a lasting impression.

After a while I grew a bit tired of the old name, and I’ve noticed some of my favorite game developers don’t appreciate the simplicity of calling their games “weird” in general discourse—though I certainly don’t mean it as a negative myself! It is a bit frustrating to see fantastic, unique games reduced to “look at this weird crap I found!” on various big YouTubers’ channels, after all.

Looking for a better word, I came upon a fun pun and Avant-Garden was born. I find it encapsulates the feeling of a quick, meditative romp that many of these games offer, and matches the experience I have of cultivating and adding to the collection. I adore finding new games to add to my garden.

Avant-Garden as it appears on itch.io
A sample from the gallery, which shows metadata, thumbnails, and descriptive blurbs. The icons show which platforms a game can be run on; itch.io can have Android APKs too, not just PC games!

Not absolutely everything in Avant-Garden is free; many are Pay What You Want, some are premium, but most can be played free of charge. Itch.io collections helpfully list the price if any.

Why Play Avant-Garden?

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Free Points: Nested

I’ve been meaning to get into the rhythm of writing regularly (for this site and in general), so I’d like to introduce a new weekly(?) series of free game spotlights: Free Points.

Free Points is a series of weekly free game recommendations. The games may range from the most surreal of Alt Games to the most traditional of platformers; the only requirements for a Free Points game is that they’re free (real free, not free to play!) and very much worth your time.

Nested

Nested by Orteil (who happens to have made Cookie Clicker) is a free browser game about exploring nested elements. You start with a “universe” and you can dig all the way down to individual planets, animals, atoms…

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