By Alec Meer on September 1st, 2009 at 11:41 pm.
From one-button action games to one-button mind games. Ergon/Logos is a surrealist text adventure in which you dictate your character’s fate by clicking on sentence fragments as the on-screen words shuffle rapidly across the screen. Each click leads you down a different path, one you’ll rarely be able to predict because it all happens so quickly. Read faster! Click faster! Otherwise you’ll find yourself lost to despair….
Italian dev Paolo Pedercini describes this submission to the Experimental Gameplay Project’s Bare Minimum competition as an ‘unidentified game object’, which sounds about right. It was made in just eight days, but seems far slicker and more confident than such a thin sliver of development time would suggest.
Some will think the theme of maudlin philosophising about existence and faith to be Ergon’s strength, and other its weakness. A bit of both for me. While I appreciate some of the bon mots, and the vigour with which they’re presented, I can certainly imagine a Dragon’s Lairesque adventure in which you click on looming words based on gut instinct and educated guessing would be more, well, fun. Like Canabalt, this is a game in which forward momentum happens regardless of your input, and the idea of a text-based dungeon crawl that requires seat-of-the-pants reading is an appealing one.
Nonetheless, it is a highly stylish affair, most especially in its multiple conclusions, and stoic proof that artful typography can be as evocative as flashy-pants graphics when done right.
Oh, and speaking of Canabalt, there’s a high-resolution version of it (for monitors with a width of at least 1440 pixels) here, which I found really ups the adrenaline rush of the thing.