Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Graveyard

Welcome to Indie Gaming Bingo's First Annual

The Graveyard, from humble shoot-em-up developer Tale of Tales, promises to be one of the spookiest indie games this halloween, so costume up, kiddies, and don't forget to check your apples for razors. Taking obvious cues from Silent Hill, it's not what you see that frightens you but what you don't. The slow-but-inevitable build up only serves to amp up the tension to a boiling point before the stunning conclusion involving the 20-foot floating ghost-head.

I wouldn't be caught dead calling this a game, folks. This is interactive. This is an atmosphere. it's an... actmosphere. "The Graveyard" gives me hope for what games can be. I envision a future where every game is an actmosphere, and in each one you walk more slowly than the last. The Graveyard already sets the bar pretty damn high for slow-walking but I challenge you future generations of independent actmosphere developers to do better.

If I have one complaint, it's that the song during the climax of the game is way too similar to Portal's seminal "Still Alive" piece, and way too soon.

The Rundown:

* Generic Mortality Message: Indie game developers seem to think "meaning" is a form of currency used to purchase respect and adoration from their peers. If meaning was a currency, Generic Mortality Message would be the $100 bill.

* Silhouette/Monochrome: Black-and-white might not qualify as monochrome, but it damn well should.

* Obvious Metaphors: A game about death, set in a graveyard... Please email me at dustingunn(at) if you can shed some light on this imagery.

* Counter-Intuitive: This qualifies mostly for the method of how you sit on the bench, which is you don't sit, you convince your in-game character that she WANTS to sit, then wait for her to make up her mind to do so.

* Experimental: This product could make film students blush with shame.

* Pretentious: I feel like writing this one in, this time. How about the French song overlaying a sad old lady sitting in a cemetery? French is the language of pretentiousness.

* Atmosphere As Gameplay: This is a stretch, I know. Knytt seems like Mario in comparison to this.

* No Gameplay: It would have benefited greatly from a run button and some ramps to do tricks off of.

* 15 Minutes or Less: Its 5 minute duration and 5 dollar price tag makes it a stunning value of 1 dollar per minute.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Path

The conclusion of the:

The Path is yet another game from Tale of Tales. Fans of Friday the 13th might want to sit up and take notice because they're in for another spooky romp through haunted woods. You play as one of six little girls with a variety of fashions and costumes for those who enjoy customization and rocking the latest styles.

Then there's the titular path. It is safe and brightly lit and the game tells you to stay on it. This is what my professor likes to call a "metaphor." You see, all life has a path, and we all stray from it. No matter how many times a ghost-girl has taken me by the hand and led me back to my path, I'm still addicted to crack and baconators. I've leave you with a quote from the game which says more about it than I ever could:

If I were a plant, I think I would have been a flower, just like these. Except there would only be one beautiful flower. All alone...

The Rundown:

* Indie Trendy: Non-linear meaning delivery service through the meaning network. Meaning.

* Gentle Piano Music: They also mixed in some violin to innovate the genre.

* Counter-Intuitive: People are still wondering what this game means, including the developer.

* Pretentious: Once again, this aspect is so strong I feel it deserves a write-up. If sitting in a wheel-chair in the middle of a forest reciting poetry doesn't trigger your gag reflex, this game might be for you. Also, if you ever wanted to get raped in the woods by a lumberjack.

* No Gameplay: Aside from some bitchin' flower collecting, I mean.

* Atmosphere As Gameplay: These last 2 always seem to go hand-in-hand, much like your character and the various ghosts she seems to want to hook up with.