By granderojo 0 Comments
During the coveted Steam winter sale I noticed Analogue A Hate Story was on sale. Being a fan of adventure games of many ilk, I was casually interested but was reticent due to the art style. I've tried to give anime a chance, but unless there's some sort of science fiction element to that anime, it usually can't grab me. The great thing about Analogue is that it has that, set in the far flung future on a derelict ship having you conversing with artificial intelligence having the player solve a murder mystery. I did not know that Analogue had a science fiction element to it until reading Rock Paper Shotguns "Wot I Think" of the game, and when I read Giantbomb user @aurahack describe the game as Space Korea I decided to give the game a chance.
First off the thing I most like about the game is the Linux style command line. Which is funny because hearing people talk about the game after having S Ranked it seems to have thrown many through a loop. To me it was incredibly straight forward, which leads to the next thing I most like about this game. It's elegantly designed. Hands down this is probably one of the most elegantly designed interactive fictions I've played. The fact that text is broken up into an email system that is searchable, easy to catalog for future reference made the puzzles flow really well. I never hit a wall in the entire puzzle solving experience, due to it's design which is sort of why I played to get all the endings. In that way the game succeeds where many for me haven't, but it also leads to the problems I have with Analogue.
Many have showered Christine Love with praise saying here that Analogue has great writing, but I don't subscribe to this. To quote someone who is the master of detective novels, Raymond Chandler. "If all the clues are there for you to solve the mystery before the end, it's not writing, it's an exercise." I unlocked the admin password before ever leaving the first command prompt screen getting the third ending. In my experience, Analogue suffered from a dual problem of being too accessible, leading to me predicting the twist before it was actually presented naturally and frankly being a bit one note in many sections. Continuous thought running through my head while reading the wall of text broken down into bite sized chunks was, "Man I know the name of the game is Analogue but did Christine Love need to take every trope she could find from tv tropes?"
In the end, I had a great time with it, more than I ever expected which is a testament to how games as an interactive medium can succeed despite their stories. It doesn't matter that the writing is ruined by the interface, the execution was well enough to carry it to the finish. In 2012, social media like twitter is be used as a platform to stop us dudes from being so obsessively lame(as I would put it) towards our fairer sex. I'm specifically referring to the #1reasonwhy political movement, that Giantbomb's very own @patrickklepek covered for us. Analogue, you quickly learn is actually retelling the story of the subservient role women had during the Joseon Dynasty in Korea. When you come across that revelation Analogue missteps for me in the writting were alleviated, to an extent. I then felt good that an indie game developer, who happens to be a woman created a wonderful exercise in interactive fiction. It stuck out for me for it's elegant design, but it left me feeling good that a woman could really show off her game making chops. That's pretty awesome. In spite of me being no Otaku, and agreeing that in many cases anime may in fact be for jerks (I kid) Analogue is a progressive work of interactive fiction and I hope to see more from Christine Love.