World Design Blog #3: Abstract Worlds
This blog post compares and contrasts the video games Kairo (Locked Door Puzzle, 2012) and Memory of a Broken Dimension (XRA, 2017), also discussing how these are an example of abstraction in games.
Kiaro (Locked Door Puzzle, 2012)
Kairo is quite a simple game where the player walks though different areas/levels completing small puzzles to reach new places and areas. The game features very simple art style and makes use of mostly flat colors, consisting of mostly of grey tones, with the exception of some levels which have more vibrant background colors. Though the game is simple and low poly it makes use of shape, color and form to create an abstract atmosphere. The game makes great use of sound to support the theme of abstraction. The soundtrack is very eerie and strange and changes as the player moves into new locations. The game does not seem to have a set path except for activating symbols to reach different areas and seems to be a game that is played more for the experience rather than for engaging game play. The game leaves a lot of aspects and ideas open to interpretation.
Memory of a Broken Dimension (XRA, 2017)
Memory of a Broken Dimension is a very intriguing game, the game starts with a section of computer code that the player must solve before they are transported to another dimension. The game is extremely abstract and the art style is very expressive. There is no clear path or hints in the first level and it takes a while for the player to figure out what to do. In the first room that the player is dropped into there is a black mass which warps as the player moves around it. The black shape seems to take the form of a pathway leading up to a door way. However when the player walks into the black mass they walk straight through it and the sound becomes static. After searching the room there is a strange white line sticking out of the ground, if the player stands in this line the path they look at lights up a grayish white color and if they select the shape will solidify. This means the player can walk up the path and get to the next level. As the levels progress the messier the shapes become and the harder it gets to picking out shapes. This game is abstract both in art style and game play by combining a unique mechanic with captivating visuals.
Both of these games are great examples of abstraction, however Memory of a Broken Dimension appears to be much more abstract than Kairo. However, Kairo does show elements of abstraction just not as extreme or as obvious as Memory of a Broken Dimension. Memory of a Broken Dimension creates a noisier and more expressive environment whereas Kairo applies a more relaxed and more comprehensible one. All in all these games are both very intriguing and show that not all games need engaging game play to be interesting.
Images retrieved from:
Ezra Hanson-White. (2017). Memory of a Broken Dimension. [Microsoft Windows, Linux, Macintosh operating systems]. XRA.
Locked Door Puzzle. (2012). Kiaro. [Microsoft Windows].