By yami4ct 1 Comments
After a day of thinking about what content should actually go into these blog posts, I've finally settled on a format. I'm going to be, at least for the time being, picking a theme and bringing you posts that have to do with that. I may do a few one-offs in-between, but for the most part it'll be all related within the topics. My first theme I've decided on is going to be my favorite games. Let me just say, "favorite" in this case does not mean best, just games I've had the most fun with.
The first game I'm highlighting in this series is going to be Tim Schafer's Psychonauts. I happened on this game completely on by mistake. It started when I finally opened a GameFly account back in 2005. I had been eyeing the 2-week trial box located on the shelves of my local Best Buy for about a month, if memory serves me correctly. I was wary of opting into another monthly fee and the fact it would prompt me too spend way too much time playing games instead of actually going out, being social, or getting a summer job. It's the exact same reason I don't get a WoW account. Time passed and finally the temptation became too great. After getting home and entering the requisite information, the time came to actually pick out my first games. The list was daunting. So much to play and too little time. I had recently received a used Xbox for my birthday and quickly came the decision that would be the console I would rent my first games for. I looked at the list and picked out picked out Psyconauts and Advent Rising. I'm not sure why I picked those, but within a week I had received my first games. After playing Advent for about an hour, I grew fed up with its jankyness, low frame-rates and just general badness and put in Psychonauts. I instantly fell in love with the game.
The game just did so much right. The characters were original, interesting and funny. The gameplay was challenging and different and the story and dialog where just so different from what else was out around that time. It's the first game I remember just sitting down and finishing in only a couple sittings. It was like a good TV show. I constantly wanted to see what was going to happen next. I rushed through, ignoring the over world collectable for the most part, trying to get to the next world. Each world had it's own personality and rules. It seemed like a new game every time you'd enter the next person's mind. Each world felt well fleshed out and lived in. Everything seemed so well thought out. You could tell Double Fine spent as much time creating the world as they did developing the actual game. My favorite section was the milkman world. It was the funniest thing I had ever seen. It really felt like the mind of a conspiracy theorist. Every one of the characters, no matter how small a part they played, had multiple lines of dialog and their own personality and sense of humor. It really made me think about how important story in games is, and how neglected it seemed to be up to that point.
As amazing as the game was, it had problems. The collectables where fun, but there were far too many kinds. I never got drawn in, because I never could figure out where to start. I was far too engrossed by the story to want to waste time tracking things down anyway.Some of the basic platforming became repetitive and tedious. A few of the levels felt not as well tested as they should have been, the meat circus in particular. I also wasn't really satisfied with the games ending. It took forever to finish the final level, and the game lacked the emotional impact I would have like from the end. Despite these flaws, this game still stands up to me as one of the bastions of story telling in games. Few games I've played before or since have had the high quality dialog and great characters Psychonauts delivered and that's why it will forever be one of my favorite games.