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10/21/2005

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rastabob

" featured David Bowie's wife as a playable character. "
Gosh you've never played the game have you...

mernst

I don't know if you think this game has a Good Story or just that it's good compared to other games'. Compared to a what I would consider a good story in a movie, this story is rubbish. I really can't see why people think this is a good game. I think this game would have benefited from an episodic release. Then every episode could have it's own central theme that that particular episode could have been focused on. Now i find the story kind of loosely connected and "ad hoc". It would also help alleviate the feeling of the game being too long. As it is, i'm really frickin' tired of mashing buttons by the end of it.

And that's another reason i don't find the game very appealing, the button mashing gameplay. I think it's an interesting idea to force the player to do something physical when the character has to, but i also think there's a reason that not many games have featured mindless controller torture since the 80's. The Simon part of the action sequences is a bit more bearable and luckily for me, more frequent, but i find i'm fed up with that as well before the game ends. Also, the veeeeery much too long things-fying-at-you-in-the-apartment sequence didn't help. It's extremely annoying to have to do any of these bits again if you fail, so that becomes my main goal when playing, to not get irritated. Admittedly, most of these sequences are well balanced so you don't have to play them again, but the ones that are not really ruins it.

It fantastic that they try to do something different, we need that. But apparently, different isn't always good.

beelerspace

Great post. I enjoyed Indigo Prophecy as much as you are.

But I really feel like the designers want us to examine the game in terms of plot and story. That's all fine and good, and it works just fantastic as a video game. But as a plot, if it were written as a book or movie, it would blow chunks. Like you said, the characters are one-dimensional and stereotypical.

I don't want to go too much into it for fear of giving it away, but let's just say that Indigo heavily borrows from some more popular films.

In a way, I see Indigo Prophecy as a kind of video game "thesis;" it's not quite as unique as a dissertation, they're just borrowing and applying a new methodology. Indigo Prophecy both an indictment for storytelling and an inspiration. The story, when considered apart from its video games, is poor. But that it is fun and interesting as a video game shows just how powerful interactive storytelling is. There's a big potential that Indigo opens but never steps through.

I'd really like to see what happens when video game designers stop writing games and let writers do their jobs.

ScottJonSiegel

I agree with beelerspace here. Indigo Prophecy had a lot of interesting ideas for merging narrative with interactivity, but most definitely suffered from archetypal characters, an over-the-top storyline, and, often, awkward dialogue. Relative to video games, there's a lot of creative juice flowing through Indigo Prophecy, but the dialogue is pretty painful at times, particularly when it gets self-referential. Bonnie Ruberg over at Heroine Sheik had some interesting things to say about the referencing of video games in Indigo, and I for the most part agree with her sentiments: http://www.heroine-sheik.com/2005/10/14/the-first-of-fightclub-discomfort-self-reference-and-gaming-as-camp/

ClockworkGrue

I agree that the story in Indigo Prophecy isn't the greatest story ever told, but I'd be willing to give it "good-for-a-videogame," which is all we're likely to get unless one of two things happens: game companies start hiring proven professional writers who have learned how to adapt their talents to videogame writing's unique challenges, or a game designer simultaneously builds a reputation as a published author, screenwriter or playwright.

I've found that since I've started working in the game industry, I've gained a huge tolerance for flawed games that do something new and different. The thought that "I could do this better," positively enervates me now that it's not such a rhetorical statement any more. Regardless of what you might think of Indigo Prophecy's details, it does manage to tell a complex story with character development. That's why I still say, if you're interested in games-as-storytelling, you have to check this game out. If nothing else, view it as an idea mine to loot.

Tony

Is the game story competent enough to stand on its own as a book or a movie? No, of course not... but movies and books also do not have the same level of involvement. I think the same is true of Final Fantasy or whatever... there's really no way in Hell I'd read a book version of the stuff, but it works in the game world.

It works because everything surrounding it works. The title is able, unlike many other games, create a feeling of tension through its cinematic presentation and situations. It's well told for what it is and with the current climate in videogames, it's almost enough. From a pure standalone story standpoint there really aren't many games at all that will hold their weight. It's more the sum of its parts.

I didn't see it referencing games as a problem. In fact, I feel that the writer of that article was taking the references a bit too seriously from the sounds of it.

In any case, the game reminded me, at first, of old school adventure games on the PC, largely because there's not really any "action" segments to speak of. I don't know that anyone should count those extended QTE/Simon-style events as action heh.

Patrick Dugan

I wrote about Indigo Prophecy on my blog, relating it to Chris Crawford's new engine and interactive drama in general. Courtesy trackback included: http://kingludic.blogspot.com/2006/01/purplish-prophetic.html

nilcypher

I'm quite surprised at the feelings about this game, because I was massively disappointed with it. I have to give this game credit for trying something new, it's just a shame that so little of it worked.

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