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Thursday, 6 January 2011

Independant Gaming - Torch or Lantern?

Do not let them tell you that you shouldn't post after giving blood - they are wrong, whoever these naysayers may be. I defy them! Wooziness aside...

Ever wanted to be stuck inside a cave, with nothing but a pickaxe made of diamond and some wool? Me neither. Or at least, if you asked me a few weeks ago - I'd have agreed with you. I mean, haven't you played Minecraft? What about cowering in a cupboard whilst Princess Flappyjaw snorts and growls its way around the room lusting after your skin, which would make a perfect balaclava? Never wanted that? Why the hell not? You're weird...


I see from this article over at Wired.co.uk that the Independant Gaming Festival is coming up, and Minecraft and Amnesia: The Dark Descent are both in the running for Indie game of the year. I'm torn about who I would go for - on the one hand Amnesia is pants-wettingly terrifying, there is nothing quite like the fear when your lantern runs out of oil in a dark corridor, and in the dim distance you see an leg disappear into a doorway. Of course, you turn to leave, but as you do so great fleshy tumours burst out of the walls, stringy cartilidge bars the door - you crap yourself, hit alt-f4 and go to bed to sit wide-eyed in the dark.
On the other hand, Minecraft is quite the opposite, I cannot stop playing, perhaps tomorrow I will spend an hour flattening ground to build my cathedral - bit by bit, from the ground up. Perhaps the day after that I will dig straight down, in the hopes of finding a dungeon, so that I can get wheat to start my farm. Maybe after that I'll gather 100 blocks of wool and build a woolen tower as high as I can. Its so freaking expansive, my mind boggles!


I think in the end Minecraft wins this one for me, because whilst Amnesia is innovative in removing the player's ability to fight back, it forces me not to play because it is so terrifying! I laud this as a great acheivement by the developers, but if we are going off fun-factor - then Minecraft has it beat.

Ultimately, I think both games have been revolutionary - Minecraft in its wide appeal and commitment to sandbox gameplay, and Amnesia with its shedding of the power of the weapon in survival horror gaming, and the way it forces the player to come up with other ways of making it through the twisted corridors of the castle.

I'm really glad I'm not withing range of a computer with Amnesia on it right now - in my blood deprived state I fear that the sheer terror would throw me into some kind of shock... maybe its time I just put my head on the desk...

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