Oh happy day!

I’d practically forgotten that the sublime Jeff Minter and his Llamasoft troops had been toiling away at what was once called Gridrunner+++. Gridrunner Revolution appears to be done and heading out to reviewers. I’m expecting the same reception that Space Giraffe got – those that refuse to take the time to learn how to play a game that does things its own way will hate it whilst those of a more open minded and receptive nature will find merit in its approach to the time-tested delights of blowing up bunches of spangly pixels into much smaller groups of spangly pixels. Based on people’s levels of anticipation for Modern Warfare 2 I can’t really see anyone justifying a complaint of “oh, haven’t we done enough of that sort of thing by now?” with much credibility.

Without further ado, let’s have a shufty at some extended gameplay. First, the easy grade:

And now for the higher difficulty grade:

Now, by this point you’re either intrigued or disgusted. There’s a few things worth noting. Firstly, if you’ve watched those videos with the sound off, you’re missing half the game. Audio, besides from being characteristically idiosyncratic is crucial signposting in these games. Half the joy of Space Giraffe and Gridrunner++ was becoming fluent in the game’s audio language. This is what the “Wahh, my eyes!!” brigade couldn’t bring themselves to understand. Or perhaps they could, but it was simply more fun to cry on the internet than dare to go against the flow of the almighty Popular Opinion.

What else? Well, there’s going to be little treasures throughout this chappy. If the names for the different difficulty grades, the “ALERT!” sound effect and the sprite for the player’s satellite didn’t show you that this game has some appealing cheek then you’re just an old fuddy-duddy.

Watching the first video it seems that the game makes more of a concerted effort to spell things out to the player. I’m not sure how I feel about that really. Whilst I believe Space Giraffe‘s tutorial could have been clearer, I loved working out the nuances of the game, the enemy types and effective strategies for progression and scoring. This looks like a step too far in the opposite direction with, I fear, little left for the player to discover for themselves. I don’t blame Minter for this, I blame a culture that’s so A.D.D. afflicted that they resent having to read anything and hold a personal vendetta against developers who don’t spoon-feed them information and congratulatory rewards for being spoiled, stroppy brats.

Space Giraffe was originally a 360 exclusive. Which goes to show you what happens when you got about presenting a non-conformist game to an audience bred on a totally conformist diet of digital drudge. For the most part, an audience with such a narrow view simply couldn’t think in unconventional terms and were offended that they should be expected to and were equally offended by anyone in their ranks who managed such an incomprehensible feat. Then they went back to doing headshots and teabagging space marines. You know, real gaming.

Sweeping generalisations? Absolutely – but given the outpouring of slanderous venom that was issued from the community at large I’d say it’s well deserved.

Minter’s excessive tool-tips aside, this looks to be another brilliantly realised title from a master of his trade.

3 Responses

  1. t'face September 17, 2009 / 12:38 pm

    I resent hat comment, being someone with ADD I find minter games a joy, you have to immerse yourself the audio/visual stimulus and not just be focused on one thing, ADD/ADHD peeps find it difficult to focus on just one thing but due to how vast the assault on the sense is in such games it works to one’s advantage to be keeping tabs on every sound and visual cue. I can’t play games for shit that baby me along with excessive instructions and rewards, it’s too bloody confusing when I should be focusing on actually playing the bloody game.

  2. Koffdrop September 17, 2009 / 2:43 pm

    My mention of ADD wasn’t about a particular style of game but to an attitude of “a culture”. You may also notice that it was knowingly referenced a few lines down by an admission regarding the use of sweeping generalisations.

    There’s no reason to resent a comment that wasn’t necessarily targetted at you.

    Always nice to encounter a fellow fan of Minter’s games. Welcome.

  3. Dave Wild September 17, 2009 / 7:56 pm

    I don’t use my PC for games any more – the 360 is a much nicer place to play games on – however, with this game not being on the 360, I’ll buy it for the PC – Space Giraffe consumed so much of my time and I enjoyed it’s challenge so much, I’d play this new game on whatever platform it needed.

    Space Giraffe is a masterpiece and most of the negative things I’ve read seem to be based on an initial reaction of ‘I don’t understand it, therefore it’s rubbish’ – for me, when it clicked I could start to beat it, it was such a great feeling. Especially later when it starts to throw it all at you – to the casual observer, the screen must look hugely confusing, but I’m listening to noises and checking the trajectory of enemies and it all makes perfect sense (I do have to have a calming down session after a very long game though!)

    A wonderful game – if Gridrunner Revolution is half as good I’ll be well happy – I suspect it will be given the attention to detail and tuning of the previous games.

    I’m glad there are still folks like the Llamasoft lads producing games because they love games and not because market research shows that first person shooters offer the best return from the demographic with the most cash. I’m sick of the same old crap being released with a new lick of paint. Games like that are what it’s really all about.
    .-= Dave Wild´s last blog ..Chickens! =-.

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