released today, and the reviews are glowing
. Following on the heels of a spate of well-received independent video game titles like Braid
, World of Goo
, and Machinarium
, we may be seeing a major shift in the habits of video game reviewers
. The trinity of duration
(short games = bad games), sheer intensity
(slow-paced, non-violent games = bad games), and graphical 'realism'
(non-3D, non-photorealistic games = bad games) seems to be giving way (somewhat) to a recognition of the value of feel
, and game mechanics that fit within a holistic experience
that integrates art direction, sound design, and storytelling elements.
Of course, old habits die hard, as the Gaming Age review
demonstrates: "The only draw back, and the reason that I am not saying that you should stop reading this now and go buy this game, is that the game is extremely short."
What's more, with so many of these successful indie titles adopting a dark, contemplative tone - is there a danger of indie games becoming an "emo ghetto"
, easily stereotyped and dismissed by "hardcore" types as "feminizing"? (After all, there's already been at least one emo game parody
.) Does a good indie game, or an experimental game, or a game with a powerful story, necessarily have to be maudlin, and even if it is, should that count against it? Is the trite old question "Did it make you cry?"
too much on gamer's minds
? Can video games develop an emotional range that transcends the twin poles of roid rage and sad panda?