Play With Yourself At The Whoopservatory

By Craig Pearson on March 7th, 2012 at 4:15 pm.

Needless to say I was disinclined to acquiesce to his request
I’ll admit, I only downloaded Whoopservatory because of the silly name. I couldn’t resist. But I’m entirely happy I did, as it’s an excellent way to spend the 20-ish minutes it takes to explore the abandoned laboratory of Dr Magnusson, Half-Life 2 Ep2′s grumpy counter-part to Dr Kleiner. Magnusson has made, ooh, bad things happen at an isolated observatory and Freeman has been sent to show them Crime (left fist) and Punishment (right fist). Fittingly, for someone so inept at human interaction as Magnusson, the central twist of this map is that it’s co-operative, but with yourself.

Hence “Play With Yourself” you mucky minded sods. The Half-Life 2 wrapper here makes it easy enough to get into. Freeman shows up in his trademark jeep but without his trademark GG: only room for one gimmick in this short mod. After searching the house from the basement up, fighting off a couple of zombies, you’re let into a room to play with a new toy.

The co-op works by recording your movements and playing them back, albeit as a glowing electrical ball and not as Freeman, in a seven second loop. The ball powers electrical equipment for you to use to escape the haunted feeling house. This is how it works.

Science!

There’s naught but a couple of puzzles here, working how the ball can affect a couple of locked door scenarios, as well as a few neat moments of shooting, but it’s the sort of short diversion you’ll be glad you played. Install it for the next time you have exactly 20 minutes to kill and realise there’s a scope for this sort of thing. I do wish more games could fit a short, twisty, story-led blast into 20 minute chunks.

As it happens, RPS chatted to the designer Magnar Jennsen as part of the Level With Me Series, so if you have more than 20 minutes you might want to see what he has to say about the making of this and his other works.

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23 Comments »

  1. MuscleHorse says:

    I’ve actually had this on my Steam list for over a year but somehow have never gotten around to it. One of these days I’m sure.

  2. Sentient Waffle says:

    Thought the DR M stood for DRM and not Dr. Magnusson at first :P

    • Syra says:

      I wonder if that was the joke?

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    • kavika says:

      Yes, yes it was.

  3. UsF says:

    I’m not gonna play a game that has this restrictive DRM.

  4. nimzy says:

    I grinned at the screenshot. Considering just over 75 mA of electricity is enough to stop your heart, and over 200 mA is enough to burn you and cause your muscles to automatically contract, I can’t imagine what 900 mA would do. Good thing Gordon’s wearing that suit.

    • buzzmong says:

      Current is nothing without Voltage though, just as Voltage is not really anything without current.

      Neither work well with currants though.

    • Syra says:

      Watt are you talking about?

    • Premium User Badge hexapodium says:

      Joule be sorry that you’ve kicked off another pun thread.

    • puppybeard says:

      Pun chain? I’m detecting some resistance.

    • Premium User Badge Llewyn says:

      Ohm my God, you lot have had amp-le opportunity for puns in every other article. Watt do you need to bring them in here for?

      Although, given buzzmong’s comment, I might just have to accept that it’s RPS’ raisin d’etre.

  5. equatorian says:

    And here I thought the game was going to be a cutting, heartwarming social commentary on the nature of DRM and 4:3 monitors. Damn.

  6. lgs says:

    Speaking of Half-Life 2 mods with a twist, i would highly recommend Research and Development.

    • Urthman says:

      Research & Development is just barely below Portal 2 (which is just below Portal) on my list of clever and funny first-person puzzle games. It’s one of my favorite games, full stop.

  7. dsch says:

    Sounds a bit like that one world in Braid.

  8. pixelprime says:

    I agree with the author’s comment regarding the crisp timeframe of this story. I often find myself struggling to get immersed in games that have stories panning out for hours upon end – such as those offered in Skyrim, Mass Effect and Fallout.

    I don’t doubt those games have incredible storlines (as many reviews often tout them to), but I enjoy games where completion can be made with perhaps as little as a few hours at the most. I suppose a recent example would be Dear Esther – a game I’ve played through a couple of times now.

    I like the satisfaction of completing a game, but having to invest more than 10-15 hours into a title leaves me feeling burned out. That’s why things like this excite me – short and succinct stories, easily playable during a lunch break, and long enough to tell a good tale.

    I, too, hope for more of this type of experience to take its place amongst the big shooters of our generation.

  9. Matt says:

    All of Magnar Jenssen’s Half-Life 2 maps are ace. Still hoping for the third installment of Mission Improbable…