Lost In Floaty Void

Several months back, on this website that I call a blog, but others may call a self-indulgent shit. I reviewed Antichamber, a game that’s best described as being akin to an M.C. Escher tribute done by a two-year old with a box of dollar store Crayola knock-offs.

It made heavy use of portals to mess with your sense of direction, which was interesting in its own right. But terrible graphics, bad puzzle design, and annoying and a deceptive level layout that disallowed backtracking, killed the game for me.

But one thing always bugged me about Antichamber. Could it be that I just don’t like these kinds of games? The arty, pretentious, first person walk-em-up? Could the only reason I hated the game be because I didn’t get to shoot anything with a gun the size of a car?

That wouldn’t be fair, would it? For me to critique something from a genre I hate. I mean you won’t see me reviewing the latest FIFA title, or some romantic comedy film, or another Tom Clancy novel. Fool me once, you prick.

Now, I could just say that I do like those kinds of games, as long as they’re done right. But even that’s hard to claim when I’ve never really played any game that can compare to Antichamber.

Q.U.B.E. quickly comes to mind. A game about gloves that can send commands to various objects in the world around you. But that game reminded me more of Portal, with its stark white environments, and relatively coherent narrative. It doesn’t really fit with the feel Antichamber tried to provoke.

So that’s a bad comparison. One would need to find a game that’s more surreal, more abstract, and more about the experience than anything else. Perhaps a game like Kairo. An abstract, and surreal odyssey that did what Antichamber failed to do: Be good. Continue reading

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Artychamber

A few tips for game designers:

Number one: Make your game fun.

I know this may seem obvious, but some developers seem to disregard it, thinking ‘fun’ is beneath them, or that it will distract from the shiny lights. Case in point, TRON: Evolution.

Number two: Make your game interesting.

I find it odd that so many military shooters have come out over the past few years. You’d think that cow would be out of milk by now. But no, people keep selling them, and more people keep buying them, and I just don’t understand it. Oh, look, guns and explosions. How exciting…

Number three: Try not to annoy your player.

Going back to TRON: Evolution again, forcing me to watch the same annoying cut scene over and over without the option to skip it is a recipe for broken monitors.

And number four: If you’re making a puzzle game, try not to make the puzzles breakable.

Not to say a puzzle can’t have multiple solutions, in fact, it should be applauded. But when one of the solutions is as simple as a button press, you know you broke it.

Which brings me to a game I bought nary a week and a half ago, called Antichamber. And it didn’t take me long to realize just how drastically I wasted that seven bucks.

WTF!? Continue reading