A little over a month ago, when I started re-dedicating myself to cleaning up my to-be-played pile again rather than just collecting more and more games, Analogue: A Hate Story was one of the first games I started on this mission. After getting a story that was totally unexpected and loving it, I was thrilled to find out that I'd played it at exactly the right time since Hate Plus, the sequel was due to be released a little less than two weeks after I played the first game.
Hate Plus is both a sequel and a prequel. You get to find out what has happened with the AI you chose to save and her relationship with the investigator (you) while getting an idea of what her futures plans are with the investigator. Once again, you're tasked with finding more information about the Mugunghwa because there's more curiosity about what happened on that ship to cause them to lapse into a Choson (Joseon) Dynasty style society. If you're as interested in history as I am, you know that was Korea's longest dynasty lasting a little over 500 years.
Thomas Was Alone is an interesting platformer/puzzle game that follows the adventures of a little, red AI data block named Thomas who is self-aware. No, there are no reapers involved. There's no need to call Commander Shepard. Thomas starts the game alone, but as you progress, you meet other self-aware blocks with different abilities that can be used to complement each other in order to find exits throughout various levels.
The blocks themselves are silent, much like the Kid in Bastion, and in the same vein as that game, the game relies on a narrator to express the characters' feelings and dispositions. This story is told by humorist Danny Wallace who does an exceptional job. Wallace's narration and the ability he has to add such verbal emotion to the game made me care about Thomas and his friends. The light music and simple graphics combined with Wallace's narration definitely made it an engaging experience for me.
Mike Bethell created something amazing here. He's taken a very simple concept and managed to involve your emotions. He's weaved a story around the puzzles, given the players a different way of viewing this game. Instead of just thinking of each level in terms of trying to find the "end" to proceed, you begin to think of them as the characters do. They're doors leading the characters to some fantastic destiny, and you're just helping them along in this journey.
Games like Thomas Was Alone prove that you don't need a bottomless budget to create something that gamers will enjoy, that you don't need impressive cinematic to get your audience involved. It shows that sometimes simplicity really is the best method of getting your story across.
I had some issue with the game crashing when I first started playing. I'd fought off the urge to buy this on the XBLA just to wait for the Steam version. No way I was going to let these crashes defeat me. No commentary. I don't normally do commentary unless I'm gaming with friends because a.) as a mom/wife my house usually has a ton of background noise going on when I game in the evenings and b.) I'm not one to just ramble while gaming. I mean, I have moments while gaming and mutter some ridiculous stuff, but I'm not the ramble into infinity type. I'm much more likely to start flailing at friends over Skype or Google Talk. Besides, this game doesn't need a bunch of my chatter over it.
This blog is a mishmash of thoughts, pictures, and rantings among other things about games I've played, games I will play, and games I am currently playing. From time to time, I may post book reviews that I've written that are about different games and/or game worlds. Feel free to recommend games or add me on the platforms I've listed. I don't do competitive multiplayer much anymore, but I'm always down for some co-op these days. I'm usually DigitalTempest everywhere unless otherwise specified.
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