Monday, August 20, 2007

Space Giraffe incoming

this Wednesday Space Giraffe makes it's way to XBLA. A psychedelic take on Tempest and other retro shooters, it's got a weirdo visual style that i find very tempting. apparently it's got the gameplay chops to back up the trippy visuals, as can attest at the official launch blog.....

Space Giraffe is different. Very different and we should expect that to scare and baffle people that are unwilling to invest the time in discovering its beauty. One thing that is a struggle with SG is that it’s impossible to have a short game. You have to set aside at least an hour for a good single credit. The game balance is very generous in this favour. It coaxes the player, it gently introduces elements and style and then occasionally throbs in intensity of attack, and here’s the rub: when SG attacks, it attacks all the player’s senses. Feedback Monsters are a prime example of this, with behaviour so unique that they singly redefine what we thought capable in videogame weaponry.

Space Giraffe is different again, it purposefully overwhelms you. It is a new type of game and it will scare people. The bad players will die and run away crying, assaulting the game that hurt them so. The good players will learn to listen, to see, to feel, to ride the gameplay wave and they will excel at it. My nearest analogy is being in a fight. At first it all seems a bit pathetic and gentle, with lots of prancing about and a little bit of pushing. Then you get hit in the nose and all your senses start ringing, time slows, hearing filters, eyes stream unblinking and you fight back, somehow, all your senses are in tune and you disconnect into a state of mind where everything is moving in ways you can’t question and ways you perceive before happening.

What Space Giraffe does is very clever, it makes the player learn. It is not a game with difficulty settings. It is a game that reminds the human race that we are weak, fleshy and futile creatures that require the combined input of many abilities to progress. If you move without seeing, you will die. If you see without listening, you will die. If you listen without feeling, you will die. Learning to see, listen & feel the game a player is rewarded with a very beautiful and special experience that we haven’t experienced in videogames for a long time; the whole of Space Giraffe is more than the sum of its parts.

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