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Videogames Killed The Video Star: Reset

RPS-reg Roburky has written an interesting if minor experimental game. It’s called Reset, and is available here. It’s inspired by and based around “Rest to Reset” by Trash80 (who you’ll know as the creator of the music for Darwinia). Roburky loves it so much he tried to turn its structure into a videogame – the best comparison is an alternate-dimension music video, with a game instead of film being used to illustrate and provide secondary-stimulation to the music. Its five megs, will take less than five minutes to play, and you can get it from here. Some thoughts beneath the cut…

It’s simple as hell. A space-ship takes off. You can only turn left or right. You speed across the galaxy, facing threats and trying to dodge them. Their intensity builds alongside the song, before a sudden fade into its quite poignant denouement. Perhaps its most memorable there, in that it leaves space to muse exactly what was going on and why someone had to go into space anyway.

Generally speaking, the best comparison is Everyday Shooter, in that it elevates basic material through tight attention to music. It’s less successful than Everyday Shooter in terms of mirroring the work, admitedly, but it comes at a different angle – rather than the straight abstract action of that, this is more of an illustrative work. The pop video comparison isn’t spurious, and it’s that angle I’d like to see someone expand on, working in more aspects which make their entrance alongside the auditory elements.

(Hell, if a band want to spend their marketing budget on something a bit more interesting than paying some film school oik to do a load of jelly-cuts or whatever, this would be worth pursuing.)

Its main failing is when it actually steps away from the visualising experience thing. While the collision damage on your ship’s well done, the few seconds you lose control after an unfortunate crash takes you out of the game – and away from the music. It’s the same failing as Audiosurf – in a game based around musical immersion, a hard jerk back to reality is painful. A softer approach to punishment which doesn’t separate you from the gameworld would be worth pursuing.

But conceptually fascinating, and certainly something I’d like to see developed further.

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Kieron Gillen

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Kieron Gillen is robo-crazy.

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