A Brief Analysis of Interstellar

What can really be said about Interstellar that hasn’t already been mentioned by the hordes of cinema-goers? Whether they’re a part of Christopher Nolan’s fanbase, hate him, or even indifferent to him, everyone has something to say about this movie. Interstellar is certainly not without it’s critics, and it appears some reviewers are galaxies apart with their opinions. Is the movie primarily about the required scientific progress for the human race? Or the fragility and power of emotion that sets us apart and allows us to carry on?

As a preface, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, and it’s still in cinemas; go now! This is a unique experience that cannot be summarised on wikipedia, or spoiled through word of mouth. You need to see it in it’s entirety to understand.

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You Should Totally Play: Child Of Light

Art.

If given one word to describe this game, that is what I would use. Loading up this game is like stepping into a watercolour painting, in a room filled with poets.

The question you’d most likely be asking at this point is; “would that really be my kind of thing?” It’s not really a major selling feature for most people. But, even though this game at it’s core is an artpiece, it is wrapped in extremely good gameplay.

You play a young Austrian girl called Aurora, who awakens in a strange world touched by darkness, in 1895. You’ll explore the vivid landscapes, interact with the colourful characters, and slowly transform from a naive young girl into a bold warrior. This is aided by soon finding a sword.
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You Should Totally Play: Anti-Chamber

?

Anti-Chamber is what happens when puzzle game designers strip away all tradition, get drunk, and decide to see how cruelly they can mess with gamers’ heads. Then, when they sober up the next day, there’s a hint of remorse as they patch over it with a few words of inspiration on the walls.

To be fair, their minimalistic game design it expertly crafted, to bring highly innovative challenges which really make you think. Much is based on perception and pre-conceptions. You may wander down a hallway, stop and turn around, only to find that the way you came has totally changed. You may also look a little closer through a viewing window, step back, and find yourself transported into a different room. This is all completely seamless, which messes with your head that much more.

This game teaches you that trying something new will be rewarding. It almost always knows which way you’ll tackle a challenge first, then give you one of many reassuring messages alluding to the task, or life in general. It gives you motivation to try and try again, in different ways.

And you will want to, because finally overcoming a challenge that left you stuck for ages, makes you feel like the smartest man alive! I will admit that I sometimes asked for help from a gamer friend smarter than I, but I implore you to hold out on walkthroughs for as long as possible. It would ruin the rush of completing the harder puzzles.

The lack of story and strange ending might remove you from being enveloped in the experience, but that’s not what it’s all about. It’s about overcoming bizarre and difficult puzzles not like any other game out there.

7/10

You Should Totally Play: Amnesia – The Dark Descent

Too spooky.

“Hey there, so I like to play games that scare me.”
Oh cool, well you’ve picked the right ga-

“Like, pants-shittingly scary. I don’t want to be able to sleep.”
Y-yeah, sure. Like I was saying, this game would be perfect for y-

“And I also like the odd puzzle or two to complete in the story”
Okay, well you’re in luck, because this has that t-

“While I’m simultaneously shitting my pants”
You have issues.

So yes, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is quite a scary game. The scariest, in fact, that I have come across. You play as Daniel in this Survival Horror game, who wakes up in a castle with no memory of how he got there (bing! title!).

Unlike horror games such as F.E.A.R, where you can defend yourself against monsters; here, you have no means of fighting back. It’s a frightening game of hide-and-seek. And the fear trickles in, it doesn’t reveal everything straight away, so the anticipation of running into a monster really eats away at you.

It’s not just your health that you have to keep track of, but your sanity. If you remain in the dark too long, or look at something that doesn’t make any rational sense, your sanity starts to deplete. This makes your screen blurry, and your controls less responsive, making for a harder experience. Thankfully, you’ve got a lantern and can find oil and tinderboxes along the way to keep you in the light.

The story is actually compelling, the gothic artstyle is perhaps outdated now, but fits the game perfectly. You may quit due to fear and frustration from the few puzzles you come across, but this is definitely worth pushing through to reach the end, where there are some rather confronting torture chambers.

You Should Totally Read: The Farseer Trilogy

“One can only walk so far from one’s true self before the bond either snaps, or pulls one back.” – Royal Assassin

I finally decided to dip my feet in the cool waters of the Fantasy genre a little while ago. While you could argue that Stephen King’s stories sometimes break into fantasy (most notably the Dark Tower series, which in my opinion could mask itself as any genre), they aren’t “true” fantasy tales.

A couple of my friends recommended the author Robin Hobb as my first experience, and I thought: ‘why not’. It was completely new to me; there were no adaptations out there, nobody had spoiled any endings, and the books all came in trilogies. You couldn’t get any more standard than that.

But let me emphasise here; The Farseer Trilogy is not your standard fantasy series. It is a well-written and cohesive piece of work that will stick with you long after you’ve set the last book down.

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You Should Totally Read: House of Leaves

I have a friend who is on a strike rate of 100% for recommended TV shows and books. I’ve loved every single one of them. This record remains intact thanks to a book she recommended to me recently; House Of Leaves.

When I was a child, our family lived in an old house in a small country town. It had its fair share of dark spots and walls that creaked. Absence of light and bumps in the night are what usually terrify a child, because children tend to fill the void with unspeakable creatures. However, for me it wasn’t the thought of what could be making noise, or what could be hiding in the dark, it was just a particular room that scared me; the hallway.

For reasons unexplained, regardless of it being day or night, whether the house was crowded or I was alone, up until the age of 12 I felt that our hallway was haunted. Not in the traditional sense, like there was some malevolent creature from days or dimensions past that was trapped there, but it was the hallway itself. I’d step one foot in there, and the walls would close in on me, almost shrieking at me to get out.

House of Leaves is a novel that really speaks to those earlier fears; not of the cliché boogeymen under the bed, or ghosts in the attic, but the house itself. It is a psychological novel by Mark Z. Danielewski that is based around three layered, separately developed, yet intertwined narratives.

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You Should Totally Play: To The Moon

Many of the people closer to me understand that I don’t talk much. That’s fine. However, they also understand that I don’t generally open with normal conversations such as “Hi”, “How’s it going”, or “Please don’t touch me there”. Instead, it’ll be a verbal tirade of “OH MY GOD YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO ‘X’ BECAUSE I REALLY LIKE ‘X’”!

In other words, I’m insufferable when trying to share my experiences with others. I can’t help it. One of my favourite things is to see someone’s reaction to shared experiences.

So this possible new series is to help them out; showing my new-found entertainment experiences in the passive form. These will be pseudo-reviews of the things that interest me, but that the wider public may not have heard of. I don’t want to convince people to read/watch/play something that they’ve already heard about and made a decision on. I know you don’t like Dark Souls, Lost, or Stephen King (for shame).

I want to show you what you don’t know about yet.

So, anyway… you totally should play To The Moon.

Johnny and his Lighthouse

To The Moon is a sincere and emotionally draining indie game which was released back in 2011. It tells the tale of Johnny, an elderly man on his death bed. Two scientists arrive, working for a company which allows them to manipulate a person’s memories. Their mission is to implant fake memories in Johnny, thereby granting him his final wish. Continue reading