Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Two View Video Game Review: Limbo

W-w-what? Video Game? That's right. This last summer, during Fourth of July, I was with the family at my brother's house. He had an Xbox 360 & was playing a game called Limbo & I was enthralled. I use to be a game geek in the past, but now, I don't have the time or money to bother, but I still have that itch to pick up a controller every now & then. Well, let me say, I did not spend too much time with the family that holiday or watched any fireworks. Luckily, the game is short & I was able to feel satisfied when I completed it.

You play the game as a nameless boy who is looking for his sister in Limbo. You take him through a forest to an urban landscape while encountering other ruthless boys & a relentless, hungry giant spider. Dead ends seem common, but often the pull of a lever or the push of a switch causes the earth to rotate or gravity to reverse, opening up a new path.

I picked a video game this month because of Roger Ebert's statement that "video games can never be art," which I find striking for him to say because critics said the same about cinema upon its dawning. Limbo wasn't released when Ebert made these statements, otherwise, video game fans would have a strong example as to why his statement was wrong. I haven't seen a video game with such a clear art direction. Its heavy influences include German Expressionism & film noir, with the main color palette being black & grey. Not only does the shadowed atmosphere look menacing, but also everything is potentially deadly, & trust me, your character is going to die when you play it & the creators, Playdead, created many ways to show the death of the protagonist. Puzzles require many tries in order for you to figure them out & Playdead made these puzzles more nerve racking by making lethal leaps only obtainable by mere inches.  Luckily, this is Limbo & death is never final. You start back right before your last dangerous task.

The game costs about 10 bucks & even if you don't have an XBox 360, I'm sure you know someone who does. Persuade them so you can borrow it & the game takes about 6-10 hours to complete. I know, that even if you don't play video games, you'll enjoy the eerie mood the game creators made for you. Because, if this isn't art, I don't know what is.

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