I've been with this site for almost four years now, and you don't really realise it as the days go by... but man, there's a lot of really neat stuff in the archives. Like, a lot a lot. Sometimes it's a game that offers an incredibly innovative way of storytelling. Sometimes it's a game that knows just the right level of challenge versus gratification until suddenly it's three in the morning. And sometimes it's just a game that you just, y'know, like, and there's no real need to explain anything more about it. So here, for this week's Vault, are four of my favourite games from ages past. See, it's like I'm a Dickens ghost, only way less effective, and when you're done I still loiter around hogging the remote and cluttering up your shelves with pony figurines!
- Windosill - By now you should probably already know Vectorpark makes cool stuff. If you didn't... Vectorpark makes cool stuff! Only the first half of this stunning little interactive art-sy point-and-click game is free, but don't let that stop you from experiencing it. You, as a little blue toy, journey through a world that gets increasingly more strange and dreamlike as you go along, interacting with your environment in its own peculiar way in order to progress. Windosill has a gorgeous, distinctive style, but what makes it really worth checking out is how effortlessly it sucks you in, creating an atmosphere of wonder that can make you smile as you experiment with the way things work the way few other games can manage... when they even bother to try.
- Every Day the Same Dream - There comes a time in everyone's life, however brief or long, where you feel trapped by routine. Paolo Pedercini's bleak but effective narrative experiment illustrates that point to the extreme as you guide a faceless drone of a man through the endless rhythms of his life, from home to work and back again, desperately searching for any sort of variation or meaning. This is one of those games that has sparked a lot of debate, which means it's one of my favourites, and the interpretations players have given of the ending range from sad to optimistic to surreal. Stylish and swanky in addition to strange and cerebral, this is one of the more unique experiences around, and worth the short time it'll take you to complete.
- Flash Element Tower Defense 2 - A good tower defense game combines just enough complexity to keep things interesting without getting in the way of that "one more round" addictive quality, and Novel Concepts seems to have figured that out quite handily. With cute critters, challenging waves, and varied towers, the game offers a solid difficulty curve that welcomes newcomers to the genre without letting us oldsters feel like it's a walk in the park, and the bright presentation somehow makes it even easier to forget time is flying by. It's the sort of thing you really don't mind grinding on because it's so packed with personality, and proves you don't need a lot of bells and whistles if you've thought your gameplay through.
- Today I Die - Daniel Benmergui's simple but incredibly effective little piece of interactive art is something that has come to mean a lot of things to a lot of people. You begin as a girl sinking to the bottom of the ocean, and the way you move things around and change her environment gradually shifts the narrative, and the tone, until the message is delivered to the player. Optimistic and sappy? Absolutely. But this experimental means of player interaction and storytelling is also exceptionally clever, and somehow manages to make you feel like you have more control over the outcome of the game (and your own life) than some of the more complex titles out there.
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!