The Things We Lost in the Flood
Float along and leave messages in bottles
In The Things We Lost in the Flood by Dean Moynihan, you drift around in a rowboat in a post-apocalyptic, flooded wasteland, sending and receiving messages in bottles from fellow players.
This is a game about loss, discovery, and creation. You're sailing through a flooded world—a flood caused by a tap opening in the Atlantic Ocean that "never really stopped." Drifting by ruins and ravaged buildings, your goal is to make sense of what happened to the world. While exploring the lost world, you also discover notes which other players have left in the world, you can also leave notes for other players.
You hold a great responsibility in shaping the experiences of others in the game too. Sometimes, people will leave critical hints that help you make sense of something you didn't understand, and you owe it to others to leave notes that might help them with their experience—or choose to throw away the bad ones. The game also provides prompts that help create a semi-philosophical atmosphere, such as "what are you afraid of."
Intriguingly, a game that subsists on sharing notes with anonymous players still manages to be enjoyable and thought-provoking. I uncorked a wide variety of personal letters, stories of peoples anxieties, loss—you name it. This artificial wasteland you're drifting seems to create a somewhat safe space for some people.
It's worth diving into The Things We Lost in the Flood. The outcome of this world is shaped on cooperative gameplay, so you won't necessarily get a complete experience after any set play period, but it's good to jump in for quiet introspection in the scope of a video game. It's available free on itch.io, for Windows, macOS, and Linux.