Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Game Review: A Closed World

A Closed World is an experimental browser/Flash-based game developed by the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab.  The goal was to research the organic inclusion of LGBTQ-friendly content into computer games - something that is generally rather rare.  In general the nods to the LGBTQ community take the form of having decision paths that include possible same-sex romantic encounters (Mass Effect, Dragon Age), or occasionally the ability to dress a character in non-gender-typical clothing (Saint's Row).  So, I thought it might be interesting to check this out.

Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed.  It's just a prototype, but clearly the gameplay was not just secondary to the message, but tertiary to both the message and the artistic style (both of which I liked).  I didn't mind so much that it was a very simplistic game, what I found frustrating was that in challenging one's demons -personified as actual demons in a forest - the choices of using Logic, Passion, or Ethics arguments wasn't so much a choice as a vague guess with equally vague results.  What I really wanted was a more fleshed-out conversation with real choices rather than generalized attitudes.  I understand what the designers were going for, but to my mind they set the bar far too low even for a prototype of a game.

That being said, the message was good.  It boils down to "being true to yourself is often really hard, but it's the only path to real happiness."  Or something like that.  The game is short enough that it's worth running through the somewhat boring mechanics just to get the little mini-story.