Another chance for ANOTHER WORLD

Golden rules of game design.

What makes a game good?

Many things. Shutup.

What is a good way to increase game value?

a) make the game longer, b) make the graphics better, or more realistic (not necessarily the same thing), c) make the gameplay more engrossing, more believable within its own context. d) Intuitive controls

What is a bad way to increase game value?

Elongate the game by making it either a) too hard, or b) make it easy to make mistakes, or c) make the game controls slightly unpredictable so you can’t make correctly forumlated choices of what your next step will be.

In the past, games were generally pretty short by today’s standards. That’s because the game cartridges could hold so much less data. Remember when every tree in a game was the same sprite used over and over again (Zelda is a great example). There was a predictability in that and in many cases it did nothing to detract from the gameplay at all. Good games don’t necessarily need good graphics

Original graphics

New graphics. It’s exactly what they would have done before if they had the technology. looks like they had bloody chem-trails on this planet also. Damn government!

So here is a game I bought the other day. One of those. “Shit, I must be old.” moments when a game you used to love has its 20th anniversary. The game is “another world” aka “out of this world” (of which flashback was the sequel). They have given it a graphic overhaul, which is done very nicely, very frugally, band very tastefully, paying homage to the original graphics(which you can see at any time by swiping down with 2 fingers).

While this is a nice touch, it’s one of the few predictable finger movements of the game. The best websites, games or interactive devices don’t require instructions as they are designed based on human intuition. I think this game has tried to elevate itself to a higher level by assuming the controls are much easier than they are.

Let me just say. I love this game. I did before and I do now, so if I seem a bit harsh it’s only tough love and I want to use it as an example of what to do, and also of what not to do.

The gameplay

Although you are a gun wielding scientist is an extra-terrestrial world, it’s not a shooter. It’s a puzzle game. Logic is the general driving force of the game. Doing exactly the right thing, in the right order, at the right time is how this game works. If you dont, you die, and then respawn to try again, and again, and again, and again. Yes, some bits will drive you bonkers, but when you work it out, although you want to, it’s hard to say that the solution doesn’t make sense in the end.well, sort of(ignoring the pretty random tank level plus a few bits here and there that just have their own special rules)

Every page or two you will automatically update your respawn point, so when you die, you always hope you don’t have to go back too far.

The controls

Admittedly, going from a superNES to the ipad is a difficult task as it had 6 buttons and a d-pad, where the ipad has none. Undoubtably you will die many times due to the fact that you will miss the button or get confused what finger movement you need to do. It’s ok. Makes the game last and teaches you control, well finger control. Makes me fu#%king mad is what it does really. I can appreciate that too I guess. Generally the controls are completely invisible and you kind guess your way through the commands. In some places they are on screen but in one level (the Christian sacrifice tank level I like to call it) it took me about 20 goes to even see one of the buttons. That’s not great design really.

The verdict

While there are many things that drove me crazy about this game, some personal and some breaking the golden rules of game design as I see them, ultimately it’s still a great game which deserves to be played. It’s incredibly short, but most games were back then, and it’s simple but futuristic look still holds up. The way they have improved the graphics and allow you to compare between them without destroying any of the experience is impressive as it would have been easy to overwork fact often I I thought I had accidentally switched the graphics, swiped again and realized how simple the original graphics were.

Besides cheapening the experience by elongating gameplay by unnecessarily confusing the player, if you put this game as a platform puzzler, somewhat similar to the gameplay of “Abe’s odyssey” you will realize its value. If only it was a little longer. I guarantee you will get stuck at least a couple of times and put it down for days at a time, coming back to it later after an idea hits you. I’m sure they will release “Flashback”, which was its sequel soon enough to continue the journey. I just wonder how that game will hold up. I’m willing to spend the $2 to find out.

In fact, when I was in Australia last year, I found a poster I used to have on my wall for flash back. Here it is.

Here a pretty hot scene with naked whatchamacallit’s sitting around nude

Compared to original

This is an interesting scene. You will find out why later.