Proteus

March 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment


Quickly, what Proteus reveals is that the typical application of anxiety = game play is false. This is ambiance as game play, a way out of the consistent need to drop us into combat. Proteus isn’t just anti-combat, it opens up games to the idea of exploration as a goal. Gears of Wars or Pac-man are all based off the idea of challenge, Proteus is not so much a challenge, it invites you to relax. The game is pretty, but the thing is there’s a logic there, the game makes sense, and mystery is consistent. Proteus is a game of exploration, but it blew my mind wide open to the idea of games that evade the usual stress tests of gaming. This isn’t a hard game, its simply enjoyable, but there’s a lot there and so many mechanics evolving in the game that add wonder or narrative to the world. It gave me A LOT of ideas so to what to do in games, and it made me aware of how tired I am of the consistent stress test of gaming. Proteus strives to make every choice in exploration more enjoyable, to lay out a new mechanic that makes the games that much deeper and mysterious. It’s a case of narrative that in turn lets you contribute to the soundtrack that in turn alters gameplay. I haven’t nailed it, but the game is like ambient music, not so much about tempo or anger or aggression but unfolding, Proteus reveals the rock roots of the modern game, it makes so much of what passes as game play seem jammed into a punk 2 chord riff, in other words it’s kinda like Yanni in the middle of a hair rock convention and you can be sure most game designers don’t think of themselves as Van Halen. It invites games to let down their hair and find something else to do aside from killing. It’s a masterpiece, and in a canon of game design it’s a narrative well worth enshrining.
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