Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Let's Play World of Xeen

Someone on the Penny Arcade forums has started a long thread titled Let's Play World of Xeen (click "show spoiler" to show the content—or go back to page 1 to start from the beginning) in which he plays through one of my favorite classic PC RPGs, takes screenshots, and adds a narrative. He's not finished with the game yet, but reading through the article so far overwhelmed me with happy nostalgia. Having played and adored the original game (technically a pair of games that you could install together and play simultaneously), reading through this is like candy.

It got me thinking that this basic formula, even without the completely made-up character interactions the author has added, would work pretty well for game reviews. Looking through something like this, edited to remove spoilers and focus on early-game content, would be a lot more useful to me than most game reviews. This format is most similar to a video review, I guess, but video reviews for games that I've seen so far in my life have all been pretty inexplicably terrible, even with my very low standards and expectations for reviews of video games.

This guy's trip down memory lane is precisely what I would have liked to have seen before buying the game in the first place. From a few screenshots and basic descriptions you can get a pretty detailed picture of a game, and from there you should be able to know how much you're going to like playing it. A walkthrough of the first hour of a game is far more useful to me than the opinions of the reviewer who might like be looking for completely different things in a game than I am.

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