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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Barrow Hill Versus Da Vinci Code

Barrow Hill is an indie adventure game title which, to be honest, I've only heard in passing. The Da Vinci Code is a licensed game based on a multimillion dollar movie. For your money, says the New York Times, go with Barrow Hill:

Barrow Hill is decidedly low budget, using a node-based interface popularized years ago by Myst in which the player can stand only in certain spots and look in certain directions. But while the graphics are only serviceable, the game has a strong sense of atmosphere. The woods are filled with the sounds of rustling leaves and snapping twigs, the pay phone whispers eerily when you lift the receiver, and despite its mainly static graphics, the game offers a couple of genuine scares.

Barrow Hill's well-done puzzles and story make it far closer in spirit to Dan Brown's novel than the game based on it. While the vast publicity machine supporting the Da Vinci book would advise you to read the book and see the movie and play the game based on it, I have a different suggestion: read the book, then play the game that isn't based on it. I leave the movie up to you.

Score one for the indies. Oddly, the author states "that a story as complex and compelling as Mr. Brown's book cannot be told in a game" ... which makes me wonder if I read the same book they did.

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1 comment:

Patrick Dugan said...

Thats funny. The Da Vinci Code, like Potter, isn't succesful based on its merits as linear text, but based on the excellent game design that lurks beneath the pages.

You know, I think Ima go ahead an make a game with a storytelling experience more complex and compelling than the Da Vinci Code. I mean, thats a much better goal to set than Hamlet on the Holodeck.