Play This Thing reviews The Curfew, a game about civil liberties and teenagers that my wife, Alice Taylor commissioned for UK broadcaster Channel 4. The game, produced by Littleloud and written by Kieron Gillen, just won Best Educational Game at the Games for Change awards (it's a free-to-play Flash game, so you can judge for yourself -- or bring it into your classroom, or talk about it with your kids or friends).
Back in the early CD-ROM era, when the ability to do filmed video in a game was novel and the graphic adventure was still a commercially viable genre, there were a slew of mostly horrible games that tried to merge the adventure genre with filmed video. When I say "mostly horrible," imagine interminable, badly acted cut scenes with zero actual interaction, held apart by inventory puzzles in fairly crude graphics, or played out on photographs with a handful of lifeless interactions. Until playing The Curfew, I had come to the conclusion that merging video with the adventure game was an obviously bad idea, proven so by experience.
I have to say, however, that the combination works here, and works quite well. Part of the problem, back in the day, was the need to change what area of the disc was being read when a choice was made, so that there was always a perceptible lag whenever you made any choice that branched the video. Here, the clips are preloaded by the Flash framework, and the transitions are seamless. Also, the use of photography for the graphic adventure interactions themselves, coupled with small looped animations of characters drawn from video, makes the game feel alive even when you are not in the video itself. And finally, the developers have had the good taste and sense not to make the non-interactive sequences too lengthy or sententious.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance […]
The Ticwatch 2 Active Smartwatch is a simpler take on an active wearable that raised over $2m dollars on Kickstarter and is currently offered in the Boing Boing Store.Somewhere in between the single-day battery life and platform-specificity of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices, there exists the Ticwatch. Instead of trying to shoehorn another […]
Loot Crate is a subscription service that delivers a box of curated pop culture goods to your doorstep. To sample their geeky wares, you can order a single mystery box exclusively from the Boing Boing Store.Each month Loot Crate sends you 6-7 unique items and apparel, including collectibles, books, and t-shirts. Pulling inspiration from all […]