Take: Heed

By John Walker on July 16th, 2009 at 12:57 am.

Depends whose fly.

I have been enjoying Ben Chandler’s indie adventures so far. Shifter’s Box was a smart collection of puzzles with a neat dimension-shifting mechanic, while Annie Android offered a cute mini-story to play through. His latest, Heed, is by far the more peculiar, and certainly the most interesting.

Minimalist, and certainly not designed to create a challenging time, it’s about being told a story. A strange, perhaps even unfollowable story, as your character pursues a meaning for existence. At first, as the unestablished, almost anonymous guy sought a purpose, I wondered if it was an exploration of his not having existed before the moment I began playing the game. But as the short game enters its second half, and the aims change, it becomes much more esoterically unidentifiable.

If Heed is a game about understanding one’s own purpose, then it seems to have lofty ideals about how that might be realised. Perhaps it’s more about the core theme, the passing of the torch of responsibility from one generation to another, charged with educating and supporting before passing the torch yourself? Or perhaps it’s about solving some simple puzzles and enjoying the words from the ghosts.

Either way, it’s a pleasure to have been asked to think about it. Also worthy of special note, accompanying Chandler’s distinctive, gorgeous pixel art, is the music. Based on tunes from the late 19th and early 20th century, it is the work of Sebastian Pfaller, and is quite splendid.

Have a look for yourself – it’s available from the usual AGS place, and free.

Cheers, IndieGames.com

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16 Comments »

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  1. Paul Barnett says:

    Why are you not at Develop hanging out with the rest of us? I assume your excuse is golden. KG has been holding court, AM seems to be off on a date, MK ran away to london (the coward) and JR is too cool to be here. We miss the walker and his style, oh JW where art thou.. should I count the ways I miss thee?

  2. Stupoider says:

    Paul’s serenade brought a tear to my eye.

    I’m finding AGS really interesting, and I’m loving how it’s free. I guess I’ve got some sort of dream of making an adventure game using it, even if I only found out about it yesterday.

  3. Quasar says:

    This is more thought-provoking than it is ‘fun’- while clearly still a game. The slight role-reversal towards the end was unexpected and enjoyable, even though your charge did seem slightly on the thick side, and I confess to getting a little upset at the final scene.

    I’m clearly going to be working this game out in my head for quite a while.

  4. Ben Abraham says:

    Haha, nice Alt Text gag.

  5. Ronnie76er says:

    Is the title of the article a reference to the last lyric in the Lunar: The Silver Star Story main theme?

  6. ZeeKat says:

    Hurrah, loved teh Shifter’s Box.

  7. FunkyB says:

    @John:
    This is a *really* minor point, but can you use the ‘Title’ attribute rather than the ‘Alt’ attribute to display popup text please? Firefox won’t pop up alts because of the specs, apparently.
    http://www.mozilla.org/docs/web-developer/faq.html#alttooltip

  8. Dan says:

    Work fine in firefox over here with alt.

  9. FunkyB says:

    3.5? There are extensions that will make it popup alt texts, but as their own FAQ states (see my previous post) the core browser does not and will not.

    Personally I think they are being a bit of an arse about it, but I guess they are just trying to make us all use the right attributes for the sake of the visually impaired / lynx users.

  10. Pemptus says:

    Man. I wish I was smart enough to fully understand this game.

    The music is absolutely splendid and fits in really well though.

  11. Alikchi says:

    “Take: Heed”? Really? I expect better. Well, better-ish.

    Good writing and good game, though.

  12. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Interesting.

  13. Mike says:

    I was thinking the other day how, when P&C was bigger commercially, so many games, each game genuinely seemed to develop the genre. Sam and Max introduced buddy-as-object, DoTT obviously had the three-tier magic, Grim Fandango worked with 3D and a new control system, Full Throttle added action mechanics.

    And then it just died. Barely stagnating at all creatively, which I think is why AGS continues to throw up pure gaming gold. There’s a wealth of completely untried ideas out there, and no big business to compete with. Looking forward to trying this at t’weekend.

  14. Ben Chandler says:

    Thank you, once more, for the article :)

    I really enjoy reading the comments of everyone who has played – thank you for sharing your thoughts and for giving the game a try :)

  15. Dan Lawrence says:

    @FunkyB They’ve stated in the past that alt text is easy to enter on the WordPress entry wizard thingy whilst a title attribute is not and if it was any effort they wouldn’t leave these little easter eggs. They are also not technically minded enough to hack wordpress to bits. I suggest grabbing one of the extensions if you need the hidden goodness.

  16. Dan says:

    @FunkyB
    You’re right, I’m a bit sleepy today and forgot that I’m using IE on this ridiculously locked down work computer.