ALZ


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Rating: 4.2/5 (114 votes)
| Comments (15) | Views (952)

ALZ

Starchild As Atticus Finch once said, you never really know a man until you walk around in his shoes. ALZ is an interactive art game which literally lets you walk in someone else's shoes, see what they see and understand how they perceive the world. All you can do is press the right [arrow] key to move forward and the [spacebar] when prompted to interact with an object. With its simplified visuals and a minimalistic setting, the game sets the scene effortlessly, unencumbered by an extensive story. There is only the protagonist, taking what seems to be a pleasant stroll to the bus stop. How ALZ goes from that to crushing your spirit in less than two minutes is a stroke of genius. Since it is so very short, giving out any clues would spoil the experience. It's enough to say that the game uses every last of its meagre resources and plays them just right to portray a terrible human condition at the core of our own deepest fears. Before you know it, ALZ will have you staring at the screen in a state of utter dejection, then clicking on "replay", desperately hoping for an alternative ending. It takes real courage to dare to condense such a saddening and complex subject into a small piece of interactive art, but the result is undeniably a sucess, even if it does break your heart.

Play ALZ

15 Comments

SrPilha Author Profile Page March 5, 2014 3:20 PM

Wow. Really unexpected and nicely done.

I went through it once not interacting with anything, and the end worked like a clue... that I interpreted completely wrong.
The whole style of the game (visually and in terms of gameplay) really takes its full meaning after the "reveal".

Congrats to dyl, this is a great first endeavour.

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Nester64 Author Profile Page March 5, 2014 4:40 PM

... It is bad that the review, which can be summed up as "This is a very, very depressing game." made me want to play it more that another style?

Having played it, I can say the review was exactly correct: the story was sad, but the execution was wonderful. Without giving too much away, I can say that the artist perfectly hit the nail on the head concerning the subject matter. The story does not come together until toward the end, but it rapidly clicks together all the pieces like a magnetic jigsaw puzzle. One of the better art game I've played in a while!

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Oh.
Oh, wow. That's... that's just beautiful. Ouch.

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starbeamrainbowlabs Author Profile Page March 6, 2014 11:07 AM

The music fits the game and it's theme really well.

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Ah, so heart-wrenchingly beautiful. It's been awhile since we've gotten one of these ones.

And it's set to Broove as well. I will always remember Heartbeats.

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Cartophile Author Profile Page March 6, 2014 12:52 PM

This is a sensitive and thoughtful presentation.

Alzheimer's runs in my family. My grandma had it very badly, for a long time. My grandfather went to see her in the care home, everyday, to feed her, and make sure someone was there. For the last five years or so, her only interactions with the world were short outbursts of sound, and throwing her plastic drinking glass across the dining room. Her aim got really good after a while.

As she deteriorated, my grandpa's life disintegrated, too. But his devotion to her remained until her end.

The makers of this game clearly know their subject very well, so my heart goes out to them, as this topic if very hard to get your head around.

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Leopardmask Author Profile Page March 7, 2014 10:54 AM

It's not working for me. I'm using Firefox, and the game seemed to load fine but now it's just playing music from a black screen.

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https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnrLT_DgOiK7Leoj0eRHY69GNEFT33XtTU Author Profile Page March 7, 2014 11:27 AM

I'm not actually sure I played the WHOLE game but reached replay.
Almost crashing Flash/Shockwave JUST before you 100% load kinda sucks too.

Some of these games doing this is getting old, especially after literally JUST updating both flash AND shockwave.

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Pathetic: It seems to be becoming a trend, to create little "interactive art" games with a minimum of ideas: "What is this life all about?" etc. I'm not really a big fan of comparing, but if something completely lacks innovation and a idea of its own (and this "game" does in my opinion)althiough it could only work, if it really was innovative: I would give it zero stars, as I gave games like Botanicula (representing the other extreme) 5.

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SrPilha Author Profile Page March 7, 2014 5:24 PM

Michael, I have to srongly disagree with your points here.
This game clearly aimed at tackling only one idea, and it wasn't anything as broad and vage as "What is this life all about?". The single idea it did choose to deal with was actually presented in at least one innovative way: the relation between art style and subject. There are many other creative points to it, but that one easily and demonstrably stands out.

The comparison with Botanicula is really inadequate, as those games aim at very different goals. Botanicula is a beautiful puzzle game. ALZ is a lot more like a picture, a text, or a song about its theme. Not really comparable.

Why make it a game, then? One reason is because in this medium a very big part of the temporality is in control of the player. Things happen at a pace that is not imposed by the artist. Not everything is discovered/seen/read at the same time, in the same order, or even at all for everyone, and that alone already makes for a more engaging (and engaged) experience.
The fact that it's presented as a game with very little information about it also contributes to its effectiveness: the theme is still an unexpected one for the medium (yet another point for innovation). Moreover, the way that theme is brought about only at the very end, resignifying all that preceded it, is a lesson in formal consistency many writers could use.

This particular form, with its particular interactiveness and consequent impact, is typical of videogames. Quite hard to achieve otherwise.

So yeah, if *this* is becoming a trend (which I don't think it is), I'm all for it.

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Newbie97 Author Profile Page March 7, 2014 8:12 PM

No, I agree with Michael. Whenever I hit games in this trend, I come expecting a game. What I end up with is not a game but a movie that requires me to press space or the right arrow key to get through it, and I feel gypped out of an actual gaming experience. This should have just been posted as a movie to save time on programming, and to get more 'views.' Also to be less along the lines of false advertising.

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rococoroecocoa Author Profile Page March 8, 2014 4:01 AM

The careful construction and emotional resonance of ALZ were somewhat undermined by the Evony ad that played alongside it, continuously displaying a massive bosom at the same level as the player character's head.

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For the experience, I like it, it is beautiful. But I also would have to agree it is not even actually interactive art. There is not even a single choice to make or illusion of choices. I played a number of game titles that are focusing on telling reality stories, some have actual choices yet most often it means the message will be obscured by gameplay, some have illusion of choices which most likely the ideal situation, some have no choices at all these ones leave me in wondering if I should give a 5 star or 1 star.

In the end? Game is medium just like a paint is medium. Some people would argue that painting on canvas is more art or beautiful than painting on walls, some don't. So, is this a game? Nope. Is it an interesting story about life? Yes.

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lavalanche Author Profile Page March 9, 2014 8:11 AM

Beautiful

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https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmLJkHy4Xbuswd6LBBwk7GqMupEh_FbB6I Author Profile Page March 10, 2014 2:19 PM

My father passed away from Alzheimer's last Christmas, and this made me cry. So, I believe it succeeded at something.

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