Tuesday, November 08, 2005

cool strange: walkingincircles

This wins my award for weirdest and most unforgettable game. It's a bit of a room escape game in that you're trying to get out of the space you're in. It's a bit of an excuse for art display (experimental, slightly bizarre, definitely depressive, a couple of good 3D animations). Lastly, you could call it a meta-game in that the game characters (three women, a man, and an alien of a male persuasion) are talking to you as a game player -- in their parlance, a "walkie," and about as well-liked as a German tourist. Furthermore, they talk about themselves as animation objects. It's the complete opposite games where you're an elf, wizard, or assassin, and the game characters talk to you in pseudo-medieval dialogue.

One of the interesting meta aspects is the online chat (when you get the PDA). You're talking to other game players – though at first, you're not entirely sure if they're real or in-game. Because at the same time, below the screen, the game characters have their own chat going on sporadically. The game is playing with your mind! Which is probably why I like it so much.

This game is also on its own time schedule. Most point'n'click flash games load up, and they wait for your clicks; if you leave a game onscreen and return an hour later, it's right where you left it. Walkingincircles forces you to wait to get to certain things.

Talking to the characters trigger events, changing the dialog. Items not previously clickable become clickable; new direction arrows appear, allowing you to go where you haven't been able to go before. If you have a walkthrough or cheat sheet you can probably finish the game in a half-hour or so, but if not, it's a slow process to a) figure out what the goal is to begin with, and b) how to get there.

Overall: unique and more original than anything you'll find short of an ARG. Not pretty by any means (vector graphics) but I'm pretty sure this is intentional. You need to stay online in order to play. Click.

Spoilers: your main goal is to get out of this space and onto the train so you can join the girls in the hot tub. Your sub-goals are to collect 10 photographs (the alien will help you with most of them, so if you only have three, don't despair) and the four items shown in grey below the screen: the PDA, the gameboy, the magnifying glass, and the photo album in which to store your pictures. In order to get these you need to find all three girls and talk with them multiple times.

Major spoilers: the only really important art/writing to look at is the cartoon at the terminal on top of the mountain. As far as I can tell, none of the other art/writing triggers an event, though some of it makes for quirky-good viewing.


Anonymous said...

This *is* a weird one. I have 2 photos, got the album, thrown myself off the cliff, gotten stoned, and am now circling. Everyone keeps saying the same stuff -- halp!

max inclined said...

Have you moused over the area behind the drunk guy? You may need to get stoned again (I think you have to about 3 times.) And have you clicked the 1st girl from above yet?

Anonymous said...

Better now - got another pic & girl #2. Thanks! Good find. I like this one too. You can't die. :)