Jason Nelson, the creator of game, game, game and again game, is back with Alarmingly These Are Not Lovesick Zombies, his latest attempt to dissect abstract ideas through gameplay. Your reaction to that sentence should tell you whether or not to click away. If you're still with me, you should buckle up, its a zany, interesting ride.
Interactive Flash pieces have generally been designed as either games to be played or art to be interpreted. However, the line between game and art has been steadily diffusing, and there are now many offerings where it's not clear whether the author's intended focus was engaging the user in gameplay or immersing them in artful ponderings. One particularly beautiful example is Choice.
Games can do two things really well. They can be Fun, and they can be Not-Fun. Lots of games are Fun and Not-Fun in a mediocre way, and some games are amazingly good at being Fun. But when a game is great at being Not-Fun, the deep play of the mind comes tumbling down the mouse.
Much interactive fiction requires a time commitment of an hour or two, and sometimes quite a bit more. Not so with the text adventure entries in the Commonplace Book project, in which each entrant took a line from a notebook by H. P. Lovecraft and spun it out into a game. This was an international competition, drawing entries in English, French, and Spanish, as well as a couple of graphical point-and-click adventures.
Makibishi Comic is an atmospheric, quirky, and well-drawn point-and-click flash created to promote the Japanese studio... Makibishi! You play the role of Asashin who is searching for five ninjas hidden across five different environments. Each stage is a new and creative area with multiple puzzles and scenes to experience. Think Blue Suburbia meets Hapland and you're ready to roll.
The hand drawn animations and old-school Jazz music soundtrack of Miestas and Menulis set the tone for an experience that is just this side of cool. The simplicity in controls leaves you wishing for something more polished until you realize the environments more than make up for it. Both games create a surreal world interactive art adventure to point-and-click through.