Reading, England. A town that’s big enough to be a city, but somehow is not. It was where Gunpoint entered my life. Of all the hard drives in the world, it had to be installed on mine.
The idea from developer Tom Francis was remarkably simple: give a PI the kit to scale walls and jump incredible distances with “bullfrog trousers”. Let them tinker with electronics to confuse security guards while infiltrating various key facilities. Items are unlocked as you progress and you’re free to tackle each mission as you please, but your performance is ranked. So rather than just solving problems with your fists, the game encourages you to vanish without a trace.
But what sold it for me was the noir writing, the disgruntled detective framed for a crime he never committed. Conway’s tale is a more modern one than classic noir, but it follows the same tropes that those more familiar with that writing style would appreciate. Sure, it isn’t as fleshed-out compared to the master of noir fiction that is Raymond Chandler, but it fit the story well and gave me the crime caper I was looking for at the time.
And even after the credits rolled, Gunpoint pulled off its most fascinating feat. It has a choose-your-own-epilogue that will automatically post your answers into a dedicated blog that’s unique to you. It’s an idea I wish was explored further in other games. Imagine if Divinity: Original Sin had a post-act summary that you can upload and share with your friends to prove that yes, you did kill the bad monster with a sly smile and a dagger to the heart. An online journal of all your exploits is a nice way to reminisce about your feats, as you’re sipping a bourbon on the rocks.
Disclosure: Tom Francis writes for us sometimes and he is friends with lots of games journos, having once been one of us dirtballs himself.