Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I Made This

It took me a couple of hours to finally decide on what game I should review this week. There were certainly a few potential candidates, but the problem was that I'd already reviewed games that were quite similar in the last month. I wanted something different, and in the end found a game more different than anything I could have imagined: I Made This, or to use its full title, I Made This. You Play This. We Are Enemies.

Consider the possibilities of a game with a title like that. Consider the artwork, both crude and wonderful at the same time, a mix up of sketches, collage and digital drawings. I Made This is an art game with a big capital (pretentious f)ART. The developer is either an idiot savant or a stone cold artistic genius, capable of making a game both utterly frustrating and totally alluring at the same time. Boil it down to basics and it's a platform game, but it's unlike any platform game you've ever played. Your character is some kind of wheel or ball or messed up eye - it's hard to tell because it blends so easily into the background. You roll around, jumping on platforms and collecting... things. Lots of things, off all shapes and sizes. And every time you do so, the screen goes BATSHIT INSANE!!!

Stuff just piles up on top of stuff, scouring demented images into your memory forever. And there are ten levels of this (or eleven; even the game itself isn't sure.)

Occasionally you get the opportunity to watch videos spread across the game - you know, just in case you were still able to deal with this bad acid trip in Flash form. I'm sure there's something being said here, but I'm not culturally tuned in to whatever that is. All I know is, the more I played the more I felt this would be the kind of thing Dick Cheney would like, because it causes pain and suffering to his fellow man.

Things just get more bizarre and more bizarre, though if the point of this game is to leave me asking profound philosophical questions it worked to a certain degree. The phrase "Why do I do this to myself?" crossed my mind more than once.

We're not even half way through when the tigers show up. We still have to pass through the level that promises "Death by Dalmatian!" - then delivers. And I haven't even mentioned the mid-game intermission, where the developer talks about his powerful ice cubes from Australia and adds credence to the "idiot savant" theory.

The second half actually plays a little more like a proper game and not just an excuse to prod your frontal lobe with a metaphorical ice pick. It's still crazy, of course, but at least the platform elements get to come out, for a few levels anyway.

The truth is, you'll probably have gotten used to the random imagery and ridiculous sound effects by this point, and if you can block them out and focus on the gameplay, you might actually enjoy yourself. Of course, you might also be in the middle of a total brain shutdown, but either way you won't care anymore.

I Made This has received a lot of bad feedback by the majority of online gamers. And while I know the point of this blog is to rant about terrible games... I just can't hate this. Part of me wants to hate it, but another part of me can't help but applaud anyone with the balls to make something this completely mental, then stand back and watch the sparks fly. And if nothing else, you can at least concede that it's different.

So, I Made This - strange. Scary. Weirdly compelling.

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