Posted in Games

A Dark Room – elegant game design

A Dark Room began life as a game for web browsers.  You can still play it that way.  You know what?  You should.  Remarkably – it is free to play via your web browser.

I didn’t encounter the game online though.  Someone recommended the app version to me and I bought it.

It cost me £1.99.

I’m playing it for a second time right now.  Trying not to build any huts this time… Once you complete the game some lovely features unlock, including the developers’ commentaries.  These are incredibly beautiful insights to what is an incredibly beautiful game.

All of this for £1.99.

Bargain!

A Dark Room is a text adventure.  You understand the world through short insights offered in the descriptions.  When the game begins, you don’t know what you’re meant to be doing or what has happened in this, apparently, post-apocalyptic world.

A woman wanders into your hut. And it becomes important to keep the fire burning.  Hope emerges.  The hope that she will survive.  And our narrative curiosity is undeniably hooked.

The game looks very simple – take a gander at the home screen:

Little do you know the depths that await you behind this deceptive simplicity.  During gameplay you will learn enough to surmise what happened to this world.  You will question your own position within it.  You will question a game mechanic that can be found at the heart of most games – to acquire all available resources with no regard to the impact this might have upon others.

Some games just should be played.  This is one of those games.

Some games pull you into their world.  This is one of those games.

Some games are art.  This is one of those games.

Enjoy… And remember to keep the fire burning.

 

 

Author:

I lecture in creative writing, games and education. I write. I make the odd game. I work with the odd school to make learning more like playing a game...

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