Would You Kindly Play Depict1?

By Alec Meer on December 2nd, 2011 at 4:58 pm.

Recycling saves trees, stop moaning

(And I just realised after writing this that someone called Kieron already posted about this last year. Raaaargh. Oh well, you should still play it now if you didn’t then. Old doesn’t mean dead. Plus it means I don’t have to take a new screenshot!)

Ooh, this is excellently devious. A Flash platform game from the developer of Snapshot that is… selective about the truth. I don’t want to spoil too much, but its cleverness lies in two key fields: 1) needing to figure out the controls and mechanics for yourself 2) a narrator who demands your attention and trust but doesn’t do much to earn it. And, despite his/her/its mendacity, it’s hard not to like them.

We praise BioShockian twists in videogames, but it’s remarkable how compelling a piece of game fiction can be if it declares its twist almost right away. Simple, smart, sadistic and a lovely wee treat of ingenuity. Go play Depict1 now. And work it out for yourself, for goodness’ sake.

Via HelloGames.

, , , .

27 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    I kindly did last time around and it was indeed good, definitely go play.

  2. Berzee says:

    Oh yeas, I remember this! It was from that time period where everyone with a computer thought it would be a hoot to make a Flash platformer with a SINISTER NARRATOR.

    (Which is fine — I appreciated the first two or three but then came the tidal wave =P I don’t remember where this one fell in the chronology).

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      I think a lot of those games (including this one) came from one of those Game Jam things where trust was the theme.

      But yeah it did get a bit wearing after a while.

  3. thaisweiller says:

    I´m a game design teacher and ever year I show depict to my students and highlight as much as I can how a antagonist tutor may add up to player experience. Because you know, I just love depict1.

    • JackShandy says:

      I was going to suggest that there are a lot better games to be showing to a class, but I’ve realized there’s hardly any other games that lie to you in a meaningful way. Deus Ex does it once, and the Hitch-hikers guide to the galaxy text-adventure. That’s pretty much it.

      If you’re looking for antagonist tutors, though, Give Up Robot 1 & 2 are much better games.

  4. Inimitable says:

    How long is it?

  5. Just Endless says:

    Just finished. 100% do not understand how I solved that last puzzle.

    SPOILERS

    Shooting him… unsyncs him? I really don’t know.

    • Woden says:

      SPOILERS YO, SPOILERS

      It unsyncs you, would be the better way to look at it, I think. Shooting midair makes you pause for a moment, during which he keeps going according to user input (I think).

    • JackShandy says:

      When you shoot a spike you hang a little in mid-air – he doesn’t. So, do it at the right time and he keeps going into the pit – then once he’s past the point of no return, you have to furiously backpedal to get out of the pit yourself. Of course, you have to keep one spike left before you get there, or you’re screwed.

      It’s a terrible puzzle and I don’t feel bad spoiling it.

    • droid says:

      If you had a more spikes the puzzle wouldn’t be as bad but as it is you have exactly enough and the first target is small, even smaller than apparent since if you hit it on the lower 70% you can’t make the jump.

      I don’t know how I got past the fools ending.

    • LCinn says:

      You don’t have to time your spike perfectly, I believe. Just being desynced allows you to walk your shadow into the pit. At least, that worked for me.

    • unless says:

      You don’t even have to be midair, shooting pauses you on the ground as well. I quite liked the puzzle, it was unlike what had come before but used well established mechanics.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aninhumer says:

      The puzzle was not built on pre-established mechanics, because although you know you stop when firing, you have no way of knowing the other one won’t. Especially since it limits you to two spikes, and thus it is entirely possible to reach that screen with no ability to fire and not even realise that that matters.

  6. SBF says:

    Sometimes I wish Portal had never happened.

    • Eukatheude says:

      Yup. Really, i don’t get what’s so special about this game. It’s got a lying narrator who is also the antagonist. I mean, how is it new or interesting? Or am i missing something?

    • MadTinkerer says:

      I 100% agree. Since this game is loosely a tribute to Bioshock’s take on lying/trust as opposed to Portal where GLaDOS never lied to you about how anything worked, only her intentions. So for some reason completely against all logic, I too wish Portal had not happened.

