Hmm, never got around to replying to this. Probably cause it’s not a normal post, but eh, what the hell. Applause for having A Blurred Line, Diver Down, and The White Chamber in there. I would’ve put Diver Down in A Blurred Line’s place if I were making a list, but that’s just me. DD’s story is my absolutely favorite of any indie game I’ve played (topping many commercial games as well), and strange as it may sound, the gritty and vaguely unfinished look it has somehow almost adds to the atmosphere for me. I love the strange choices of music too– the mood in that game is so potent I can almost taste it.
I’ve been trying, but I still haven’t managed to get into Varicella… It’s frustrating for me, since I’d really like to play through it and see the reasons it’s held in such high regard by you (someone who I consider to have good taste in games). Maybe my attention span has died a little bit since I last played a text adventure, I’m not sure. 😛
Hmm, thinking back to my time spent playing A Blurred Line, I actually can’t quite decide between it and Diver Down. DD had this amazing feel and story throughout for me, but then ABL had some truly memorable moments… Y’know, I’m gonna give up before I drive myself insane trying to compare the two.
Well, first allow me to say that any game that’s on this list is one I’m very fond of, and that definitely goes for Diver Down. Thing is, Diver Down was a fantastic game in spite of some major flaws (like an seriously unbalanced and unimaginative battle engine, inconsistent graphical style and some unfortunate music choices that kill the mood). Still, I think it’s a wonderful game 🙂
A Blurred Line, on the other hand. Well, that’s just spectacular, heh 😀 . I mean, it’s not all perfect, but as a wannabe RPG designer the whole game just leaves me in awe. I also think its much more humble plot blows Diver Down out of the water. I’m itching to replay it, but I’m trying to hold out for the final release.
On Varicella, you could be forgiven for using a guide. Varicella is pretty tricky and very counter-intuative in places – plus even if you use a guide to finish it, there’s a startling number of things to discover…
I’m actually thinking of writing my own walkthrough to Varicella that isn’t as spoilerific as the one out there, which instead is just kinda tiered at various “assistance” levels pointing at various tools you’ve got at your disposal (for example, how to use the phone outside the court room or the security camera system). Whatdoya think? 🙂
I suppose all this is largely a matter of opinion, since I found all of Diver Down’s music to be fantastic and very fitting, if somewhat unusual for an RPG– And oddly enough I’m rather fond of its unfinished look.
Perhaps I should replay A Blurred Line at any rate, it’s been awhile… Though I doubt it’s going to see any more releases, the last one was years ago and there hasn’t really been any word about it since, as far as I know. A shame, really.
Also, that Varicella walkthrough definitely sounds like a good idea. 😉
Well, I didn’t mean to say that I don’t like the music in Diver Down (actually I do), but some of it was a bit off… I mean ,the battle theme in particular was such a downer (though the different versions as the game goes on get pretty good).
I hope you’re wrong on ABL 🙂 Every so often Lysander pops into GamingW.net to announce that yes, he’s still working on it, so you never know, heh.
Out of curiosity, what do you make of the rest of the games on the list?
Wow, Lysander’s still around? That’s news to me (albeit very good news), I somehow must’ve missed that. I was under the impression the game had gone vaporware.
On Diver Down: I agree on the battle themes being very unorthodox– and I can see what you mean when you say the first one’s a real downer– but for me at least, that added a lot to the intangible atmosphere of the game. It’s a very, very dark story with a lot of mood to it; the almost surreal choice of music just completes the vaguely strange, dark feeling the game has. I certainly know some people who wouldn’t enjoy that, though… I guess I’m just stupidly optimistic enough to not really be bothered by depressing atmosphere, haha. :p
As for the rest of the games, I’ve only played A Blurred Line, Cave Story, Varicella, Diver Down, and The White Chamber. I downloaded Alex’s Adventure but haven’t gotten around to playing it quite yet.
You already know my opinion on ABL, DD, and Varicella– I never finished Cave Story (or got very far at all, really), but I really liked what I did play. I can’t remember exactly why I stopped playing– probably my aggravatingly short attention span for, strangely, anything except RPGs– but I do remember I got stuck on this giant frog boss which everyone kept telling me was easy as hell afterwards. :p The game has a lot of style though, and I’ve been told it has a surprisingly great story and ending(s). It’s on my list of ‘games to finish one of these days’ for sure.
