- Nights into Dreams...
- Mega Man 3
- Dark Souls
Umurangi Generation's vibrant ambience validates the rebellion of its doomed youth culture. It also renders the player a transient witness to a surging tragedy. Umurangi Generation's key is its camera, as it allows its protagonist and its player the agency to access and capture a world beyond their control. It creates a vantage point untended since Jet Set Radio, and Umurangi Generation didn't even need skates or spray paint to get there.
Volume One of Tales From Off-Peak City is an escalating procession of existential crises staged through instances of gentrification, corporatism, and pizza delivery. It's a kitschy nightmare laundered through eccentric characters and their bizarre conditions and the product is a surreal but eloquent presentation on preventable social decay. A single city block and a couple of hours is all Tales From Off-Peak City needs to tell a grotesque, distinctive story.
80's Overdrive asserts that Out Run's combination of breakneck racing and frantic traffic negotiation will fit neatly inside the progression-focused model of a modern game. It doesn't, and 80's Overdrive almost runs out of gas before it reaches a comfortable destination. All the lavish neon and thumping synthwave in the world can't help 80's Overdrive make twenty minutes last six hours.
Pattern's blossoming world and ethereal music, forever trapped in a constant state of flux, are pathways to understanding the ambiguous complexion of the creative process. It suggests that ideas can be transitory as it explores the rivalry between indecision and confidence. The limitations are clear, by Pattern's own admission it's a fleeing experience, but with it comes the power to articulate one of the more abstruse processes of the imagination.
Paper Beast allows players to lose themselves inside pastel daydreams of soft shapes and delicate zoology. They could also lose patience with some tedious mechanics and suspicious tests of logic. Paper Beast is full of gratifying ingenuity, beautiful optimism, and elegant communication. And maybe an overabundance of zealous whimsy.
Saints Row: The Third was a sacred moment in time where lunatics reimagined the animus of an open-world crime game. It enabled players to thunderously lead a prestigious gang of miscreants and also turn themselves into a toilet. Nine years later Saints Row: The Third Remastered's glut of Content is more difficult to digest, but its outrageous ambience is still so sweet.
Space Channel 5 VR: Kinda Funky News Flash! presents an opportunity to inhabit 1999's idyllic vision of 1960's culture through 2020's virtual reality. Delivering this extremely specific hallucinatory novelty required an alarming price tag and the notice of a brisk runtime. Space Channel 5 remains a lustrous expression of the Dreamcast's ethos, and a chance to actively embrace it merits attention and applause. Space Channel 5 VR is a brief, beautiful celebration of a bygone era.
Kentucky Route Zero is lost in the illusive premise of the American Dream but found in the elusive dream logic of its weird, wild, and wonderful prose. Through it all are characters who conceal pain and loss with whimsical musings of hope and escape and locations engulfed in a meditative haze where brutal reality is indistinguishable from isolated reverie. At the end lies a paradox that suggests a circuitous path was the shortest course to an inevitable destination, and the assurance that Kentucky Route Zero's seven-year voyage knew its direction all along.
As a game, Wattam is a scatterbrained assembly of goofball logic and cumbersome mechanics. As an experience, it's an earnest expression of love, affinity, and forgiveness shared by all of its moving pieces. The product is a game that elicits joy without the videogame-y demand for precooked gratification. Wattam feels like a birthday party where all of your friends actually show up.