Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fabulous Double Post: New Video and Korsakovia

Hey dudes, I just uploaded a new video to Youtube last night. Nothing special just a little Garry's Mod dandy. Remember a while ago that I needed to make an honest-to-goodness Garry's Mod video for old times sake or something? This is that video, sort of. But I'm not here to talk about that. No.

I want to talk about Korsakovia.

Ho boy, was this a weird mod. First let me tell you how I came across this strangeness. Well, a couple nights ago I was reading TvTropes as I am usually inclined to do. That night I was particularly enjoying the Mind Screw page.

As I sifted through the multitude of examples of strange works of fiction, David Lynch references and the obligatory Warhammer examples, I hate those so much, I found a little paragraph talking about a Half-Life 2 Mod.

This was really exciting. Not only was there a Half-Life 2 Mod but it's already been established that it was really weird. I had to find out more about Dear Esther.

Long story short; it was some kind of "art-experiment". There are no weapons, no enemies, no established goal and the plot isn't really explained. But that was okay, this was what I was looking for. Sort of. I played Dear Esther, well, maybe played isn't the right word, more like walked around and island while some guy reads a letter that another guy maybe sent to some lady who might have died about his kidney stones.

So that was all fine and good, I felt like more of an intellectual for "getting it" and resisting the urge to use the ingame console to spawn Combine Soldiers which I totally think they forgot to remove from the Source Code.

But I wanted moar. I wanted a game this time. I did a little poking around on their website and found Korsakovia.

Unlike Dear Esther, Korsakovia is an actual game with gameplay. The story is of a guy who has Korsakoff's Syndrome which is just a awful as you may be thinking and his therapist. The player explores his delusions and gets frequent voiceovers of his and his Therapist's conversations. During all this they need to avoid flying smoke monsters that try to kill the player by, um, flying into him.

Yes, they are exactly like the smoke monster on Lost. Exactly.

The whole game has the end of the world as a major theme; at first the Therapist tries to convince Christopher, the crazy guy, that the world has not ended but as it progresses we're lead to believe that she may start to believe him or that even she was part of the delusion the whole time.


This is were the game really shines, it is just so twisted and leaves the player constantly second-guessing. This is best exemplified in the level design which, like all self-respecting abstract maps, looks like a prog-rock album cover.

Plus, the only weapon the player is given is the crowbar. Yes yes, I know but it really does work for the setting! Heck, it doesn't even give you that for most of the time. Korsakovia likes to have the player running away from the screeching smoke clouds more than it likes to have the player hit smoke clouds with a crowbar which, really, is kind of silly if you think about it.

Of course, Korsakovia does have it's share of problems and they are big ones.

I hope you don't like moving very fast because this game lags. Remember the aforementioned smoke monsters? Sure you do; they're particle effects and as such they just love to gobble up your processing power. Keep in mind that there are usually several of these on the screen whenever they show up.

And the level design being really cool and weird is a very good thing because here in Korsakovia no level goes to waste. As in, you will play the same three levels over and over again. Now now, before you all get up in a hissy(?) about this I really do think that was the point. You see, Korsakoff's Syndrome, which the player character may or may not have, is a form of amnesia where the afflicted cannot form new memories. The level design is supposed to reflect this because you play through the same three stages, a hospital, warehouse, and apartment building, and you can see the gradual decay of these locals and in turn, the decay of the players own sanity.


Korsakovia is defiantly not like other first-person shooters, mainly because you have no guns. But it is unique in style and story-telling more importantly, It is certainly not a perfect game, far from it, but I highly recommend it to anyone who owns a copy of Half-Life 2.

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