I’ve seen needlessly heated arguments over the definition of a rogue-like. As the name suggests, one would presume it something kind of like the game Rogue from the 1980’s. Elements associated with this have been procedural level generation and permanent death for the player’s character. Over time though, the elements associated with this genre have become so varied in their presentation that they feel substantially different from Rogue, yet still contain a checklist of similarities. For my own personal use, such genre labels have become inadequate, as I’ve previously expressed with the horror umbrella term.
I recall once that a deer challenged my world view. It did so in a way by permanently separating a youth from his mother by means of the bullet. Though that youth grew into an alpha male (Bambi I think his name was) his journey ultimately made my young psyche believe that the world revolved around death, conflict, and fornication. Crescent Moon Studios seeks to challenge your outlook on life as well with its platformer The Deer God.
Halloween snuck by me this year. It seemed like Valve forgot as well, as the Steam Halloween sale started much later than in previous years. Not every spooky game was on sale either. Elder Sign: Omens and Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the World remained stubbornly undiscounted on my wish list. Despite this little first-world problem, I thought it might be a good time to bring up another minor inconvenience in my land of pretentious game theory. The genre labeling system as we know it has become antiquated. Shooter, strategy, platformer, and so on have become insufficient in being the only means of classifying a game’s format. However, of all labels, it may be “survival horror” that is the least descriptive of a game’s mechanics, thus illustrating a seemingly endless possibility of overlap for traditional genres.
A while back, Hi-Rez pulled a fast one on me. On their Facebook page, they teased followers with the silhouette of a familiar deity. Bat wings, tendrils, and a vague bit of text was all it took for a Lovecraft junky to go into a patch notes hunting frenzy. For about a day I thought the Lovecraft pantheon would make its way to Smite. As much as I enjoy their third person MOBA, they occasionally make me press my palm to my face.
I tried. No, seriously. I tried my darnedest to beat A Wizard’s Lizard. But I couldn’t. I’m just not very good at it. Of course, that’s always been the point of these games. A somewhat procedurally generated death maze, in which all kinds of beasties are thrown at us and beat us into a corner. However, our resolve does not falter and we are more than happy enough to start the game over. Good thing there aren’t any quarters involved.
A few weeks ago I made my return to Rapture, the underwater dystopia of the BioShock series. This time around 2K Games throws the player into the suit of a Big Daddy, the groaning golems of the deep. BioShock 2 explores the plight of a lone Big Daddy called Subject Delta, and in doing so recreates the feel of an old myth accompanied by a psychosexual dynamic perhaps not intended by the developers.
Over the past few years there has been a wave of games funded through Kickstarter.com. One of the most recent titles to make it out of the crowd funding woods is a horror game called Among the Sleep from Krillbite Studio.