Dreamfall Chapters is huge. Too huge, really: it’s the finale to a story to a game released ten years ago, dealing with plot points and characters from a game released in 1999, featuring three worlds (or more, depending on how you count), two cities, four protagonists, and the answers (or simply answers) to a million different mysteries. It’s a story about life, death, rebirth, dreams, identity, depression, growing up, relationships, addiction, conquest, colonialism, politics, passion, genocide, racism, complacency, sisterhood, guilt, redemption and whatever other theme you’d care to find. That developer Red Thread’s scant resources are just about enough to give us the stage play version of events, and to do so fairly well, speaks highly of their commitment and passion. And yet, it’s still the stage play version of events: think the original Star Wars, with the camera never leaving the Death Star. While its world is technically larger than its predecessors’ it feels like it should be larger still, and that it isn’t is behind many of its issues.
Warning, there be spoilers ahead. Earlier last month, the forums for the videogame website selectbutton.net hosted a conversation about the one game we would champion, if we could only champion one game for the rest of our lives. While there are lot of vidcons I like, my choice was easy–not because its perfect, but because its flaws don’t stop it from being one of the most affecting pieces of fiction I’ve ever experienced.
The facts are these: released in 2006, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey was the sequel/spinoff to 1999’s The Longest Journey. While the original game was an adventure game in the traditional point-and-click sense, Dreamfall is more actiony; there’s some combat, there are stealth portions and in general, the game seems much more in your face than its predecessor. It’s also a lot more ambitious. Not that ambition helps make it a good videogame–it isn’t. Its action segments require more fluidity than a keyboard can provide, and its various puzzles are brain teasers only in the sense that they suggest a challenge that they don’t deliver. Large stretches of the game consist of walking from cutscene to cutscene, which is as close as you can get to a capital crime in any videogame. And yet…
In its thirty-something year history, videogames have become rather good at telling enjoyable stories. It’s not something everyone can do, but there’s a pretty established template of things to do vs. things to avoid. And thus, we have videogames with fun stories, entertaining stories, exciting stories, and stories that make you go “hell, yeah”. I would say, however, that there are very few stories that could be considered moving–stories that get deep into your soul (assuming you believe in one) and stay with you. Before Dreamfall, I could name two, and they belonged to the same franchise. Leer el resto de esta entrada »