The web is full of year-end retrospectives. Gameological has the only one that you can play. We invited four indie development teams to make a browser game inspired by a major news story from 2012, with two weeks to bring their game from concept to reality. And now you get to experience the results. Don’t just remember the year. Play The Year.


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Pro football is one of the hardest sports to officiate, so it didn’t bode well when a labor dispute led the team owners of the NFL to lock out their officials union at the beginning of the 2012 season. The league was forced to scrape together replacement refs from the lower echelons of the college ranks and elsewhere—one official hailed from the defunct Lingerie Football League. The scabs’ results were predictably tragicomic. Balls were mis-spotted. Rules were misinterpreted. It took one of the worst calls in NFL history for the league to finally strike a deal with the union and restore normalcy.

To commemorate this bizarre moment in American sports, Pareffa The Ref puts you in the role of a hapless replacement ref. During the lockout, every penalty call was a moment of hold-your-breath anxiety for the viewing audience—so imagine the stress for the guys in stripes. Poor Pareffa just wants to get the signals right so he can be left alone. But the crowd has different ideas.

How to play: Hit the Z, X, and C keys to give hand signals in time with the beat displayed at the top of the screen. If the fans get unruly (they will), dodge their attacks with the arrow keys.

About the developers: Pareffa The Ref was created by Cardboard Robot Games, which consists of Programmer/Designer Christian Stewart and Artist/Designer Mark Sewell. They’re a couple of college students who started making Flash games earlier this year. Their first release was Photos Of Spiderman, which they discussed in an interview on Gameological.