Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Don't Get Me Wrong, I Love Increpare

... but sometimes I'm really just disturbed and at a loss as to what to say about his stuff -- "The Terrible Whiteness of Appalachian Nights" starts out promising.

The novel use of ASCII characters in this way (I especially like the "counter" and "TV") is cool, and the distortion effects are pretty nifty and sell a really cohesive, unsettling aesthetic. There's a "day" and a "time" counter but none of it seems particularly important. Your choices don't seem to make any difference. Player agency is incredibly vague, if it exists at all. Par for Increpare.

But then comes the last part which seems shocking and weird for the sake of being shocking and weird. It seems to undermine this incredibly interesting world / narrative he's built up, as if it's from an entirely separate game. The art style is different, the controls are mouse-driven instead of keyboard-driven, the mechanic is openly vulgar instead of subtly vulgar -- I mean, yes, maybe this jarring difference is meant to mirror the real-life phenomenon of night terrors, but I can't help but wonder if he could've done more than that. It seems more like a "one note" kind of thing and less of an exploration of an idea.