Well, that was really cool!

#1 Posted by AssInAss (2549 posts) -

Thirty Flights of Loving was pretty cool. 15 minutes long, cool storytelling for a short game. Played it a few times to get all the details. A review described it as "Dear Esther with car crashes", and while funny I found it a good approximation. Been a good year for story-focused games :)

Dev commentary was enlightening, like why writers use amnesia as a crutch.

Is this the first game to use jump cuts?

I don't care about the price value proposition or whether this can be considered a video game since that discussion has been done to death.

#2 Posted by AssInAss (2549 posts) -

Here's a good article mentioning it: Dear Videogames, Stop Telling Me Everything (RPS)

When I beat the absolutely wonderful Thirty Flights Of Loving over the weekend, I had precisely one immediate reaction: “Wait, what just happened?” [...] Without spoiling anything (note: that’ll happen a little bit after the break), you’re along for the ride – and that’s it. In a couple bits, it doesn’t even matter where you walk. The game will just jump-cut you to your intended location. So why is it one of my absolute favorite games – and yes, I one hundred percent believe it’s a game – of the year? Because it made me think about what happened. No, scratch that. It required me to think.
This is, however, an example other games could stand to crib a note or two from – conceptually, if not literally. Most videogame stories feel the need to Spell. Out. Every. Last. Detail. The industry’s mass market now, after all. Wouldn’t want the unwashed masses turning their puny peanut brains into pretzels with some kind of ignorance-powered alchemy. But Thirty Flights Of Loving really isn’t that complex. It’s just detail-rich and open to interpretation.
This is the same reason that movies like Inception have resonated with such gigantic audiences. I mean, Inception was a smart film, but it wasn’t that smart. It was, however, positively brilliant at inviting the audience to take an active role in its consumption of the plot – right up to that oh-so-iconic ending. And that, in turn, made viewers feel like goddamn geniuses. Now, the gaming industry’s afraid of adding subtle curves to the yarns it spins for fear of alienating the lowest common denominator. But here’s a secret: everyone in the entire world likes feeling smart. Conversely, no one enjoys being treated like they’re stupid. And most people have a pretty good sense of when they’re being talked down to. You fucking lackwit.
It goes further than that, though. The other benefit of leaving stories just open enough is a certain sense of mystique and possibility. I don’t know everything about the world, and that’s the point. My brain fills in the gaps of what it perceives as this giant, fully fleshed out place – even when, in Thirty Flights Of Loving’s case, the developers only really constructed a handful of rooms. Here’s what I did immediately following the first time the credits, er… well, they exactly roll. Let’s just say that. Anyway, I didn’t miss a beat. The whirlwind tale of love, loss, espionage, and box people ended, and I jumped right back in for a second go-round. Why? Because there were a hundred details both big and small that I wasn’t entirely clear on, but I was right on the verge of knowing. Or at least, that’s how it felt. Thirty Flights Of Loving had given me this tiny slice of its universe, but there’s so much meat on those seemingly emaciated bones. So much to explore and dig into and understand and speculate about and obsess over. So then I played it a third time, and I picked apart each environment to really soak up what Blendo Games had created. And then I went through with developer’s commentary enabled.
[...]
I think there’s also plenty of room for games that strike a better balance between straightforward and open-to-interpretation. And I think it’s even possible for the industry’s oft-sought “wider audiences” to really connect with stories that pull it off.
#3 Edited by biggiedubs (493 posts) -

@AssInAss: At some point in the next few days I'm going to blog it up with some kind of analysis of it, as I only just played it today, but I did really like it.

I think this is the point in our gaming history where we'll look back and go, 'here's where we really started to learn our craft,' with stuff like this, Spec Ops and the other things you linked to. It was a short, kind of simple story, told with some incredible smart and sometimes downright innovative storytelling techniques. Whether they'll go unnoticed by the large majority of players it yet to be seen however. Whilst doing a bit of research for my analysis, I watched a couple of playthroughs on youtube, in both of which the players goofed off and missed a lot of details that would have filled in the plot. Maybe that's for the second playthrough though, I don't know.

What did you think of the stuff with Daniel Bernoulli, by the way?

#4 Edited by AssInAss (2549 posts) -

@biggiedubs said:

What did you think of the stuff with Daniel Bernoulli, by the way?

At first, it felt a bit non-sequitir and a Portal-like science joke ("This is David Bernoulli...and this is his principle"). But then I realised I was in a museum, the game was dealing with the theme of flight through the flights of stairs or the birds or the planes, and it was appropriate.

What I'm more interested in, what period are we in? 60s? 70s? It's Argentina. Was it a prohibition era at that time?

Why does Anita have a robot leg when everything goes sour? And I noticed that it's a different lady in bed during the gunfight sequence when you follow the bullet cam from Borges' gun. Oh right, she's from Gravity Bone! So she might have set us up again, and that's why the operation went sour with everyone dying? Oh right, no wonder Anita is pointing a gun at us, because we had previous connections with the Assassin Leady in Gravity Bone.

#5 Posted by SpudBug (633 posts) -

It was pretty cool for a way to tell a story through very simple graphics, sound, and in a short amount of time.

I'm not sure why I was walking through a museum telling me about Bernoulli's principle though.

#6 Posted by AssInAss (2549 posts) -

@SpudBug said:

It was pretty cool for a way to tell a story through very simple graphics, sound, and in a short amount of time.

I'm not sure why I was walking through a museum telling me about Bernoulli's principle though.

My speculation is you're playing as not Citizen Abel at that point, but as someone else in the future checking out the exploits of Abel's crime caper exploits presented in a museum like Butch Cassidy or Jesse James.

#7 Posted by biggiedubs (493 posts) -

@AssInAss said:

@SpudBug said:

It was pretty cool for a way to tell a story through very simple graphics, sound, and in a short amount of time.

I'm not sure why I was walking through a museum telling me about Bernoulli's principle though.

My speculation is you're playing as not Citizen Abel at that point, but as someone else in the future checking out the exploits of Abel's crime caper exploits presented in a museum like Butch Cassidy or Jesse James.

I think that stuff has to do with the whole 'theory of flight stuff', but I also kind of read into it as there justification as to why they made the game like that. As in:

The right shaped wings: The game world: graphics / level design / lighting
The right shaped pressure: The pace of the game and the way it flash forwards / backwards
The right angle: The story itself, and the way they allude it to being a spy style story.

Who knows though, they could have just thought it was a cool idea that fitted well with the museum. I've no idea who you play as in the end, and get the feeling that idea never came up. Don't see why it can't be Citizen Abel though, as it doesn't necessarily have to be 'physical world' kind of thing.

@AssInAss: I totally didn't see it was

The girl from Gravity Bone in the bed. The plot thickens! I first thought this was actually a prequel to Gravity Bone, as the girl was there and you didn't fucking murder her for pushing you off a building. So it's either a sequel to it, and Citizen Abel just straight up misses her or it's a 'parallel universe' type deal where neither of the events happen in the same time-line or something.

It terms of the time period, I don't see why it can't be modern day in their own world, because there's nothing saying it has to be on our Earth. If you look at the Airport departures board, none of those places we're real-life locations. I also don't think it matters particularly much, just that wherever they are is well-realised enough to be realistic by their terms. Why I think it does quite well.

#8 Posted by AssInAss (2549 posts) -

Interesting, never thought about those flight principles as a metaphor rather than just symbolism. Cool stuff!

#9 Posted by Ouren (135 posts) -

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