Saturday, 29 March 2008

the world according to clay

The Neverhood. It's an old adventure game. I won it as a prize in... something. I'm not sure what. Maybe it was an IF Comp prize one year?

I could never play it, though, because I couldn't get it running on my machine. It was designed for Windows 95, I think, with quite complicated graphics requirements for that time (I expect, what with all the animation and stuff) and just wouldn't work on whatever computer I had, which was well past 95 but probably didn't have exact compatibility with whatever the game was looking for.

At the moment, we have it running in Linux. Under WINE. Which does work.

It is a strange game. We have not played much, so I can't say much. It is all Claymation, and cutely so. It appears to be one of those deathless games - you can get things wrong, but you're never permanently stuck or dead. There is a poisonous mushroom, and if you keep trying to eat it, the character belches for increasingly long amounts of time in the hope that the player will get sick of it and stop.

It is also an argument for games as art. You can't play this and NOT think it's art. It's... WEIRD. And clay! And full of bizarre visual design and bizarre world design and the interactivity is part of the art, you could easily put this in a modern art museum.

Of course, we've also just found a very strange section where there's an INCREDIBLY long hallway covered with writing on the walls. The writing is stories, that don't seem to mean much but are funny and are not just Ipsum Lorem. But there are so many of them that story-lover though I am, I got sick of reading them and wanted to get on with the game (Especially since the interface for reading them is clumsy). The walkthrough I've glanced at says "You can read all this if you want, but it might take you a month or two." So... How do I feel about completely optional content? I feel bad for walking away without devouring every last drop of it, and I expect we'll probably come BACK and read more of it later... (annoyingly, the game makes you walk all the way to the end of said hall anyway, to pick up an item, then back to the beginning.)

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