Patient # (2013)

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Created during the Vancouver’s Full Indie 48-hour game jam, Patient # is a brief dialogue-driven game taking a novel approach to how choices are made. Dialogue options are presented visually, floating through the room and around the subject, apparently reacting to the course of the conversation. Furthermore, the responses made available depend on the emotional state of the patient with which you are engaging. It’s a neat idea.

Jesse Davidge is responsible for the artwork of this game, and I must say, it is certainly striking. The gloomy, darkly shaded patient characters are captivating in their few moments of screen time.

The gameplay is brief, but it’s an interesting and thoughtful experience.

I am looking forward to what is to come from Silverstring Media.

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Glitchhikers (2014)

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Glitchhikers plays out like a Lynchian dream.

The gameplay is secondary to the experience. There is no sense of urgency – everything moves along at a languid pace determined only by your conversations – even though the topics traversed by you and your passengers are of universal and mortal importance. I believe this juxtaposition serves as the pinnacle reveal of the game: Glitchhikers’ appeal lies in its transparency, as it allows the open, uncertain philosophical themes to guide the driver, all the while, wooing him with the gentlest of caresses found only on a long drive. Truly, isn’t this what driving at night is like?

Though I am sure it is easier to ask questions that seem to have no answer at all, Glitchhikers finds some middle ground, though ultimately goes the continental route in all things philosophical. This is my only substantive criticism of the game: to have more meat on its discussions of life and death.

Some reading this may find my criticism dull or pointless, or perhaps you think I’m being pretentious. But hear me out. My difficulty with the dialogue lies not with its questions but with its answers (or lack thereof). When I go on long drives, it is with greatest pleasure that I engage in long and complex thinking; some of it is vacuous, of course, but much of it is intellectually stimulating. It’s hard work versus merely light thinking. I think Glitchhikers could have really benefited from a change such as this.

But driving is a metaphor.