Limbo and Space Alert

Posted: February 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

Minor update from the last couple of days here at Vallekilde Academy. We had Rilla Khaled from ITU over and talk about serious games and the benefits, flaws and pitfalls you might encounter as a game designer. A serious game is a game which aim at solving a specific and concrete problem outside the proper game world, it aims at highlighting, advertising or otherwise teach us about the issue at hand with an agenda. Furthermore a serious game will often find itself sacrificing fun and the entertaining parts of the game to emphasize the agenda – an example could be an unbeatable game, like Gloom, which strains the point the developers are trying to get at. Gloom is a game you can’t win, the demons you are trying to kill keeps coming at a higher and higher pace to a point you can’t keep up with. Added with the tremor of a Parkison’s Disease you end up playing it only a few times – but that’s enough to get the picture of what a person, suffering from this terrible disease, struggles with in his everyday life. Once you’ve lost you get a link to an indepth article explaining the disease, to put it all in perspective. It works, unfortunately the game doesn’t ‘capture’ or keep you within the game’s world for long and that is perhaps it’s downfall – if I was sort of stuck in this state for longer I think the effect of the parkinson would sink in better than a five second rush before I lose. Well, that’s just me.

Later this week we’ve been looking at boardgames like Space Alert – see the link for Thomas Vigild’s full review of that game. It’s a fast paced, real-time based multiplayer game where you have to work together to overcome the enemies which the game throws at you. It stands out from other boardgames because its focus is solely on the teamwork of the players and the fact you have to listen to a CD which spouts out all the enemy movements. Great fun and I hope we get the time and chance to dwell further into it – it has some potential I think.

Next up is Limbo from PlayDead Studios. Check out the link and the video – get a feel of that vibe! This game is a jewel and even though it’s not in colors it’s candy for your eyes. It has this poetic touch that make every step you take crucial and possibly fatal. Makes one think about cause and effect and freewill. I didn’t get a chance to see the game through nor try it myself but I was there watching the other guys play and even as a spectator this game drags you into its dark and gloomy universe. Made me think of Dante’s Divine Comedy;

1 “MIDWAY upon the journey of our life
2 I found myself within a forest dark,
3 For the straightforward pathway had been lost”

I’ll end the post for now as I got some dinner cooking my way soon. Next up I’ll try and write some of the game-developing thoughts we’ve discussed in our groups here on the Academy. TTFN folks!

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