Games That Changed My View On Life (And Gaming)
I've always been enthusiastic about games. When I was a child I loved beating my Dad's Gran Turismo score and staying up on a school night trying to beat that final boss. For me games were about overcoming challenges and being immersed in another world full of adventure and mystery.
This view changed when I was a bored teenager in my bedroom typing 'weird games' into google until I came across an article about 'artsy-fartsy games' by James DeRosa. I then spent the rest of my evening playing all the unusual games listed and gained a new understanding of what games could be used for. These didn't challenge me with action-packed battles or reward me with the offer of levelling up. Instead they challenged my perceptions of greater matters, even effecting how I live my life. (Oh dear, it's getting deep!)
This list includes: Everyday the Same Dream, Coma, Company of Myself, Loved, ImmorTall, This is the Only Level, The Majesty of Colours, I Can Hold My Breath Forever, Today I die, Gray, Jason Rohrere's Passage in 10 Seconds. Long enough to keep you entertained for a good few hours!
My personal favourites from this list are (Spoilers!):
This is a side-scroller depicting a normal day of the average working man: waking up, going to work, coming home and sleeping. At first glance there isn't anything special about this game, but it eventually forces the player to think outside of the box and explore parts of it that aren't so obvious. This imaginative thinking makes the man have alternative days; days that don't end up being the same repetitive circle of work and sleep. This concept can easily be applied to all of our lives, it's so easy to fall into a repetitive lifestyle that we can forget to explore what the world really has in store for us. Or at least, that's the message I got from this.
Within this game you get to experience an aliens life after crash landing on Earth. It conveys so much emotion without even uttering a word of dialogue. The art style is delicate and 'cutesy', which helps you to emphasise with the emotions conveyed throughout the short gameplay. From the happiness when the alien befriends people within the countryside who help him to become bigger and stronger, to the overwhelming sadness and frustration when the military come to shoot the alien down; leading to its death while you protect your friends from their piercing bullets. It's only human nature to be scared of the unknown but coming from the point of view of the unknown puts a completely new spin on things, resulting in me always thinking twice before making any rash decisions.
These games made me realise that narrative and emotion can be conveyed in a much more interactive means than just films and story books. They're not conventional, more experimental, and work hard to build up atmosphere for a plot that makes the player think instead of just smashing buttons to kill that last boss. (But who doesn't like to kick some bad guys butt every now and then?)