Without any doubt, computer games have long become a unique art form of its own. At Playsterr we truly believe that any art in its essence is a true driving force of creativity that should mesmerize and shock minds by delivering unique content in any form. Making a debut as a simple and even primitive form of entertainment, it has progressed from scripted demos to visual masterpieces.
Programmers began to encode stories and adventures in games as early as in the 60s. Due to graphic limitations in the early days of computer games, pioneer game designers used text which remains an essential part of storytelling in modern games. But these were the times when you had to have at least some imagination to enjoy gameplay on a computer the size of a nuclear reactor. Imagination was a key factor to produce digital content back then. The developer had to rely entirely on his creative abilities of storytelling or to hire someone with literary skill to write the script of the game.
Games with text interface blossomed in the 70s and continued well in the 80s with notable development studios such as Sierra, LucasArts, etc. A number of text features are still noticed today in games like Fallout, The Elder Scrolls and many others.
But the most difficult job of any game designer is to create emotions for the gamer to be attracted and linked to the gaming experience. The fate and sequels of any game depend greatly upon the gamers’ mood, and the interest of adventuring further into the game and to follow closely the narrative.
Though it is quite logical that arcade and action games relied on the player to be hooked on the competition of the game – high scores, achievements, etc., it’s a different story for indie and quest games.
As game developers started to gather in teams, computer games with engaging stories and narratives started to become more popular. Today, game development companies may consist of hundreds of employees, and with enormous budgets, they are able to involve script writers, concept artists and special effects. But what happened to the modern indie gaming scene? How small-scale game developers tackle the difficulties of the full game production process? Especially when you don’t have the resources to compete with huge game studios? Well, turns out that you don’t need all of that. As long as the developer has a creative idea and has the skill to make an interesting game, he has all the chances in releasing a quality game that will be appreciated by millions (not only in the indy community)
Modern games have to compete aggressively not only between them, but even with Hollywood. A modern game title may have a production budget as big as a box office movie these days. The extensive use of cinematics and special effects is almost blinding and sometimes compromises the gameplay making it way too linear, thus limiting the player’s actions. The use of suspense, plot twists and psychological pressure combined with detailed graphic scenes is key for grabbing the attention of a modern gamer.
What is worth telling is that writers and filmmakers use psychology extensively in order to grab our attention and to hook us to their story. Game developers have the chance to go even further by making us, the users, feel everything that the characters of the narrative do. Because of the interaction, game creators mastered the use of psychology in order to make us feel responsible for the decisions and actions we undertake in the game. As an example, games like Fallout, Bioshock and Dead Space use this concept extensively. It is difficult to say when exactly the trend originated in the recent years, but quite possible that some Sitcoms had something to do with this.
We wanted to introduce you to a few titles that we think nailed the thrilling atmosphere of desperation and the effects of psychological trauma on human beings. In some of these games, you are not able to control the behaviour of the characters, and yet your actions will have a dramatic impact on the course of the story. We also believe that the modern gaming market changed considerably and it no longer requires million dollar budgets to release a great title to the general public. In fact, a lot of these games were developed by a single person. Here are the few we enjoyed playing:
Gods Will be watching
1. The story on how this game originated is as fun as the game itself. One level is based entirely on a drawing posted on Reddit. The picture got the attention of the threads’ readers and provoked a discussion regarding the origins of the art. This picture depicted a crew of spacemen stranded on some unknown planet sitting around a fire. The users were eager to find out the background of the pictures story. It is believed that the game’s plot originated on the same thread, with users writing it and giving a general idea for the developer. This is a game where the game’s result depend entirely on your patience and your ability to make difficult decisions. As a captain of an expedition team you are trapped on a distant planet with limited resources crucial for your survival. Your task is to survive for 40 days and fix a radio in order to request an evacuation. The mental state of your colleagues is slowly degrading and a treacherous virus can strike at any moment. Check out this demo on Playsterr and you will be intrigued to buy the full game.
2. Welcome to Zombie Apocalypse world. It has already started and what is worse the infected are flooding your city. What are you going to do about this? The Apocalypse clockwatch is already on and you have less time to save yourself. But you are lucky if you know the city well and can predict where the infection progresses. Think fast, analyze the map and make right decisions. Then just go away and hide in the safe place.
This is not a game. This is a simulator. The Zombie Apocalypse Simulator called Collapse The Division Game.
Welcome back, December
3. Here is a quite tough psychological quest. Here is a title that can stumble from your feet as the story plays with your mind. You are playing a character who never got over his childhood psychological trauma and now endures life as his past haunts him. It is astonishing how one easily connects with the main character. Though the game may look primitive from a graphic standpoint, the music and spontaneous cutscenes will immerse you in a thrilling novel-like gameplay.
4. Decay is a short adventure platformer seemingly inspired by the Alien franchise and Stephen King’s. As you take control of an extraterrestrial organism your task is to navigate through different levels of a science lab. The goal is to take over humans as a parasite i order to move forward in the game. You are of course limited in time as the corpses you inhabit start to rot slowly, hence the title of the name. Worth checking out.
5. We wanted to keep this list short, but we couldn’t walk past this chef-d’œuvre of indie class games. It has won numerous awards and proves once again that a single person is capable to deliver an enjoyable game title. The gameplay is quite unusual as you take the role of a border control officer in a dystopian and fictional universe of a cold war eastern Europe. Your job basically consists in letting in foreign citizens in your socialist country by following tough bureaucratic entrance protocols. It might sound simple, but your work routine gets complicated with smugglers, criminals and people with fake ID’s. It is a case when a seemingly boring game is actually really fun and has a non-linear gameplay with multiple endings. Papers, please is bound to get spot in the gaming hall of fame.
You can check this game on Steam or try the demo here: http://papersplea.se/
By Max Orvil.
Play Games Online: http://playsterr.com