Depression (2011)

July 6, 2011 / 1 comment

Aaron Oldenburg’s Depression is a short entry in this past February’s Experimental Gameplay Project. If you’re not following the EGP, you should. The organizers come up with a short theme every month, and participants come up with a game prototype in seven days to fit it. You end up with lots of short, simple experiments…

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Screenshot from Osada in a photo-collage style. Three Native American men in an inflatable canoe, wearing aviator sunglasses and track suits, singing.

Surrealism from the Inside

June 27, 2011 / 0 comments

Amanita Design is a developer known for its charming little point-and-click adventures. The games are distinctive for their low-key surrealism and collage-like art style, but as games they tend to be very simple. You manipulate the environment by clicking on hotspots. Click them in the right order, and you can progress to the next screen. By…

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Guess What I’m Thinking About

June 20, 2011 / 0 comments

I find room escape games kind of unsettling, for reasons I have trouble putting my finger on. Room escapes are a popular casual gaming genre that offer Myst-like puzzling in a short form. You’re stuck in a room and need to get out. So you find some keys, crack some simple codes, and combine objects until all the…

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Pathos (2011)

June 16, 2011 / 3 comments

The relationship between the player and the avatar varies a lot between games. Sometimes the avatar character is meant to be an unembellished extension of the player, as in any first-person game with a faceless, voiceless protagonist. Those are increasingly rare in mainstream games, however. Usually the avatar has some character of her own, whether…

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Back and Forth

June 13, 2011 / 0 comments

Why do we replay games? In some cases there are easy answers to this question. Some games we replay because the basic mechanic is fun and doesn’t get stale with repetition. Sometimes we replay games for the same reason we reread books or rewatch movies: because we enjoy the experience and want to go through…

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The Hostile Guide

June 7, 2011 / 0 comments

[Note: This post originally appeared at Robot Geek. I’m gradually backing these up here.] Spoiler alerts: Bioshock, Loved, Mass Effect 2, Memento, Portal, Seven Minutes, The Usual Suspects. The recent release of Portal 2 has rekindled the world’s love affair with GLaDOS, the chirpy AI who delivers instructions and insults throughout the original game. GLaDOS represents a…

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Loop Raccord (2010)

April 28, 2011 / 1 comment

“I see storytelling as a game: whenever I am making a film, a book or a comic, I set a series of rules for myself and I try to play with them to reach their limits. Watching a movie or reading a book is not a passive experience. The viewer/reader can perceive those rules if…

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Frames, Objects, and Such

April 17, 2011 / 1 comment

I don’t much like talking about myself, but in the spirit of getting this blog going again, I’m gonna try to get out of my comfort zone a bit. This is a tangent following on an interesting conversation on adventure games I’ve been having with K. Cox of Your Critic is in Another Castle. In…

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Unprecedented Month of Blogging

April 1, 2011 / 1 comment

So Andy of Onefinemess was down at Ta-Nehisi Coates’s place calling for an Unofficial Month of Blogging.  The idea is that participating bloggers post at least one thing per day for the month of April.  I figured I’d jump in since I’m trying to get this blog restarted.   That’s an awful lot of close…

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Loved (2010)

March 18, 2011 / 0 comments

The hostile guide has become a common trope in art and indie games (not to mention some bigger games like Portal).  Designers can’t get enough of having a disembodied voice berate you and lead you astray.  In Seven Minutes (review), a furious floating head tries to convince you that you can only win the game…

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