Have You Played… Gravity Bone?

gravity-bone

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

Super-cool micro-Hitman, getting on for a decade old but feeling as fresh as ever.

My memories of Gravity Bone [official site] turned out to have been a little scrubbed by those of its successor, the more stylish, showy and cut-up Thirty Flights Of Living. I’d forgotten that, unlike 30 Flights, Bone is a fairly involved affair – jumping puzzles and death-traps and target-hunting. It’s all very active – you are the agent, not a mere witness to events.

If 30 Flights is Bond presented as a lucid dream of the emotional high points, Gravity Bone is Bond-as-trailer. Almost every moment is derring-do with none of the downtime in between (save for when you fall to your death and have to reload). It’s all the context that is excised from 30 Flights, but with a view to cool rather than anything emotive.

The two games make perfect partners, in other words. I replayed Gravity Bone today and, bar some widescreen support issues, was delighted to discover that it feels as outta-nowhere strong as it did at the time. What if action games were not these long trudges through repeat actions and elongated storytelling, but instead a short, sharp burst of everything that’s most thrilling about ’em? No heels dragged, no excess baggage: this and this and this and hell, yeah.

10 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    Gravity Bone is a game I play about once a year, just to bask in it.

    On that point, if anybody has any protips for getting it to run on Windows 10, let me know – the game has always had issues with crashing if you mess with its settings too much, but now it crashes the moment you approach the first suitcase, and I haven’t been able to find any way around it.

    • Alec Meer says:

      It just ran without issue for me on Win 10 x64. Had to do some ini hacking to get my desired resolution, but no crashes.

  2. Aim Here says:

    Brendan Chung is one of the best storytellers in gaming – here, chopping out all but the bare minimum needed to tell the story and then chopping out a few chunks more, for good measure.

    I’m partial to the weapons gag in Gravity Bone. It’s normal quake weaponry applied to a few utensils (each weapon is attached to a number key), but they’re attached to numbers 1, 2 and 4 – just as there’s missing narrative dollops, the lack of weapon number 3 signals that some parts of the gameplay are intentionally left blank too!

  3. Urthman says:

    Brendon Chung knows that the feeling of “wow, there’s so much more to this game that I haven’t seen yet” is always better than the feeling of actually seeing everything. No matter how big a game is, once you feel like you’ve seen everything, it feels like a finite box of those things (which is what it is, of course) instead of a world.

    • poliovaccine says:

      That’s a good way to put it. I tend to use the phrase “like a beaten videogame” to describe when something feels hollow, finite, and without purpose. The town I grew up in, for example. Any game which can avoid that sense of being “finished” tends to become a longstanding favorite of mine – Morrowind, Skyrim, New Vegas. The content doesnt have to be procedurally-infinite, it just has to outlast my own attention span, and then suddenly the world feels infinite (active mod communities do help too, fwiw).

  4. Simbosan says:

    I enjoy Gravity Bone every morning

  5. April March says:

    An excellent game. Better than 30FoL if you ask me. It has a few annoying things, like bloody first-person jumping puzzles, but it’s much more in tune with itself. Compared to it, I feel 30FoL has too much spectacle.

  6. Glacious says:

    I played Gravity Bone just earlier this year actually. I was amazed by the large array of graphics options for such a simple looking game. In the end I spent more time seeing what all the settings did (and crashing the game a lot in the process) than actually playing, although I did race through the jumping part without falling once somehow. It was fun!

  7. noom says:

    I think I played Gravity Bone, but it didn’t really stick in my mind if I did. I definitely played 30FoL though, and I’m afraid I feel compelled to be That Guy and say that I absolutely do not understand why everyone loves it so much…

  8. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    It’s really neat. I wish more games experimented with interactive montage in the way that Brendan Chung does.