Proteus is a beautiful new award-winning indie game which just went on sale, and it combines immersive first-person 3D with old school graphics with world exploration, where the game's soundtrack changes based on the environment -- or as the developers perfectly pitch it, "Think Doom meets Brian Eno." Here's the trailer:
I say "game", but because it's an open-ended world, the developers are not even sure it should be called a game, and in fact, dub it an anti-game. One of them, Ed Key, has some poignant points to make on this subject which NWN readers will probably relate to:
"Game definitions have always been quite vague in terms of current usage," he says. "If you think of things like, for example, Snakes and Ladders - there's no decision making in that at all. There's a goal, but it's clearly luck-based. In the strictest sense, you can't call that a game." And yet Snakes and Ladders is very much known as a classic board game. Says Key, "As soon as you get down to specifics, you can start saying 'Oh it's not this kind of game,' or that it doesn't fulfil certain game theory criteria."
In other words, I bet a lot of Second Lifers will enjoy playing the game Proteus, then debating whether Proteus is more of a game than Second Life is a game. Or less of one. Or whether it matters much either way.
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