      Okay, wait, that doesn’t work so let’s try that “logic” thing: I wish Bioshock didn’t exist because then this game would not exist. Because… other people shouldn’t be allowed to play free flash games? Okay logic isn’t working here. How about “reasonable” thinking?

      rrhhh… hmmmmm… ggghhh… Nope. Sorry, disliking this free flash game because you don’t like some other completely unrelated game just doesn’t work.

  7. MrDanke says:

    omg spolierz ahead

    I hate how the narrator is supposed to be questionably trustful…Except every single thing he says is a lie, and it’s immediately obvious he’s lying. There’s no truth anywhere and you never question if you should trust him or not. If he says something’s dangerous, it’s not. If he says to collect something, it’ll kill you. Every time.

  8. Mattrex says:

    These guys are pikers. If you want a game that plays around with the idea of trust in game narration–a game that REALLY goes for the jugular and makes you uncomfortably suspicious that you are being deceived–play The Void.

    The Void, in addition to simply being a pretty unforgiving game of resource management, fucks around with the assumptions we carry about narration, story flow, and even the interaction of game mechanics with story in a breathtaking way that no other game has even come close to approaching. A shame the game itself is so esoteric and uninviting.

    • JackShandy says:

      Of course! That game’s fantastic, I’ve gotta finish it these holidays. I love how the tutorial lady goes “Now, don’t go off the rest of the game, don’t try to unlock the next levels. Stay with me, here, and we’ll be safe forever.” You’ve just been relying on this woman for tutorial information and she’s giving you bad advice, right from the start. That takes so much guts.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Hey.
      If we’re talking about deceit and ‘everything you knew is so damn wrong’ we’re gotta talk about Pathologic and System Shock 2. And Planescape: Torment.
      The former does worse than being hostile – it just doesn’t give a damn about you, everyone’s just as clueless as you are, and by when you realize you’ve been just wandering around aimlessly like a flea on a dead cow it pulls a fast one on you, as if saying “there, sheesh, you didn’t manage to realize that by yourself, didn’t you? Go play in the dirt again”.
      SS2… well. Being played like a fool? Check. Realizing late in the game you’ve just followed your arch-nemesis plan verbatim? Check. Be double AND triple-crossed after you’ve been used to doublecross apparent arch-enemy? Check. Damn, that game basically invented the “you’re a damn fool” plot.
      As for PS: T… well, I’m not gonna spoil anything, you have played that, you know what I mean by being your own pawn.

    • Mattrex says:

      While SS2 and PS:T are both excellent games, the deception in those games, such as it is, comes on the story level rather than the gameplay mechanics level. Neither of those games are deceptive in a gameplay sense–it’s Character A telling naughty fibs to Character B.

      Without giving too much away, The Void goes so far as to make you doubt whether the entire premise of the game as it’s presented (gathering color to unlock Sisters’ hearts) is leading you astray. You know how games will give you tutorials, right? You unlock a new ability, there’s a little popup or some such that shows you how to use it. Maybe you’ll get a little mini-quest to use the ability a couple times to make sure you’ve got it down. So the game’s gone through the difficulty of unlocking this ability and showing you how and where to use it, so you must have to use it somewhere, right? Ahh… maybe. And maybe not. Maybe doing what the game wants you to do is wrong.

      It’s not the kind of thing you could endure on a regular basis, but as an example of art and an unsettling, disturbing look at blindly accepting someone’s premises, The Void can’t be beat.

    • wererogue says:

      PS:T SPOILERS. PLEASE STOP READING.

      “Don’t trust the skull” messed me up so badly. Morte basically is your (obnoxious) game encyclopedia and your tutorial, your entire guide to the gameworld. And then you find out that your prior incarnation left you a message telling you not to trust him, which he omits to relate to you when he has the chance.

      You’ve already learned at this point that your prior incarnations are not only mostly awful, but may be out to get you, so who do you believe? Morte has acted faithfully the whole way so far, but he did lie to you… and the devs wouldn’t have your tutorial character betray you, right? Right?

  9. Shooop says:

    Since you asked nicely I did.

    And it was quite good.

  10. Inglourious Badger says:

    Thanks Alec, I completely missed this first time round so have just spen the last 30 mins enjoying it’s cheeky charms.

  11. vash47 says:

    Really good game. But like @MrDanke said there’s no reason to trust the guy apart from the first few moments.