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I make games, talk about them, draw comics and post sketches.

torsdag den 25. april 2013

Little Big Adventure 2

It could seem unnecessary and biased to discuss Little Big Adventure 2 (LBA2). 15 years old now. A lifetime in video games. It's french. I'd like to say it shines through it, but the aspects that shine through could come from so many sources. It had a relatively big number of developers. If you ask me for a game like The Legend of Zelda I'd scream LBA at you. That would probably be a misunderstanding of both. By biased I mean that while many gamers talk about their childhood experiences with the NES and SNES, I played on my GameBoy and PC. And LBA and its' sequel are the Zeldas of the personal computer.

The game design issues were obvious 15 years ago and hey, they are still there. The camera is extremely annoying, all the voice acting is flat and there isn't really a hook of any sort that ties the design together. So why endure?

I believe it can be called interactive mise-en-scène. The space created in LBA is not one for interpretation. It's for touching. LBA2 plays with the fickle illusion that is its' reality. I don't need to try and dig deep to realize that it's a simple playground with buggish controls and camera work. But if I play the game on its' own terms, I get to experience a world that is magical and heartwarming. Achieved through very few elements, this experience seems to be the point of LBA2. It is this holistic experience of the game's music, visual aesthetics, narrative, world-building and interactions that make its' essence hard to pin-point, easy to fall in love with and an object of childish game making dreams.

LBA2 becomes an antithesis to Miyamotian game design of focus. It succeeds and fails. Nintendo games are worth buying consoles for, because they are focused unlike any other game in the world. Perhaps this statement fits many japanese games. I believe LBA2 is what Zelda would be with less focus. This perspective of LBA2's interactive mise-en-scène is personal but hopefully fairly identifies and communicates an aspect of LBA2 not purely bound to my own nostalgia. Game series often become better with each iteration. That is not to say that individual works lose their value with new iterations. In the same way, I believe LBA2 carries with it great examples of how elegant world-building can be. In other words, I believe it can be loved by new players even today.

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