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A Game About Secret, Awkward Handshakes Is Utterly Charming

'Greetings' is a friendly, pleasant game about doing secret handshakes at a party.

by Cameron Kunzelman
Oct 4 2017, 3:23pm

All images courtesy @LOWPOLIS

Secret handshakes evoke sinister feelings. Illuminati meetings, backroom deals between cloistered businessmen, and clubhouses populated by boys in the 3rd grade all hinge on the success of the secret handshake. It's a surprise, then, that Greetings is such a wonderful and pleasant game about performing secret handshakes.

Greetings presents us with a nice, small rooftop party. Everyone at this party wants to do a secret handshake with you, so you go from person to person to figure out exactly what kind of maneuvers they would want you to perform. What is brilliant about the game is that the secret handshake itself really isn't abstracted in any way. Using the keys on your keyboard and your mouse buttons, you manipulate your fingers, thumb, and hand so that you can appropriately mimic the people you're trying to shake with. It's hard, but it's simple, and there's a sweet spot between those things that makes it a real treasure to play.

Greetings also helps point toward a developing aesthetic in the world of games that I'm very interested in seeing continue. I see a lot of affinity between Greetings developer lowpolis and the work of Grace Bruxner. Both of them seem to be united by a commitment to a Wii-like visual and audio design, and both have made works that are about crafting small, wonderful spaces in which you get to do fun, dare I say it, cute things. Greetings also seems to be borrowing a little from Surgeon Simulator and Thirty Flights of Loving, both of which are (in my opinion) untapped sources of inspiration for independent developers.

In some ways, then, I think that Greetings is a secret handshake in itself, a kind of aesthetic lock and key that has helped me recognize some shared values across a lot of different games that I find intriguing in the current world of games. I'm on the lookout for others like it, too; games that share this arcane knowledge seem few and far between.

You can download Greetings for PC and Mac on itch.io.

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