Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Pip made me play Sun Dogs for an episode of the podcast (may she Rest In PCG) and I am very grateful. It’s a short jaunt around the solar system as a post-human with nothing to lose but your memories and some piffling items of no real significance. Isn’t being a post-human great?It’s interactive fiction, more than anything else, and it fuels your curiosity with simple and small nuggets of text – finely-written descriptions of a space station’s deconstruction crew, or the traffic gridlocked in orbit, or the last pre-humans living on a flooded earth, unaffected by your godlike technology and living in “primitive” island villages.
There’s a bit of gameiness in the form of an inventory. You get suit upgrades and other objects that come in handy. Infra-red vision can spy a hidden object, or tough carapace armour might protect you from an unseen danger. But these upgrades are all to service those small vignettes of text as you travel from world to world. Rarely is science fiction dealt with so delicately in our industry, without big guns or alien monsters or angry shouting. Sun Dogs is a game of interactive fiction that I hope the next Mass Effect clone takes a lesson from.