Influential Games #1: Another World

This is the first in a series of comments I will be writing about games that changed my perception of what a good game is. Some of the games you may not know, some may not be on anybody else’s “best of” list, but they have changed me, and that’s why they are here.

Game #1: Another World (Amiga, DOS, Genesis, SNES)
I was asked in my job interview “what’s your favourite game of all times”, and I didn’t have to think long. Another World (aka “Out of this World”) will probably always be up there. I’ve played through the game seven times now, and I intend to do it again soon.

The game is old. The graphics are 320×200, 16 colors. But nevertheless, the artwork is timeless. The animations are smooth, and Eric Chahi has managed to do more with big areas of single colors than others could not do with millions of them. Other games look old after 2 years. This game still looks good to me – not photorealistic, but that’s not true about Kandinsky or Picasso either, is it?

What amazes the most though, is that the game is made by a single person, Eric Chahi. In a time when 50 people work on 2-year projects, that’s absolutely inconceivable. And yet, the game is rich in variety, every screen is different from the one before. The game tells a story too, and it scares you, it excites you and at times it makes you sad.

I always refer to this game when we have arguments over saving and difficulty. The game has save-points, so when you die, you start from the last save-point. At times, the game gets pretty difficult, and since you’re never sure whether you reached a new save-point yet (they are not visible), when you get a little further than last time, you’re excited and think “I might have made it. But I’m not sure, so let’s not die now… nooo!”. I love that.

The last thing about it: The cutscenes. There are small clips in the game every now and then, using the ingame engine. Again, these use very big unicolor surfaces to create great atmosphere. They are short, but make the game a lot more intense.

The game is technically brilliant, very compressed, ad fits on one 720 KB floppy. Try that with any game today…


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