I thought it was about time I wrote something again for Rock Paper Shotgun. Right now you can read my Wot I Think about Portponky's difficult yet brilliant puzzle-platformer, Recursed. I've been playing this on and off for a few months.
If you found Inception’s dream within a dream within a dream too difficult to follow, you’ll be hopeless at brain-shredding puzzle game Recursed by Portponky. In Recursed, you can easily find yourself inside a room inside a room inside a room… while, uh, carrying the room you’re in.
Tony Van was the producer in charge of localizing a Japanese RPG called The Story of Thor: Hikari wo Tsugu Mono (Ancient, 1994) for Western audiences, but received a badly translated copy of the story to work from.
In an interview for the The Game Localization Handbook, he explained: “I tried my hardest to figure it out, but was completely baffled. I was under extreme time pressure to get it out for Christmas, so I didn’t have time to contact the Japanese office to track down the original source and get it re-translated. I simply rewrote the story and dialogue using all the plot points I could understand as references and writing that sounded good to me when I didn’t understand the plot points!”
Instead of the action taking place in “the world of Thor”, the English translation located everything in “the land of Oasis” and the game was sold in North America as Beyond Oasis. Someone decided it would sell better in Europe under its original title of The Story of Thor: A Successor of the Light except it left thousands of European Sega Megadrive owners with a mystery: who the bloody Hell is Thor?
I will forever remember it as The Story of Thor because Thor is one of my personal favourites. I’ve played through it three times: the first time was in 1994 as the academic chapter of my life was coming to a close; the second time in 2006 as pure comfort gaming on an emulator; the third time, this year, was a performance for my children, who enjoyed the watching but had little interest in the doing. It can now be bought on Steam for a couple of dollars.
This recent and perhaps final playthrough was illuminating because I was simultaneously playing… dun-dun-duuuunnnn Dark Souls (From Software, 2011).
Electron Dance reader Ketchua brought Cradle (Flying Cafe for Semianimals, 2015) to my attention many years ago and something about its look stood out. Its release last year seem to go largely unnoticed although Adam Smith gave it a glowing review on Rock Paper Shotgun.
Cradle is gripping, featuring a complex sci-fi story that is serious and unexpectedly bleak: but holy Jesus it has some problems.
On the theme park island of The Witness, you solve puzzles. Solving puzzles leads to more puzzles. Keep working. Keep digging. Keep solving. Again and again and again. But this process cannot continue forever. Where does The Witness end? And why?
At last, it is here: The Unbearable Now is a spoiler-filled interpretation of The Witness (Thelka, 2016) that’s been months in the making. It is laced with a few choice expletives, but definitely no gore. Or nudity.
Watch the film below or direct on YouTube.
- Futilitris, Twinbeard Studios
- Braid, Number None
- Sokobond, Hazelden & Lee
- The Talos Principle, Croteam
- Full Bore, Whole Hog Games
- The Last Mimzy
- The Karate Kid
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day
- Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- The Matrix
- The Witness Consciousness - Vashishta Cave Talk With Anand
- MBSR Widening the Circle Video
- Worakls "Toi"
- N'To "Trauma" (Worakls Remix)
- Fauré Requiem Op.48, Angus Dei (perf. by The Sixteen)
- Worakls "Salzburg"
- Edvard Greig, Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op 46, Anitra's Dance (perf. by Metropolitan Philharmonic Orchestra)
- Edvard Greig, Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op 46, In the Hall of the Mountain King (perf. by Metropolitan Philharmonic Orchestra)
- b.lakes "Cemetary Walk"
- The.madpix.project "Bad Chick"
- Edvard Greig, Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op 46, Death of Åse (perf. by Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra)
- Howlround "A Viewless Sea"
- Mikael Fyrek "Bathing in a River of Discordant Music"
- Push-Pull "Liquid Mountain"
- Lecyr "Luminautore"
- Teho "Ade"
- Rémy Bourgeois "Nostalgic Memories"
- Rémy Bourgeois "Few Minutes of Us"
- Boris Brejcha "Lost Memory"
- Taming the Inexplicable, Liz Ryerson
- The Meaning of the Witness, Sean Han-Tani-Chen-Hogan
- The Witness: What It Means, Jeff Grubb
- The Witness - A Great Game That You Shouldn't Play, Joseph Anderson (YouTube)
A video essay on Minecraft's survival mode.
Proteus indulges the fable of the “simple life” where we co-exist peacefully with the ecosystem. It asks me to lose myself in the majesty of nature and its joyous, playful manner is beguiling... but the code protects the island above all else. We cannot even take a blade of grass or petal of a flower with us and we leave no footprints behind. Violations of Proteus law are forbidden. Nature is immutable. Nature is God.
Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.
- Video by Joel Goodwin
- Minecraft, Mojang
- Proteus, Key & Kanaga
- Mountain Men, History Channel
- Space 1999 "Breakaway"
- Space 1999 "Dragon's Domain"
From the album Minecraft - Volume Beta by C418:
- "The End"
- "Ballad of the Cats"
Perhaps you’re at home. Perhaps you’re on a train. The location doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you’re enjoying your current favourite rogueish-type-like. You think you’re on top of your game, got all the enemy moves figured out. Yeah, baby, you know what to do.
And then something goes horribly wrong.
You just click, click, click quickly through three moves in one go, as if you’re trying to beat the computer before it gets in a countermove.
And of course you don't get to be quicker than the computer because the game is turn-based. No, you get to die. You die, because you were stupid.
You’ve just experienced a brain phenomenon I call the roguerush. What the hell happened there?
This month we're celebrating FIVE YEARS of Electron Dance!
Welcome, welcome all. Today I present the most definitive of lists, the one you’ve waited five years for.
This is the nine most popular posts on Electron Dance.
Maybe you've had nightmares like this too. Finding yourself stuck in the middle of an impossible nowhere with no hope of getting back to the safe and familiar. I stared at the unending maw of the ocean, a handful of sand teeth poking through the surface. This did not look like the kind of world I could survive in.
I discarded the desert island world and asked for another. This time I was presented with trees. Pigs. Snow-capped mountains. A pond.
And then I began playing Minecraft (Mojang, 2011) for the first time.
My latest Rock Paper Shotgun piece went up a few hours ago. It contrasts Michael Brough's local multiplayer epic Kompendium with Alexander "droqen" Martin’s Starseed Pilgrim, highlighting how both games have a spoilery exterior that prevents you from talking about them in too much detail.
Here's an excerpt:
We were locked in a duel with unknown rules – so we talked rather than competed, exchanging theories about what we were supposed to do. Even though each game in Kompendium is a fight to the win, the ambiguity of its rules means players often start out in a cooperative struggle against a common enemy: the opaque system.
Of course, there’s a dangerous point after this where the fog lifts more quickly for one player than the other and they acquire the knowledge to win. I figured out “March Eternal” before Gregg did and had to consider whether to explain to him what I had figured out. I considered it and then I destroyed him.
Look, this is going to be a short post as I am still working on resurrecting my PC. The above image from Watch Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal, 2014) snowballed on Twitter this month. Perhaps the one with 2,000 retweets is the original although I've found a mention of this unfortunate juxtaposition back in June on the Giant Bomb forums:
How about after his tear jerking moment at the grave, you are immediately presented with a "Vault" prompt on the tombstone. I hoped over my niece's grave 4 times, having a good laugh at how silly it was.
It's true. Over the grave of the protagonist’s niece hovers a ghost. A ghost called Vault. This means we can finally discard that monstrosity ludonarrative dissonance and instead write the game vaults the grave.
It’s a brilliant example of where systems clash with narrative intent but... also misses the point.