Quantic Dream learns with each game, and adresses their issues with new features. But with new features come new issues, and lots of juicy design lessons. In this blog post I will talk at length about affordance, then touch upon branching and themes.
I have seen many people saying Five Nights at Freddy’s is simply a jump-scare fest. While the game does rely a lot on jump scares, I think it’s wrong to dismiss it just because of that. There are a number of aspects of Five Nights at Freddy’s that I find really interesting and I think it’s worth exploring them.
It is easy to view Inside (2016) as “just” a puzzle game with nice graphics. Many seem to overlook how incredibly good the game is at letting you play a story. Inside manages to craft an engaging narrative through gameplay in a way that few other games do. I think this is quite the accomplishment, and I’ve seen way too little written about it. The playable story is what I love about Inside, so it’s what this essay will be all about.
Before starting Until Dawn my hopes for the game weren’t very high. I thought it was going to be a half-baked and campy interactive movie filled with unlikable characters and cheap jump scares. However, it turned out a lot better than I could have imagined and it now stands as one of my favorite horror games ever.
Alien: Isolation is an interesting game. It is the latest entry in a lineage of games that I refer to as horror simulators. It does an excellent job at creating tension and uses a lot of the knowledge built up over the years to great success. But, because it has such a laser focus on a certain type of play a bunch problems arise and other parts of the package suffer. It is a great game in many ways, truly excellent really, but there are some fundamental problems. These lead to, for me at least, a devastating flaw: At its core it fails to be a faithful emulation of the original Alien (1979) movie.
I have now finished playing The Last of Us and feel it has quite a few things worth discussing. Overall it is a great game and there is a lot that can be learnt from it.
Slender: The Arrival is the commercial version of a free game called Slender. The original was based upon a a simple concept: find eight pieces of paper before the Slenderman, a now famous creature that started out as an internet meme, gets you. I wrote a blog post about the game when it was released and as a short experiment I found it quite interesting, but wondered how one would make it into a longer experience. So when I heard a commercial version was in the works I became quite curious, and gave it a go soon after release.
So I just finished Bioshock Infinite and I feel I need to write something about it. There is a lot that is really good about the game, but the way it all comes together seems like a wasted opportunity. This does not mean it is a bad game, far from it.
Slender is a short horror game really similar to Hide. You walk (or run) around in a monotone environment looking for notes, while there is a scary monster hunting you. Like Hide it is interesting to see how a simple setup can create a really spooky experience. The graphics are nothing special, the music is simple moody droning and the sound effects are of no great quality. Still, taking all together and put in an interactive space, it gets a lot more immersion than what you would expect. I think this is a great testament to the power of interaction to create a strong sense of presence in way that is much harder to accomplish in any other media.
I played through the first episode of The Walking Dead recently and few stuff popped up that I thought was worth discussing.