What does a mail delivery person, olympic swimmer, nurse, and artist all have in common? They all have emotions that can be affected at any point by anyone because they are human. It’s cheesy, I know, but sometimes we need to step back and remember these things. Day-to-day life is so busy and fast paced that it is easy to forget that the person in front of everyone in line at the supermarket has their own lives, their own individual initiative and motivation.
In the visual novel A Chase in Rainsville, the main character never has to sit in a supermarket line, wait hours in a traffic jam, or really deal with humans at all. The citizens of Rainsville are all anthropomorphic animals coexisting with the one human family that happens to live there, which happens to be the protagonist’s home. Despite this missing piece to the theme it still asks players to sit down and be open with their emotions just as humans would.
|Recommended by Kieffer Wilson||Monday, March 21st, 2016||No Comments »|
Driving creates so many sensory memories, or at least descriptions of those sensory memories that can change depending on when and where a person is driving. Whether it’s the street lamps rushing past while you ride in the backseat on a long road trip or that memory of you and your friends driving down the oceanfront with the convertible’s top down during spring break.
Wheels of Aurelia creates new memories with the protagonist Lella driving the Via Aurelia to reach the French Riveria in the the late ’70s. What Wheels of Aurelia does so different from other driving games is the focus on character stories. Throughout the drive different paths may be taken depending on the exits and the dialogue options that are chosen between characters such as Olga, Gorilla and others. In fact, Wheels of Aurelia could almost be considered a visual novel, but it is too ambitious to be held back by one genre.
The characters in 1970s Italy are all fueled by political interests and social topics that create discussion between themselves that the player has to navigate. “Any news about President Moro?”, “Are you a feminist?” and “Can I ask what you think about abortion?” are all topics that Olga may bring up within the first ten minutes of a playthrough. The time period is educational too, I know nothing about Italy in the 70s and topics such as Pasolini’s murder and “the real revolution in May ’68″ that Lella speaks of in France led me to doing some research after each playthrough.
The game is currently still in beta and can be purchased from developer Santa Ragione’s website. So what are you waiting for? As the Italian’s say, buon viaggio!
|Recommended by Kieffer Wilson||Monday, January 18th, 2016||No Comments »|
Many first-person narrative experiences have started being labeled as “walking simulators” as more games of the same type start appearing on services like Steam and itch.io. Even consoles are starting to see releases of these first-person titles, with games like Ether One, which came out earlier this year, and Gone Home, which will be released on Playstation next month. It is such a disparaging term for this group of games though, as many of them are different experiences and have unique pieces to reveal to the player. Rememoried is just one example of a title that has been herded into this genre that really experiments with different ideas to create something that does not fit into this genre.
Traveling through the stars, the player must rediscover the meaning to memories and, along with that, also learn what it means to forget those memories. This isn’t explained through point-to-point storytelling. Instead, the game’s mechanics and its connection to the player are of vital importance. As the player goes through multiple “acts,” different objectives must be discovered and then completed, but they are not always clear. As you progress, voices of the wise, the comforting, and the curious all speak — then the world of memory and stars reveal themselves more.
This is not a game that you should look into too much before experiencing it yourself; it has a couple of moments that really become memorable from self-discovery. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to remember what it means to forget.
|Recommended by Kieffer Wilson||Tuesday, December 29th, 2015||No Comments »|
Waking up next to the trash can with a giant bottle and a container of pills, I can only assume that last night didn’t go very well. I look outside to see sections of apartments dancing outside and comets raining down in the sky — they probably had a night as rough as mine. As I look over, my lifeless, mobile computer desk sits in the middle of the room and I notice out of the corner of my eye that my guitar is bobbing in rhythm with my breathing.
You may have guessed it already, but Nekrolog is a story about someone’s death. I guess the title, which means “obituary” in Swedish, gives it away, but the main character falling five stories down a staircase at the beginning of the game gets right to the point as well. It’s not clear on whether it’s suicide or just rotten luck, but your character’s unlucky plummet is when the game truly begins. Not something you can say about an average day.
|Recommended by Kieffer Wilson||Thursday, December 10th, 2015||No Comments »|
One of the most beautiful things about the age we live in is that we can express our emotions and imagination through any medium that our mind can think of. Years before any of us were alive, many who expressed themselves were limited to artwork, writing, or music. However, these days we can now explore what someone is thinking through different forms.
This is what I keep thinking about when I play Armel Gibson’s game OASES. There is no objective, and it isn’t a game where you are supposed to explore. Instead, Gibson wants players to understand what he imagines happened to his grandfather in 1960 when his grandfather’s plane was lost during the Algeria Independence War.
The story of Gibson’s grandfather is not a heartbreaking tale, despite him missing the birth of his son. This is not the story of a man who crashes into the enemy camp or someone who went down fighting to their last breath. OASES is about a person that stumbles upon an undiscovered world of beauty and is overwhelmed by a state of euphoria. The plane rolls with exuberance through different environments filled with giant waterfalls of the past and snow leaf trees that stretch beyond the sky. The kaleidoscopic mountain ranges can never be reached and the plane never crashes — this is all about existing within an imagination.
Originally Armel created OASES for Now Play This, an event that took place in London earlier in the year. Now it’s open for anyone to play and download.
Make sure to play OASES multiple times. Each time the man’s plane begins to fall, there is a new world to be discovered.
|Recommended by Kieffer Wilson||Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015||No Comments »|
It’s Horror Week on (The) Absolute! We’re reposting some of our spookiest, creepiest recommendations every day leading up to Halloween. Enjoy!
In celebration of Halloween, I managed to get ahold of a copy of White Day: A Labyrinth Named School. The title sounds innocuous enough, but it’s one of those Internet legends about a horror game so scary the developers had to release patches to tone it down because people complained. Rumor has it that it helped inspire Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
White Day starts off simple. A young boy wants to gift his crush So-yeong with chocolates on White Day, an Asian holiday in which boys reciprocate or demonstrate affection for the girls they like. Boy Valentine’s Day, basically. To do this, he sneaks into school after hours and somehow ends up crawling through the vents, at which point he spies the janitor beating another student to death…and that’s just the start of the insanity.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Friday, October 30th, 2015||No Comments »|
The Yellow Wallpaper has already taught us what severe isolation can do to our mental state. The Fifth Apartment simply takes a creepier, more visual approach to the topic of deteriorating madness. And weirdly enough, in its short 10 minute play time, it accomplishes that and more.
In The Fifth Apartment, a Ludum Dare challenge game, you play an agoraphobic old woman who lives in a depressing single room apartment. There’s very little the game allows you to do. You wake up, eat bread, watch TV for hours, and listen to the voices in your head as they get louder and louder. The old woman sees visions, flashes of ominous people or shadows, and is concerned about a moist spot on her floor that gets mustier and mustier.
As each day goes by, the woman’s mental state gets worse. The game does an excellent job of portraying this by making the apartment even darker and creepier looking as the days go by. I played this game at night and was genuinely spooked by its ominous atmosphere. This isn’t a game that cares about cheap scares or intense horror. Instead, The Fifth Apartment knows that sometimes the most frightening thing in life takes place inside our minds.
The game is free to play in your browser. Give it a try when you have some free time today — preferably at night.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Wednesday, October 21st, 2015||No Comments »|