Archive for November 26th, 2007

Fun and Thoughtful Smaller Games

Posted on November 26, 2007. Filed under: Games, Music |

I wasn’t planning to write another Adventure Game post so soon, but some very nice smaller games have come to my attention recently, and I really like them all, so I thought I’d share information about them.

The first one is a charmer from the wonderful Deirdra Kiai, who just released her latest major game last month. Surprise! A new one. If this is indicative of things to come, I’m for it. Pigeons in the Park is a conversation. That’s it. There are two characters sitting on a park bench. They wear identical sweatshirts, slacks and shoes–except for the color–but have never met until they find themselves on the same bench. (The park must be across the street from the local Old Navy store 😉 ) So what’s the point? You, as the player choose the direction the conversation will take. You decide how much each character will reveal to the other; how much you want, or don’t want, to listen to what each says; and, to some extent, the topics of conversation. The game is an exploration into human interaction, and how the words we choose can determine our direction. Some of the conversations are quite funny, others poignant. I’ve played all the angles I can think of, but usually it helps me to leave this kind of thing alone for a few days, and then come back for some fresh perspective.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that game designer and musician Rikard Peterson, whose delightful game Frasse and Peas of Kejick was the subject of a previous gaming post, plays the trumpet for the game’s soundtrack. Ms. Kiai’s groovy jazzy soundtrack is great, and conveys just the right mood of laid-back anticipation for the story. The score also has a vibes solo I love. It’s just terrific, though, that we have a real (and “real good”) trumpeter in the background, YaHoo!

While I’m posting about smaller games, and Deirdra Kiai’s in particular: She made a little flash game some time ago that’s worth your attention. In When We Were Kids, you get to be a young child in school, and must deal with the consequences when your “GameBot” is snatched by an aggressive child. Your teacher is not much help, so what do you do? Ms. Kiai’s psychological and sociological insights come into play here. I want to be nice. I always want to be nice. Can I really go through life that way? What if the bullies get me first?

A fascinating game about moral choices is Move or Die a dialog-driven online flash game from ZAPdramatic. I have the aforementioned Deirdra Kiai to thank for steering me towards it. She felt it was similar thematically to her own Chivalry Is NOT Dead. In this game, you are a car passenger with a brother and sister who have different perspectives, to say the least. While driving too fast during a “discussion” with her brother, the driver hits something in the road, and finds the “something” is a “someone”. What to do now?

Thanks to fellow blogging buddy nylusmilk for posting a link to The Goodhue Codex–another nifty online flash game. Took me about an hour, but I’m slow! It is an interactive library mystery game, brought to us by the Los Angeles Public Library, Rooney Design, and Sky’s the Limit Interactive. Very fun, and somewhat fulfilling. You are a library patron using one of the public computers, when suddenly your cell phone rings…This game has it all: dialog, puzzles (even a timed puzzle, ugh!), mystery, history, adventure, a maze (oh no!) and a satisfying conclusion. A particularly nice feature is the game gallery exhibit in the library, where one can play several puzzle games. We’re allowed to go there anytime, and play as often as we like. This is not a complicated, long or hard game. You are given advice and help when needed. It kept me very entertained, and I really liked the look of it. Crisp, clean, and colorful, the game library is a pleasant place–except for the mystery, the ancient artifacts, and the…

If you come across any little gems like these, please let me know. In the meantime, happy gaming.

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