While you are at it, add A Town Far Away, Black Hole, and American Splendor to that list, too. All of these served as inspiration for the team of Keys of A GameSpace, an expressive game whose development was lead by French Professor Sébastien Genvo. The story of a young man and the lives around him unfolds in this point-n-click game, with a few puzzles that are elementary to solve. The game keeps you more intrigued about unraveling the character’s past than it does gripping you with gameplay.
I feel that Genvo’s team largely achieves its goal of showing how games can be a major medium of expression. Be forewarned, the topics dealt with in the game are for a mature/adult audience. You guide a man from his childhood to adulthood, help him earn his first kiss, and ultimately find out where the father that abandoned him went to and make a life-altering decision with a pair of scissors.
The music and art is pretty spot-on. A gorgeous piano plays at times; other moods usher in fitting melodies. The colors are lush; however, the animation is a little crude, but not central to the game. I found the faceless protagonist eerie at first, but reconciled that in order to immerse a gamer into the role, it was a smart art design.
My only gripe with the game mechanics is that I had to right-click to select a “hand” motion, left-click to open a door, and then right-click again to walk through the door. Going through doors is a central plot device, and maybe it was a metaphor for people willfully choosing something, but following through with it; however, I just found it slowed down the pace of the game.
I also could have done without the creepy fetus, then again I suppose that says more about me. The English translation also had a few bumps. Most did not disturb the flow of the story, but I felt a few times as if something was lost in translation.
At first after completing the game, I wrestled with the protagonist being a gamer/game developer. I wondered why he couldn’t be just a normal guy neglecting his wife. I felt this would immediately alienate the people that would play the game: namely, gamers. Then I realized that having the story center around a gamer is effective for the point behind Keys of a GameSpace.
I walked away with thinking the lesson is that people have choices in life as they do in games. These choices have consequences. Just as gamers analyze what to do in a situation on a game, they should do so in real life when confronted with certain issues or challenges.
The developers’ thoughts clarify one of take home points : “We also hope that our game will help the victims of psychological distress and that it will make some individuals think twice before they try to commit terrible crimes. These individuals will be able to experience through our game the consequences of their wrongdoings.”
I created what the developers describe as the only possible paradoxical ending out of the four possible ones. Maybe it was because I felt it was a game, just as I wouldn’t in real life jump on a turtle and make it pop out of its shell.
Maybe it was because I don’t think what I did in the game was a crime…
Tell us in the comments below what ending you achieved after you play Keys of A GameSpace (PC only) for free.