Hello people… I guess now I’m going to talk about the topic that I said in my last post about “The Holders” map where I said I’m going to play the 2 games that inspired me to become a level designer after all…
First I must to say I suck at critic… I’m not a person who loves or makes his life doing critics to the games that he plays but everyone has an opinion… probably I’ll be not too technical in my opinion that someone can expect… But I guess I’m going to enjoy trying to discuss some “feelings” that “Dear Esther” and “The Old City” gave to me when I played them
The Old City: Leviathan
To be honest, this game is practically a beautiful conception of the space and the theme that you are trying to show, In fact in the first scene when you awake in the “Residence” you can feel that something happened into the world and probably there’s more than to discover, even if you don’t considerate the dialog itself… Of course the dialog plays a main role in the whole game… but that’s nothing if we don’t have the Levels… Actually the levels are nothing without the dialog.
Anyway the most part of this game is in surrealistic space combined with some kind of decaying modern civilization and the architecture sites me in the 19 Century sometimes, and I can see as a post apocalyptic game. But after all… The game itself also maintain a renaissance feel, where the world is practically destroyed in their architecture… and the feeling when I saw the library in middle of this “Dream” (If I can call it that) was completely incredible…. The lightning of the level fits pretty awesome when we talk about new hopes ore new horizons (Is my opinion). But to be honest I feel strange also… I feel just like I was… Living inside this world the whole time… I mean… Not just when I played the game… Is more than an experience… and probably I’ll never go to feel in the same way… I guess after all… All of us are living inside this world in one way or another.
But watching all over this little room is quite special… It felt like a scary movie, I guess the childhood theme is kinda creepy in all aspects… And I probably think you will disagree… but this room in middle of nowhere… or probably if we try to make an specific case just like the room in middle of the sewers in the first chapter gave me a really bad feeling that something bad will happens after… anyway I see in the next scene after of going to the light that yea… Is creepy… But more than creepy… I feel uncomfortable and I really wanted to go away in that moment… Sadly the same sensation didn’t replicate in the second time when you visit the same area in the “New Age” Chapter… But beside that moment, the music itself in the moment of the childhood room (also called Childhood in the OST) really makes me more in there than I expected… I must to admit that some things just amaze me at all… Now I guess I played “The Old City” 3 times already… But some feelings still being every time I pass for some area…
But years before of the “The Old City” I found my first visual experience in the game… and yea I must to admit every time that I feel necessary to escape of the world I want to come and visit this island… yea even in front of the monitor I can feel the sea and the wind in my hair… To be honest… Is one of the most complete games that I ever played in Level Design aspects… I found it really full of emotions… very poetic… And I hope someday I can replicate in my own stories… Anyway Let’s start with the analysis.
Dear Esther… When I started and I see the main menu of the game (Also part of a map) I can figure it that “Well I’ts a movie”, and I played the game with that though… And yea I feel like I was living a movie… But not just because the game itself is like that… The sea, the island in middle of nowhere and the sky over my head I realize that probably something wrong happened… In my first play I guess we had an accident and we must go to the Antenna (and you can see the Antenna in the Chapters 1 2 and 4) and call for a rescue… But the game itself gives you more hints that you really think… I’m a person who write poems (I can’t call myself as a poet), and I know how to make a metaphor and how to gives a new interpretation into a same sentence… And yea… After that I realize that the guy is dead and I hope if I’m going to die someday, my purgatory will be like that.
Now to be more specific I’ll go inside to the third chapter… And probably the most beautiful one. The caves are probably my first experience into the deep inside of the human mind… My first reaction when we are about to enter was “Seriously I must fall that high” I was in middle of a GAME how the hell I thought as a real person? Anyway I found myself in middle of this cave and the first feeling was a real peace in middle of it… But I can’t stop contemplate the same scenario over and over again… And still having the same sensation as we are living in a movie… I felt relaxed… I felt just like I was there and enjoying a exploration… And I’m not a person who likes to go out of home… Except when I really need moments to be with myself and think about the progress of the life… but there it wasn’t necessary… My senses where all trying to figure what I will find…
But something happened in one part when I saw the rock painted with a lot of electrical diagrams and biblical quotes with some neurons and chemical equations… Really was scary… I feel just like the first time I visited the “Happy and Content” Dinner Room after the first Childhood room in “The Old City”.
And another moment that I felt “Being Watched” was in the last chapter, when you finally go out of the caves and go to the next bay to make your ascent, the whole way “marked” with candles, and after you can see the night itself trying to save your last dream, the longer that will last forever… The goal of all this… I really feel totally… and I started a really self discussion about myself… I was doing exactly the same that the protagonist was doing into the game but with my own life… At least that was the first time… After that I just used the whole game to not just getting ideas for my own… I was there to relax my mind and understand some things about my level design skills and my goals in life.
What I expect in my game
To be honest… I tried so many time to figure what kind of experience I will try to give to my “players” but I guess is more than a beautiful level design or a strong monologue with philosophical stuff. Is more than just that… So I guess I lack of experience… Or probably I’m trying to create something that I never feel… I guess the best idea is try to make my own experiences… but.. How can you achieve something that you feel and make the others feel the same as you… or probably something totally different is good also… I never started one main idea about my own experience… I had a few ones in the “World of the dreams” (As I like to call it)… replicate them will be really difficult… Specially when I already replicate the most significant into a book… (In my “El Libro De Shadows” Book 4)… I guess… I’ll try to dream more… Try to figure out… What can I dream… and What my dreams wants to tell me and What they can tell to you…
Hope you enjoyed my poor point of view… I lack of feelings and sensations that can describe really what I really see inside of those games.
Regards and take care.