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Ludum Dare to Make the Next Big Game

Welcome to another edition of Geek-Offs, where you'll find the perfect distractions to help you muddle your way through hump day each week.

In the past, we've culled the blogosphere and assorted casual game sites to find mid-week entertainment for you, but this week we're doing things a little differently.

In our pursuit to find the best in indie games out there this week, we discovered something totally awesome: Ludum Dare 21.

Ludum Dare is a game development competition on speed. It started up in 2002 and the Ludum Dare community as a whole votes on a theme (this round's theme was "escape") which is announced at the event event kickoff, at which point developers have 48 hours (jam teams get 72) to design, code and launch a game for all the world participants to judge. From August 19 (last Friday) to August 22 (Monday), 509 individual developers and 90 jam teams kept the caffeine flowing and fingers on the keyboards and produced 599 record breaking games for competition.

So far the interweb denizens seems to think that Prelude of the Chambered from Minecraft master Markus Persson (aka Notch) will be the big winner, but we're a fan of the underdog around here and, through some random clicking, we've selected a few good contenders for you to check out:

McPixel: a point and click quick game with six 20-second puzzles that you need to solve before being eaten/peed on/sucked out of a plane window.

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AWOL: escaping from a prison and shooting at guards trying to catch you isn't that big of a stretch for this round's themes, but this particular game is just so pretty we had to give it a shout out.

Frickin' Laser Beams: a fun, short Unity platformer, Frickin' Laser Beams hearkens back to the '80s with neon graphics and an IT Crowd styled soundtrack -- the very reason you're playing games today.

Full disclosure: of course we didn't play all 599 entries, but that doesn't mean you can't, as they'll be available for play for another 18 days. In fact, we dare you to.

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