Game-related ramblings.

Tag: Irrational Games

Full Circle: System Shock Remake On Kickstarter (With Demo)

As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Longtime readers may remember that one of the first posts I ever wrote for this blog was a History Lesson post about System Shock (back before I even had screenshots in my posts!). I played the 1994 game for the first time in 2010 or thereabouts, and it was a revelation. I was amazed that such an old game with such a clunky control scheme could be so immersive, eclipsing most games released before or since, and was shocked (har har) that it was not better known.

Well, it turns out I’m not the only one with such a high opinion of the game. Night Dive Studios recently acquired the rights to the franchise and made the original game available for purchase again — along with some (optional) modern improvements like the now-standard mouselook controls — in the form of System Shock Enhanced Edition. Now, they’ve decided to try their hands at a full-blown remake, with modernized graphics and all sorts of other tweaks and changes. They’ve taken to Kickstarter and are already funded with fifteen days to go at the time of writing, largely due to the strength of the pre-alpha demo.

Excited, I took said demo for a spin.

On Tutorials

It used to be that, before playing a game, you had to read the manual. Otherwise you’d have no idea how to play, or what was going on. Today, no one reads manuals, although they are still included with most games. Instead, the games themselves teach us how to play; when you load up a game, the early sections introduce the main game concepts and explain the controls, so you can get playing even if you never touched the manual.

This is a great idea. It removes a barrier to entry for games, letting anyone jump in and have fun without having to prepare first. But there can be definite downsides, which are not always considered when a tutorial is implemented. One of the foremost is that when a tutorial is integrated into the beginning of a game, it can significantly detract from the game’s atmosphere and narrative by interrupting it with instructions to the player.

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