I really liked The White Chamber, it was very creepy indeed, though the ending wasn’t as much of a revelation as I was expecting. I absolutely loved the surreal ‘traffic light sequence’, that just made almost no sense but was incredibly frightening to me for some strange reason. Then again, I am a huge fan of anything I consider ‘surreal.’ 🙂
Perhaps you should put up a list of your favorite commercial games, too? I’m not sure if it’d be as long as this one (just guessing since you appear to have a preference for indie games) or have as much purpose, but it’d be interesting to read. I have this kind of ‘holy trinity’ of a select few commercial games, it’d be interesting to see how they compare to some of your favorites.
Also, could you link to one of Lysander’s posts on Gamingw.net? I looked, but couldn’t find anything recent. Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough, but I could’ve sworn I read that he wasn’t enjoying making the game anymore (Line’s End) and basically said it was canceled. Then again, that was from 2005 or something, so things could’ve changed.
The last Lysander post I could find on GamingW.net was from April ’06, which isn’t as recently as I’d hoped… however, he was still talking about finishing ABL at that point, so you never know…
It’s cool to hear you opinion on those games – you should stick with Cave Story, but if you’re not enjoying it by Grassland maybe it’s just not your kinda game 🙁
As for commercial games, I actually had a list up on the old site at the start of 2006… it’s a little out of date though, but maybe I’ll repost it here… It would be nice to have more than one article, heh. My top three probably haven’t changed though:
3 – Baldur’s Gate II
2 – Final Fantasy VII
1 – Silent Hill 2
Oh, don’t get me wrong– I was definitely enjoying Cave Story quite a lot! I just have a habit of abandoning games when I spot some other shiny thing over yonder that demands my attention. I’m not sure what that shiny thing was in Cave Story’s case, but now that it’s (presumably) out of the way I should really get back to playing it. 😛
Good list, by the way! I’ve yet to properly play any Silent Hill game, which may shock you, but I’d really like to as I love the atmosphere from what I’ve seen (and apparently I’m one of the few who liked the movie!). Final Fantasy VII is obviously a given, despite its alternating status as the most overrated/underrated game of all time, depending on who you talk to. Excellent game though, definitely a classic of its time, and full of great moments and subtleties not mentioned by all the fanboys and hype.
My top three commercial games I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing are probably Shadow of the Colossus, Killer7, and Psychonauts– Not sure if I’ve mentioned those to you already, but Killer7 is a must-play for its certifiably insane, convoluted, bombshell-ridden (and often quite morbid) plot– absolute genius. It’s also one of the very few games I’ve played that places story over gamplay (apparently they didn’t even know how the game was going to play until very late in development) and succeeds, remaining an extremely fun experience throughout.
there are countless other commercial games that I adore though, and I think it’d take quite awhile to list them all… I quite enjoy reading others’ lists and reasons, though– It’s interesting, finding out how others see the merits of various games.
Heh, now that’s a fascinating top three 🙂 I’ve never played any of them!
Killer7, coincidently, I bought about a week ago along with my new preowned PS2, but I haven’t gotten around to playing it yet. As it’s one of your favourites I’ll move it right up to a priority. 😀
I’m not at all suprised to hear that Shadow of the Colossus is great – I loved Ico and everything I’ve heard about the game to date seems fantastic. I’ll keep an eye out for it in second hand stores.
Psychonauts I’ve only barely heard of. Guess I missed that one…
You own Killer7 and haven’t played it?! Oh man, you’re in for a treat. I couldn’t put it down at all until I beat it. I hated it at first though, the controls really tripped me up– trust me though, stick with it, and all the apparent restriction will go away. It just becomes really quick and easy to play. Even if you still don’t get used to it, the plot is worth it more than anything and the ending is something every gamer must see. A total masterpiece of ultra-convoluted storytelling and some of the best “WTF!” moments in any medium, ever. 🙂
I haven’t actually played Ico, but we’ll have it shortly (my brother ordered it just recently), and I probably won’t be able to put it down for days, considering how much I loved Shadow of the Colossus. That game is simultaneously the most mesmerizing, minimalist, frustratingly difficult, and emotionally powerful game I’ve ever played– I’m not ashamed to say that the ending is the only instance of anything in any game that’s actually made me cry. The unique approach to input during cutscenes (I’m not talking Resident Evil 4 style either, it’s much more subtle) added so much to that game. If you do end up playing Shadow, I guarantee you will need a walkthrough at some point. You just will, you’ll see why. I’ve never been more frustrated at something in a game before or since, but at the same time I’ve never felt as much satisfaction– which, interestingly enough, they’ve manage to successfully tie to an incredible amount of guilt and questioning of motives. It’s amazing what the game accomplishes with so very little content.
