star falls to earth, and wants to go home. A variety of woodland
creatures want other things. By achieving the latter, the star arrives
at a place from which the sky is but a splash and a ripple away.
Short and sweet, The Shine of
a Star is a lilting and gentle interlude in whatever hecticness is
going on around you.
It's entirely without dialogue,
but not without sound. The musical accompaniment does much to set the
tone and the pace, and little “picture bubbles” convey what a character
might be thinking or feeling or needing. Hand drawn 2D environments
complete the picture. Point and click and stroll about – finding things
here, doing things there, solving a puzzle now and then.
I did some rummaging around,
which is so much easier with the interweb, and unearthed the following:
“…games can most certainly be art. However, they
seldom are. Why is that? I put trust in the introspection of myself and
conclude that I very rarely have been emotionally involved in events
happening in games. I am an escapist in heart and mind and often do I
flee to the realm of imagination with the help of books, movies and
games just to feel, and often have I cried during moments of
overwhelming emotional response. Though never whilst playing a game”.
To digress for a moment, I too
have never cried whilst playing a game, although there have been moments
of (if perhaps not overwhelming) intense emotional response – playing
hide and seek with the small boy in Blackstone Chronicles,
climbing down the ladder into the darkroom in Faust, and emerging
from the castle onto the bridge with Yorda in Ico. There will
have been others, along with a gamut of other emotions in the many games
I have passed through.
To return to the quote, it is
from a short observation by Robin Hjelte, who with The
Shine of a Star might have been trying to design a gaming experience
tipped towards the emotional. Not one that will make you cry, but one in
which the absence of the spoken word accentuates the thoughts and
feelings of the characters. They aren’t deep, or even subtle, but by
being unspoken they are a little more poignant. Or at least I thought
If you rummage some more you
will find other short games by Robin, all of which seem to have started
life as short projects at BTH, which some further rummaging revealed is
the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlshamn, Sweden. One of them,
Past Tense, was like a little snippet of isabelle (which
in my world is praise indeed), and I have downloaded a few others.
Robin didn’t make the game all
by himself. Forgotten Key is four students, all from the BTH, who
started a game studio on the strength of winning a prize at the 2011
Game Concept Challenge. I rummaged some more to find out about that, but
it was all in Swedish.
I did find several musical
pieces at SoundCloud by Cajsa Larsson, including four which accompany
The Shine of a Star. "The Lament of the Stone-Mushroom People" says
much in its title about the nature of the score.
I got the star back to its
cloud, not terribly long after he/she fell, and not terribly sure how.
Most of the challenge is finding what you need and using it where it's
needed, in minimal amounts. A pattern recognition puzzle held me up the
longest, despite knowing what the pattern was I was looking for – one of
those delightful “doh” moments that we get from games.
The Shine of a Star
isn’t expensive, it won’t take you long, and it has won a prize.
Forgotten Key might be worth watching.
OS: Windows 7
Processor: AMD Phenom 9500 Quad Core CPU 2.2 GHz
Ram: 4.00GB DDR2 400MHz
Gx card: ATI Radeon HD 3850 512Mb
The Shine of a Star is an Independent
production of Forgotten Key, and can be downloaded from the
The Adventure Shop.
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