What is the definition of a game? When does an activity become a game? Is it the interactivity that counts or maybe having objectives? Not really sure, but the ones I describe here walk the fine line between being a video game and an interactive experience.
I just tried VR for the first time and what I played was Blind. You play the role of a blind girl with extraordinary echolocation abilities. At a click of a button you make a sound that bounces around the room revealing its shape and structures within it. It’s not a horror game, but it’s definitely creepy. What was eerie was the shift in perception, which meant I would remain in utter darkness unless I clicked that button. It has a really unique premise and I love the fact it’s mainly a puzzle game.
As a side note, VR was very heavily featured at EGX Rezzed 2016, especially by PlayStation, with its own VR section. It is a thing that you need to get used to (I had a headache after my go). I am still somewhat sceptical about the future of VR, because it is likely a thing of the future, but it can also fail in a very big way, like Kinect or “3D” TV. But I’m keen to see what the future holds and what creative ideas game developers come up with.
What good is a writer with a writer’s block? Main protagonist struggles to make ends meet, his wife leaves him, and the police are on the hunt for the drugs he so strongly craves. Suddenly his TV starts talking to him and he finds windows into a number of alternative realities. Did he seriously overdosed or are these withdrawal symptoms? He travels through them, meeting the same people along the way, but always distorted by the alternative worlds.
What might seem like a simple “walking-simulator” is actually a homage to Philip K. Dick and his famous writings, filled with colourful and fascinating characters. The game’s alternative realities bare similarities to settings of Philip’s books and his personal life: the sunny drug-fuelled California of 1960s; a dystopian ultra-patriotic society under constant surveillance and two other colourful (or more colourless) dystopian realities. It’s an experience or maybe a game, but it’s definitely available on Steam.
You start off in a cave, pick up a scanner and enter a dark tunnel. This scanner emits particles that stick to the surfaces thus mapping out your surroundings. Depending on a proximity to these particles you see them in a different colour, the closest being bright red and subsequently orange, yellow, green and finally blue, at the furthest distance. Also the particles remain visible even through walls, so as you go through the tunnels and caverns, you continue to see behind you the amazingly colourful 3D trail.
As I am told by the developer, at this stage this is still only a prototype taking shape. One of two such in the making, the other one is Wrong Wire, a bomb diffusal game. Since the said developer is Introversion Software (BAFTA Games winners for Prison Architect), I’m pretty sure it will permutate into something awesome. And I can’t wait!