It’s October and it’s Friday, which can only mean it’s time for Indie Horror Month to begin! This year we’re starting out with another mobile game or at least a game that I played on a mobile device. It’s also available on PC, but surprisingly the mobile version is the better experience.
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As I watch Geralt of Rivea get a haircut in The Witcher 3, I can’t help but think of the hype that surrounded his hair before the game came out. The graphics card manufacturer Nvidia made a big deal about their new “HairWorks” tech and how it gave long hair a more realistic look and bounce. As I walk out of the barbershop with a clean chin and short hair, I can’t help but think, “Well, so much for that.” AMD tried to create similar hype for their TressFX hair tech in Tomb Raider, and the result was hair that hovered a few inches over her shoulders and blew in her face with every minor twitch.
I stopped playing the The Witcher 3 a while ago, and every week I tell myself that I’ll get back to it. Yet, every week I put it off for other games or other forms of entertainment. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, and this post isn’t about the difficulty of going back to old games, but about why I still want to go back. This same thing happened to me with Dragon Age: Inquisition. I stopped playing just after the end of Act 1, but when I stopped, I didn’t tell myself I’d go back to it. I didn’t want to go back, and I still don’t.
I’m one of those people who is genuinely excited for virtual reality gaming, but then I get genuinely excited for any weird new control scheme in gaming, be it a Wiimote, touch screen, analog sticks, pressure sensitive buttons, or any of the other cool and debatably-useful-but-definitely-underutilized controller gimmicks we’ve seen in the past decade of gaming. I even liked 3D gaming, and I wrote a couple articles several years ago about the unique issues facing 3D games. After finally being able to play some VR games at PAX Prime this year, I think that it’s worth comparing and contrasting this new gimmick/hook with that latter gimmick/hook. 3D and VR make for interesting contrasts because they seem to have the exact opposite problem from one another when it comes to selling themselves to a wide audience.
I was never a very outdoorsy kid. I didn’t climb trees or jungle gyms. The one time that I tried to jump from the top of a tall slide, I landed in such a way that my knee hit my jaw, and I burst into tears. The one time that I tried to jump from a swing, my shirt got caught in the chain and tore as I leapt away. Yeah, I wasn’t a very outdoorsy kid.
I bring this up because it seems the most natural explanation for why I’m so fascinated by climbing in video games. I love climbing in games. It’s part of why I always enjoyed Prince of Persia as a kid, and it’s one of the central reasons that I fell in love with Assassin’s Creed.