Astra Fund, a venture fund that supports developers making “brain games,” unveiled the first batch of games it is funding, including an unannounced title Good sudoku Developer Zach Gage.
First, let’s go back and discuss what a “brain game” is. To to Astra, the term is defined as “cognitively challenging games whose systems and mechanisms arouse curiosity and require problem solving”. Astra is looking for three main features, per his website: “well thought out” mechanics, as in baby you are and portal 2; “Welcoming Worlds”, as in picuniku and thinking rolls; and “captivating narratives” as in The gardens in between and Outer Wilds.
Here is the list of games:
- rhythm, a “musical puzzle game where you create music by solving puzzles”, by floppy club
- paper trail, a “top-down, home-leaving puzzle adventure” set “in a paper world” by Newfangled Games
- star material; star stuff; star stuff a “cosmic tale of a young alien’s first day in a star factory” by Ánimo games
- Schrödinger’s cat burglar from Abandoned Sheep
- A game by Furniture & Mattress, a new indie studio that includes weave Artist David Hellman, with an unannounced title
- A game by Zach Gage and Orta Therox with an unannounced title
The first games from the bunch are expected to release in the fourth quarter of 2022, while “a lot of them” will appear in 2023, Astra Fund co-founder Eileen Hollinger told me in an interview.
The Astra fund is part of Carina initiatives, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating “a better math talent system” for children. Developers can apply to receive funding and support from the Astra Fund, and co-founder Josh Taylor expects the fund to close “about three to five deals a year.”
The fund is currently focused on supporting the development of mind games. But in the long term, the fund wants to do more for the mind game genre, he said. “How do we help people see the value of these games so that we can build an audience and improve discoverability of these games?” Taylor said. If like games baby you are are the inspiration, I feel like there will be a lot of good things to look forward to.
https://www.theverge.com/2022/4/11/23014096/astra-fund-six-thinking-games-zach-gage-indie-developers Astra Fund announces six brain teasers from Zach Gage and other indie developers