As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I recently bought Shadow of The Colossus
(SoTC). At the time I was up to the third Colossi, and I greatly enjoy the game. Now, I’m almost done with the game, and I have mix feelings about it. Mixed because of the repetition the game offers. Mixed because I think this game would have been better as a short game.
In films and literature we have short, more condense versions of said mediums: short films, short stories, short novels, etc. One of my favorite writers that explored the art of the short story is Franz Kafka. When you read any of his short stories, or unfinished novels, you notice that he spares no words - everything has a meaning. Now, can games do the same? A couple of weeks ago a Dtoid user by the name of bbain wrote a blog entitled 5 Freeware Indie Games You Should Play: Batch #6
. In this blog he recommend a game called Digital: A Love A Story
(DALS). If you click on the link I so kindly supplied you with, you would find comments from an excited Venus. I fell completely in love with this game, and couldn’t control myself – bbain helped me find one of my favorite games ever. Digital: A Love Story
works because it’s ambiguous. It works because of its minimalism. It works because it’s short. SoTC is very similar to DALS in the sense that it’s trying to convey a message and story without directly explaining it to its players. In other words, they’re not insulting the intelligence of the gamer – you have to fill in the blanks. DALS accomplished its mission in a span of four hours.
DALS is a text based game. Yes, a text game, I never played a text based game before, but when I read the description of the game by bbain, I had to give it a try. I will now present you with the lovely description bbain wrote:
Digital: A Love Story is a very intriguing, immersive and emotional experience. It's a text-based game which places you back into the Bulletin Board Systems of the late '80s. The game is presented as a computer desktop, namely the Amie Workbench, which you navigate much like your own desktop. You can open messages, download programs to the desktop, dial numbers, and reply to messages on the BBSs. There is also a music player which comes along with your desktop, which will play different songs depending on your progress in the game. The music is quite nice. Digital does an excellent job of pulling you into the world of the game. Once you start reading the various messages and getting to know the characters, you won't want to stop playing until you've beaten the game. You learn about the characters solely through their messages and replies. You are unable to read your own sent messages, although you can usually infer what you said based on the replies that you get. It might have been nice to be able to read your sent messages, as I would've liked to know what I could have said that warranted a "FUCK YOU!" from one of the characters, but I guess you can just be creative and decide what you would have said yourself. The game also has a strange way of inducing paranoia in the player. I don't really want to spoil the game or the story for anyone though, so I won't say anything more about it. If you're unsure about whether or not to play this game, I say at least give it a try. I'm not really a fan of text-based games myself, but this one was a very interesting and rather emotional experience for me.
bbain describes the game as an “emotional experience” and I can vouch for this, but I would actually go further. I would say that this game is one of the best written games I’ve ever played. It’s a game I would even compare to Destructoid.
As a member of this great site, I have experience friendship with avatars. I’ve had discussions with faceless people. I’ve experience debate and commonality with people from around the world. DALS is many ways like Destructoid. In the game you have conversations with people named “RobFugitive” or “tiberius.” You experience users who use “fuck” in every other sentence, or lazily write a response back to you. As I was playing, or should I say reading, I got a sense that this was me: refreshing the page, getting PM’s, debating with people, commenting on blogs, having assholes post shit, getting e-mails. DALS represents our internet life. It represents how we interact with each other. DALS is Destructoid.
In one of many replies to me, bbain said, To me, it's kind of like an emulation of the way we communicate on sites like Destructoid, although in the game you only had someone's screenname to go off of rather than avatars and bios. You can create such a strong connection with people you've never even met and have no idea what they look like.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. This game is scary in how accurate it is. We, as a community, have fights, debates, or even insult each other, but playing this game showed me a connection I have with the words of other Dtoid users; words that sometimes are meaningless when I interact with people out in the world.
Like I said before, this game is short, but that isn’t a bad thing – a game like this can only be made short. I wrote three paragraphs explaining the story and characters, but decided to not include it. The whole point of the game is the words, and if I ruin the words for you, then there is no point in playing. Please, go over bbains blog and follow the link to download this little gem for FREE.