February 2014

07
Feb
2014

Writers Block and Family Block

Posted by Cha

[Includes spoilers for The Novelist]

The Novelist is about a family. It’s also about a ghost, which is our role in the story. The ghost is a device for exploring people’s thoughts, memories and desires, and deciding who gets what they want. The ghost whispers in the father’s ear and tells him what to do.

Why does the ghost exist? Since the father’s choices are the only ones given any importance why don’t we just play as him? Possibly to add challenge, or fit a restrictive definition of “game”. There’s already plenty of emotional challenge in compromising between family members, but the ghost adds a dash of more traditional stealth-based gamey-ness. On the higher difficulty setting it’s possible for family members to spot the ghost, and spooking them reduces your options slightly. So, a tiny element of risk without going as far as a hard fail state.

03
Feb
2014

The Cowardly Journey

Posted by Cha

I moved lightly over the sand, leaving trails behind me. I had to admit, it felt pretty good skimming along. But there was so much ground to cover, and limited energy to explore it with. The pace soon slowed, energy depleted, and I imagined myself grumpily kicking sand around with my foot. Stupid sand.

I loved flower, but something made me far more dubious about thatgamecompany's Journey. I went in feeling flippant and impatient. I dared it to try and move me, not expecting to find anything particularly meaningful. I fought against whatever emotion the game was trying to achieve (not always effectively, I'll admit).