Two inspiring games

2022-01-26

A couple of games (among many others) which I find quite inspiring are Firewatch and A Short Hike.

Firewatch

Firewatch introduces us to the protagonist, Henry, and his dying wife, and he eventually takes a job as a fire lookout, presumably to run away from his problems. The player spends a lot of time talking (over walkie-talkie) to another fire lookout called Delilah, not just about the day-to-day in the beautiful open world of the park, but also about their thoughts and feelings. You build up quite a bond, and some way through the game you feel yourself yearning for the two characters to finally meet in person and get together.

When they end up not getting together, it’s quite gutting, but Delilah states good reasons why she didn’t hang around at her tower to meet Henry, one of them being that he has a duty to his dying wife.

I find this game inspiring, and also want to make a game that lets the player feel that great sense of longing and loss. Or more broadly, making the player feel any emotion quite strongly.

In addition to making you feel, it’s a game that makes you think. Would I have felt the same towards Delilah if Henry’s dying wife had been given more screen time? Perhaps not, and perhaps I would have felt guilty for falling for Delilah.

A Short Hike

A Short Hike is a game that you can pick up at any time, and just dive in. The open game world is pleasant, and there are various challenging, yet kid-friendly tasks to complete. In a word, it’s cosy.

And those are exactly the two things that I liked most about the game. Firstly, just being able to dip in and out of it, without having to remember or relearn key-bindings. It has an elegant core loop: you flap your wings or climb to go up, and you glide on the way down, circling around the mountain to take in the scenery.

Secondly, not feeling threatened when I play. Sometimes I’m tired, or feel a bit vulnerable, and playing something chilled-out is just what I need.

Likewise, I’m quite inspired to one day make a game which respects your time, and also your soul.

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