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Yes! A game about one of the best cartoons ever made! How could it go wrong?
It's time for a new column! And so much for not lingering on the past...
Yes, Crap Shoot is over, but something of its spirit lives on in my new PC Gamer column – Critical Paths. The basic idea is that each week I’ll be taking an irreverent but hopefully interesting look at the world of story and writing in games; the good, the bad, the just plain awful. To prove that it’s not just about words though, this week is a look at the colour theory that helped the original Gabriel Knight create such a menacing and effective atmosphere.
As ever, it takes a little time for these things to bed down and find a level. Hopefully you’ll like it though. To a large extent Crap Shoot was focused on story anyway, and this allows for similar stuff without necessarily having to play through entire games on a weekly basis just to get screenshots and write a little snark.
Check out the first part here. The others are due to go live Saturdays, around 10AM (real time)
(And that’s definitely all I’m writing about Gabriel Knight for a while!)
Enjoy the first new slice of the Gabriel Knight canon since 1999...
Jane Jensen recently released a new short-story, showing what happened to Gabriel Knight after Gabriel Knight: Blood Of The Sacred, Bloody Hell What A Long Title. It’s an oddly depressing tale that can best be summed up as “It’s over, it’s over, it’s over, oh wait, we’re selling a game with the veiled hint of it leading to a sequel at some point, maybe it’s not!” But, y’know, PDFs are fiddly, so – cough – to save you some time…
It had been fifteen years since he’d had a knife-fight with a demon, and Gabriel Knight had just about come to terms with the fact this was a thing that had actually happened. It didn’t mean he had to be proud of it, or enjoy the fact that it was the last interesting thing that had happened to him. The very, very last.
He shuffled around the empty halls of Schloss Ritter as he always did, a man with a destiny that seemed to have been wrapped up around the time cursors went out of fashion. Except him, he cursed, to himself.
He staggered down the stairs to where Gerde had once busied herself peeling potatoes. That had been a lifetime ago. Now there were only seventeen piles left. In another decade, he might even have to find out what passed for a store in Rittersberg. Did they have Wal-Mart in Germany? Probably not. He’d have to brush up on his foreign at some point. Luckily for him, the likes of “What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?” were still ably enough translated by the language of his manly musk without too much sabotage from his lips.
But they were a young man’s advantages. He was thirty-six now. Middle aged. It’d be another thirty years before he’d get to go grey and be sexy once more. Christ, with the Schattenjager medallion around his neck all the time, he was going to spend at least a decade looking like Leisure Suit Larry. A fate worse than death.
Stop whining, Knight. Be ready. In case someone calls. In case anyone calls.
A totally fair, justified and rational look at a game whose true horror comes from within...
I’ve never cared much for the term ‘walking simulators’, and it really feels like by now we should have something better. After all, we don’t call Tetris ‘gravity simulators’ or ‘futility adventures’, and the idea that a game predicated on scenery, place and mood is somehow lesser than a barely more interactive one that simply chooses to focus on splatter, gore and explosions is more than a little a disservice to the genre.
That being said, it’s a style I’ve never really gotten into, and which I do have certain problems with. My main one is one of disconnection, that while I understand the intent, I rarely find the result that satisfying. Dear Esther for instance always felt like two entirely different projects – the first, a justifiably proud entry on a level designer’s CV, and a creative writing course homework assignment on the top. I’d have preferred for instance if the dialogue had been less “oh woe for life is needlessly obfuscated pain…” and more “Dear Esther. The toilet facilities on this island are abominable. I am never coming here again!” or “Dear Esther, this would be way faster on Skype.”
Philistine sentiment? Perhaps. Perhaps…
Putting away the dice, never again to explain the most misunderstood column name in gaming...
So, Saturday Crapshoot is over. Over 200 ludicrously over-written columns on the weirdest and most obscure games, about as many explanations that ‘crap shoot’ is as in ‘random’ rather than ‘shit’, endless hours fighting with DOSBox and virtual machines in the name of playing games for whom “QA” was just how to say “Huh?” in Spanish, and hopefully, some fond memories of times had with the good, the bad, and the just plain wrong.