On this page, I’ll put very short reviews and first impressions of games I recently played, or discovered, which may be eligible for a full-length article. It is a way for you to stay updated about the upcoming content and my gaming activity. It also includes ideas and discussions which I want to develop in the future. Be warned, though: the order does not mean anything, and some games/ideas displayed here may not in the end be exploited. Do not take this page as a reliable way to foresee the next articles.
Antichamber (may be played soon)
I saw some trailers about Antichamber, and it looks interesting. Although the environment and the art direction reminds me of Portal, which definitely opened a new genre in gaming which I would call ‘puzzle-based wanderings as a science rat in first-person view’, the game seems to have its unique universe, based on unconventional and deceptive puzzles. I may play it soon, and expect to be disoriented.
Super Meat Boy (almost finished)
To say that I have almost finished Super Meat Boy is of course a good joke. By ‘almost finished’, I just say that I almost finished the story, which means beating the last level and the final boss. I doubt I’ll ever completely finish this game, but it is certain that it is insanely good and addictive. Curse you, Meat Team, for you created this monster!
Breaking the fourth wall in video game (working on it)
I had this idea while playing Superbrothers. The game is full of external references and the characters seems also to be aware of their conditions. It reminded me of the fourth wall theory in theatre, and especially the breaking of this wall, sometimes used in theatre or cinema. I thought it would be a good idea to apply this notion in video games and try to find examples where the wall is broken, allowing external references, private jokes, mirror effect, etc.
Narration and digital narratology (working on it)
Video game medium offers a lot of opportunity to introduce new ways of telling a story. Through first-person or third-person view, group of characters or god-like vision of the entire world, narration has multiple layers. It may be interesting to explore the different forms of narration that we can find in video games, both in the past and the present games, and compare them to see the evolution, if there is one (I believe that there is one)
To the Moon (finished)
This is probably my favorite game of 2012. Well, to be more precise and honest, I would say my best story of 2012, for it is relatively poor in terms of gameplay and challenge. This is the kind of games that open the debate whether it can be considered as a game rather than a piece of art or an interactive experience. But, damn, whatever it is, it is wonderfully told and displayed on the screen. I don’t know how I am supposed to write about To the Moon without revealing too much of the story, because it is literally what makes the game a splendid masterpiece.
Thomas was Alone (finished)
A very nice indie puzzle platformer game. We control several rectangles which are introduced as self-aware AI wishing to be free and escape the network. Each AI has a very special identity and characteristics. Little by little, they learn to cooperate together and help each other. The game is simple and well-written. The humorous and touching narration enhances the experience, and the learning curve of the puzzles is smooth. Overall it was a good experience and it was worth playing, especially its low price. I recommend that you try it out, if you are fond of puzzle platformers.
Another game by Terry Cavanagh, creator of Super Hexagon. This guy is definitely sadistic. VVVVVV, which is a weird name by the way, is about timing and die-and-retry. Set in a 8-bit environment which is totally assumed, you control Captain Viridian. Your mission? Save your crew after a incident which disturbed the space-time continuum, dimensions and gravity. The gameplay is minimalist: you can only move left and right and invert gravity, allowing your character to flip himself and stick to the ceiling. The whole game is based on this unique feature, exploring different ways to use it. It includes Portal-like moments, time-based race and deadly spikes. Truly, it is an interesting game, but quite difficult.
Bientôt l’été (currently played)
After The Path, The Endless Forest and The Graveyard, I could not expect less from Tale of Tales than Bientôt l’été. The experiment, for I cannot call this a game, will not appeal to the vast majority of the gaming community, and I can totally understand it. Unless one is familiar with Marguerite Duras’ work, it is almost impossible to even grasp what this thing is about. You slowly walk along the beach, harvesting sentences poorly translated from French to English (but they are said in French, though); then, when you decide to go further, you have the possibility to enter a bistro and interact with either a simulation controlled by the AI, or a real player. The interaction consists in drinking wine, smoking, creating a semi-random discussion with the sentences you collected and moving chess pieces on a board. What’s the fun in it? Maybe there is none, and maybe we should forget our notions of what is a game or not. Bientôt l’été is neither good nor bad. It simply exists, and that’s already a success for Tale of Tales.
BIT.TRIP BEAT and CORE (currently played)
I told you in the BIT.TRIP RUNNER article that I wanted to play the prequels, so here I am. BEAT and CORE are respectively the first and the second game of the series. I knew for a fact that every episode was quite unique, but truly I did not expect such a change from one to another game. BEAT is basically an awesome upgrade of Pong, while CORE is somewhat a mix between Dance Dance Revolution and a shooting game. Both still include rhythm-based patterns, retro-arcade graphics, chiptune music, and jaw-dropping atmosphere. However, they are by far definitely harder than RUNNER, especially CORE. But I’m the kind of player who enjoys insane difficulty, so I’ll stick to them for a few more rounds. Commander Video, here I come!
I finally completed BEAT on Normal mode. It was intense, especially the third and last boss. I think it was well-designed, as it progressively climbed the suspense, before finally reaching the last fight, in a brilliant rewriting of PONG. I might write something about BIT.TRIP BEAT, now that I completed it.
The adventures of Alundra (childhood)
Alundra is one of my favorite games, and I feel like I must write something on it, for it is an extremely overlooked and underrated game. It is most of the time in the shadow of The Legend of Zelda, and in my opinion it shouldn’t be for the simple reason that Alundra is way far ahead in terms of story, difficulty, universe and maturity. It deserves more recognition, especially considering how well it aged and can rival against a lot of modern games in so many levels.
Tail Concerto (childhood)
A very decent ps1 game which has a lot of qualities, although it is not an absolute masterpiece. The experience is worth playing, though. It created a charming universe full of talking dogs and cats and mechas living in a celestial kingdom. I remembered enjoying the game when I was a child. Some moments were tough, and a lot of interesting ideas kept the game refreshing and entertaining.
Flash and browser games (currently played)
Flash and browser games are very special. They are most of the time designed to fill time between things/games that are more important. Everything in them often give the impression that it is not as serious as AAA games or Indies. People usually don’t pay attention to flash games, or at least don’t involve themselves in more than a few minutes. However, among the generic tower defense or fast-paced action shooters, there are true exceptions, and I have been playing those for a few weeks now. I won’t write an article for every one of them, although most deserve recognition on their own. I don’t know yet how I will introduce the topic, but those games won’t be forgotten, for they bring fresh and unique vision for the medium. I admire their very nature, which is most of the time short, simple, yet engaging and powerful.
Reactions about video game news.
I was thinking it would be a good idea to post quick thoughts about news from time to time, because reviews and discussion often produce long posts, and I take my time to write them, which is fine, but then the rhythm of publication is low. Those quick thoughts, instead, would rather be short posts, just to keep the blog alive, as well as encouraging readers to react more than with a full review/critique.
Last update: January 6, 2014