Psychonauts, well you’ve just gotta play it. It has some of the most lovable characters ever, they’re just so well written. Really quirky, utterly hilarious at many points and aside from the last level, an absolute joy to play. Great direction and storytelling too…
…And it just so happens that all of the above games are for ps2. Hint hint! 😉
Man, I hope you aren’t bothered by my stupidly lengthy posts. I can’t help going on and on about something I’m passionate about, given the chance.
I’m really looking forward to killer7, but I don’t know when I’m going to get a chance to play it properly… Maybe during the week, with any luck.
“¦And it just so happens that all of the above games are for ps2. Hint hint! 😉
Well, I’ve just gone and bought Psychonauts on eBay, so I shall be playing it pretty soon! (By the way, I had no idea that Grim Fandango guy was involved!)
Heh, it’s been interesting to hear your opinion, don’t worry about it. 😀
Yeah, I probably should’ve mentioned that Tim Schafer was involved… He’s a great writer! As I’ve already mentioned, the characters are just incredible.
Let me know when you start Killer7 and what you think of it, too. It’s a real love it or hate it experience, I really like hearing what other people think of it and how their opinion sometimes changes the more of the story they uncover. 🙂
Well, first impressions? It’s certainly… “unique”. Heh. I don’t know where to start.
Well, at random, what’s with the control scheme? X to walk forward, triangle to change direction? Wouldn’t it have been so much easier (and probably more fun) to just allow full movement?
I’ll guess I’ll just have to see how that develops.
I don’t quite get what’s going on so far with the different characters and the whole blood thing, but then I haven’t got very far yet (just as far as the car with Travis in it, and the bullet in the boot).
You’ll think that at first, but later on you’ll see that free movement wouldn’t really be the same. Once you get used to it, it’s a million times easier to navigate with the semi-on-rails controls than it is to navigate any free-movement FPS or similar shooter with a controller. It’ll all make sense soon… Well not really any kind of ‘sense’ we’re used to (it’s very surreal), but soon you won’t be able to put it down. 😉
I actually think the first level is the weakest one, it gets much more interesting past that. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the few games that gets increasingly better as it progresses… Just stick with it, that’s all I can say. If you don’t hate it right away you’ll probably grow to love it.
Hey Echo … I’m posting because I think it’s interesting that you specifically say you prefer indie games to the rest. I’m writing an article for the Phoenix (thephoenix.com) about indie games, featuring a few favorites of mine and arguing for artistry in games. You seem pretty hardcore. I’d like to hear what you have to say about the indie scene.
firstname.lastname@example.org, if you want to give me a quote.
Maddy: Sorry, I’m not really interested 🙁 Still, I like the idea of your article – good luck with it!
I also have a paper Balrog sitting on my computer >_>
Heh – actually, in my case, that’s no longer true. I sold my computer – but he still sits on my shelf, along with a papercraft Phoenix Wright 🙂
Apparently Pixel’s working on an RPG. I’m ever so excited about it! 🙂
On the subject of A Blurred Line, his hotmail seems to have expired out of inactivity, and Lysander seems to have disappeared off the internet about a year ago… Don’t think we’ll be getting ABL 3.0 anytime soon, if ever. A damn shame, it’s a beautiful (not graphics wise obviously) game.
Feck, that’s a pity 🙁
I wonder what he’s doing these days? I wonder why someone so talented would suddenly decide to quit like that…
I hope he’s ok 😯
Great list..ABL, DD, and Cave Story are the best. I remember playing The Frozen World a year or so back when I was more active in the RPGmaker community but never getting too far into it. If you haven’t already, I think you should check out a little gem of a game called The Sword Of Jade.
It’s on my to play list 🙂 Along with 34 other games 🙁
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