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Archive for August 2011

Waiting for breakfast

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[Spoiler warning: this article discusses significant parts of Anachronox’s story, including big reveals, so it’s really only intended for people who have played and finished the game, or people who don’t intend to. If you do plan to play it one day, here’s the spoiler-free version: Anachronox is excellent. You can still read about halfway down before getting spoiled, and there are some more warnings before they arrive.]

In a way it’s a bit hard to reconcile a love of Deus Ex with a love of Anachronox. Despite being made by the same company, albeit different studios in different cities, they’re very different. Deus Ex is one of those wonderful immersive sim things that values player freedom and expression while Anachronox is a console-style RPG with the linearity and low interactivity that usually implies. The design philosophies behind Deus Ex are what I think video games should be all about, while Anachronox is something else.

And yet. Tom Hall’s Anachronox is something very special. This game haunts me. Ten years after its release I still think constantly about its story, setting, characters. It’s a story about a timeless struggle between advanced civilisations, about strange planets and stranger inhabitants, about a space adventure and personal struggles, about comradeship and loss and redemption. It’s a game with eccentric men and dangerous women, with a self-aware robot and a shrunken planet, with an alcoholic superhero and a reincarnated secretary. It’s hard to describe and at the same time simple: it’s brilliant.

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Written by John Pike

10 August 2011 at 5:18 am

Posted in Games, Uncategorized, Writing

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