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    jp's Limbo (VITA)

    [June 16, 2014 03:26:42 PM]
    So here's another indie darling I'm late to the table with. Probably for the best since by now the hype has died down. Again, I'm SO very happy that it's a short game. I finished it in a few sittings and then went back and picked up a few of the trophies I had missed on the first go around.

    I feel like I should just call it a "regular" puzzle platformer game. That wouldn't be dishonest, because the game really is quite "standard" in its platforming (though the gravity switching at the end was neat). On the other hand, I can't really think of any other creepy/gloomy platformers that are as effective at being creepy (without having to go full-bore on gore and monsters). Sure, it's black and white, and gloomy - and the audio work is really, really effective. But... I think there's a bit more to it than that. My current hypothesis is that it's the camera work. It's actually (for me) the thing that was most interesting about this game! (and the reason I'm glad I played it)

    The camera, as an object, is something that has gotten a lot of attention (especially in the media studies leaning crowd) for how it's been used in games. Notably starting in the mid-nineties when everything was starting to go 3D. Camera angles, shots, position, controls, bla bla bla. However, I don't think I had thought about another important feature of cameras: focus.

    In hindsight it seems like a huge oversight! Focusing the camera on certain parts of a scene (or depths, if you will) is a technique that's often used in cinema for dramatic effect among other things. I'm no filmmaker, but I've seen plenty of movies where there camera is focused on the foreground, and then focuses on something in the background without moving or doing anything else. It's a cool way to draw the viewers' attention, or to reveal something in the scene all without moving the camera.

    Why don't we see this more often in games?

    I don't know, but it's something I noticed in Limbo - and it worked really well. Sometimes it was done so that I couldn't really see if the ground I was walking on was safe or not - forcing me to go slower, to squint at the screen. Other times it was done to draw my gaze around. In all, it gave the game a dreamy surreal feel to it, which I think was part of the goal. Is my character dead? Alive? Where am I? Etc.

    (also, I'm not sure I understood the ending, but..whatever)
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    jp's Limbo (VITA)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 7 June, 2014

    GameLog closed on: Monday 16 June, 2014

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    Short, creepy, but good.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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