I recently picked up Playdead’s newest game inside with my steam sale games and waited with anticipation for it to be released. Inside is a game about a boy running away you know not what and running to you know not where. With what to come next being both entreating and surprising.
This is the second game form the Playdead developers with limbo back in July of 2010. Like Inside, Limbo is a game that has no spoken narrative or on screen instruction and it makes the play progress forward at their own risk with death and misstep being a way to teach players how the rules of these eerily beautiful worlds work.
If there is one thing that these games do amazingly well and that i admire and am interred by is how they lead or instruct the player in subtle and obvious ways. When you take words of the table as a tool to help you design you have to get creative and this is something that I’ve look at with my own design. You wouldn’t think a game like this would have and thing to do with a board game. This idea of less is more i need to use it for play cards in my game.
They are not something that you can put a lot of word on so images and symbols are a way the you can instruct players on what something means or what they need to do.
In the image above there are a few very subtle was the you are shown what is important to the player :
- All the light sources in the image come from the right this area and shine on the player and the back wall. This light plays as a beacon that thew player wants to follow as players have come from a dark area before this point.
- The boys head is looking at the object of importance the safe on the ledge and the light from before is highlighting this.
- the safe itself has a hue of white light behind it and the safe is all covered in shadow to stand out in the white black contrast.
- Once i saw all this it had me looking around the scene and i noticed the lumber under the safe and i connected that these will have an interaction in the future.
All of this was giving to us without the use of words or distracting “press this button to look here”, this game begins tho do this in small ways to start and then ramps up these interaction the further the game goes on.
Light is use to show importance to elements in large areas too so players do spend large amounts of to wondering around nit knowing what to do.
Inside is a games that add little bits of narrative that can be read in different ways. Like limbo before it Inside is a game that has you pushing forward to find out the unknown, this question being answer most of the time with more question. The outcomes of events and the ends of the game leave you walking away pondering and discussing with other what it all meant and how differently you each perceived it. With Inside having and alternative this is only discussion is only elevated.