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Have You Played... Psychonauts?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Tim Schafer’s last great game? Oooh, there’s a statement. Whichever way you fall on that, it’d be hard to argue that Psychonauts [official site] weren’t a wondrous thing.

Boy did this game get a hard time. Published by THQ, they provided a big marketing campaign for a release date they then chose not to use, the game finally coming out months later with no advertising at all. So confused was everyone that this became the only game PC Gamer ever reviewed as a new release twice. I know – I wrote both of them.

And wow, did it ever deserve better treatment. A cross between a platform game and third-person action-adventure, with the soul of an adventure game underneath it, this is a glorious experience. You play Raz, a kid with a natural gift for the unnatural, who sneaks his way into a summer camp for psychically gifted children. As well as the enormous and wonderful camp hub, levels were set in the brains of various adults (and fish) on site, each a different style of play and art, representative of the psyche of the individual. It is at times hilarious, heartbreaking, poignant and daft, with so much going on, so many surprises and treats. Few games come close to being as packed with heart as this.

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Who am I?

John Walker


Once one of the original co-founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, they killed me out of jealousy. I now run

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