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DF Game Club: Another World (Out Of This World)
Posted: 08 June 2013 04:16 PM
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DOUBLE FINE GAME CLUB: Another World  (starting 15th of June)

The Double Fine Game Club is a community run weekly event where interested gamers play through and come together to discuss what they do and don’t like about a particular game (sort of like a book club, but for games). We usually aim to play one or two hours a week, and we normally have somebody streaming the current game so that those who don’t have the game or don’t feel like playing it again can still feel involved.

Discussion takes place here in the forums and on the Double Fine Game Club home page. Game Club is a very informal weekly chat, and everyone is welcome!

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GAME CLUB SESSIONS
  - 15th June, 09:00PM UTC (click for your time zone): 1st game session (Stream) and general discussion (log)
 

ABOUT THE GAME
  Another World follows the adventure of Lester Chaykin, a physicist who finds himself transported to a harsh and unforgiving alien planet during a science experiment.
 

WHERE TO GET ONLINE
  - Steam (Windows, Mac, 20th anniversary edition - includes Amiga version, soundtrack, making of)
  - Another World Website (Windows, 20th anniversary edition demo)
  - GOG (Windows, Mac, 20th anniversary edition, soundtrack, making of)
  - DotEmu (Windows, 20th anniversary edition, soundtrack, making of)
 

GAME CLUB INFO
  - Double Fine Game Club home page (with webchat, stream and session countdown timer)
  - Game Club IRC: #DFAdventure on irc.foonetic.net (use the link above if you’re not sure)
  - @DFGameClub on Twitter (keep track of announcements)
  - Game Club planning thread

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Posted: 08 June 2013 04:17 PM
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Oh wow, I am super pumped to be doing this one. This is possibly my most favourite game, and was the first title that I ever played which demonstrated that games could be art and carry meaning.

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Posted: 08 June 2013 05:17 PM
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LOVE this game.

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Posted: 09 June 2013 08:00 AM
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This is one of the very few games I consider to be perfect. It’s only like a half hour long if you know what you’re doing, but every screen is a unique, brilliantly designed challenge, the atmosphere is amazing, and it tells a good story without ever uttering a word.

It really is a masterpiece.

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Posted: 09 June 2013 12:16 PM
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Let’s be honest, the art and the techniques which were used are great and partly groundbreaking for their time but the game wasn’t everyone’s cup. I remember people praising the game and talking about it but once they actually were playing, their love cooled down. Another world has it’s memorable place in the history of video games but it isn’t automatically a game people enjoyed playing, actually most people i know never even bothered finishing it.

The disks which looked used were labeled with titles like Bubble Bobble, Lemmings, Turbo Challenge, Pirates, Twintris, Ultima, Dungeon Master, Paradroid, Battle Squadron, ... instead.

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Posted: 09 June 2013 02:31 PM
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taumel - 09 June 2013 12:16 PM

Let’s be honest, the art and the techniques are great and groundbreaking for their time but the game wasn’t everyone’s cup. I remember people praising the game and talking about it but once they actually had to play it, the love cooled down. Another world is a milestone in the history of video games but it isn’t automatically a game people enjoyed playing, actually most people i know never even bothered finishing it. The disks which looked used were labeled with titles like Bubble Bobble, Lemmings, Turbo Challenge, Pirates, Twintris, Ultima, Dungeon Master, Paradroid, Battle Squadron, ... instead.

I don’t think there’s ever been a game that was everyone’s cup of tea, not even ones that are regarded as masterpieces - certainly, nobody has suggested in this thread that Another World is/was so universally loved ^_^

Would love to read some critiques of the game itself (relaying that some people disliked the title enough to copy over it doesn’t bring a lot to the discussion).

The art and rendering were truly groundbreaking though. The techniques Eric used to cram so much game into such a small space are mind blowing considering that for the most part what he pulled off had never been done before. There’s also an amount of awesome in that by using “pixigons” (what we’d regard as vector artwork today), all of the non-background assets where able to be rendered at higher resolutions for the 15th anniversary and subsequent editions without much extra work.

It’s great to see that the original palette has been kept as the game has been re-released. I’m certain that many other developers/publishers would have wanted to spruce up the look and feel, but the subdued tones of the game add an important and atmospheric otherworldliness which I think would have detracted significantly from the title if changed.

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Posted: 09 June 2013 03:26 PM
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Eeeee, one of my favorites! I’ll always remember how I had played this game on my grandparents’ computer back in the early 90s but could never remember the name. My cousins and I used to take turns trying to beat it, we never did back then haha.

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Posted: 09 June 2013 10:19 PM
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@Cheeseness
The difference is between games which you remember and which you enjoy playing and games which you remember but primary admired the esthetics, the great animation concept but less the lack of play abiity and balancing. Another world for many falls into the second category (like a critics favourite).

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Posted: 09 June 2013 11:09 PM
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taumel - 09 June 2013 10:19 PM

@Cheeseness
The difference is between games which you remember and which you enjoy playing and games which you remember but primary admired the esthetics, the great animation concept but less the lack of play abiity and balancing. Another world for many falls into the second category (like a critics favourite).

Not sure what you’re saying there, but my reason for focusing on aesthetics in my response to your post was to support your statement that the game was technically and artistically groundbreaking. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed my more recent Another World playthroughs (twice this year so far) as much as when I first played it (in 1990) and plan to play through again during the week before I stream it on the weekend ^_^

Would still love to hear some more direct critiques. What “many” have to say isn’t very relevant - Game Club is about what perspectives and insights we have as individuals and a community about the game at hand, and less about focusing on what industry/cultural baggage a title may have. If you’re not sure how to frame your thoughts, we’ve been putting together a little rating template that might help smile

I’ll certainly not claim that the game is flawless, and I can certainly agree that its difficulty curve and unforgiving nature can be offputting (I would argue that this supports the game’s setting/theme and is arguably a positive thing though), but I admire its pacing and structure (both from a whole-of-game and plot perspectives), and find the gameplay to be fundamentally enjoyable, varied and often clever.

I’m having difficulty recalling any areas that are specifically “unbalanced” and honestly can’t support the assertion that it lacks playability (accessibility perhaps, but not playability). Can you share specific points that you feel might be lacking in these areas?

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Posted: 09 June 2013 11:37 PM
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The Raydio - 09 June 2013 03:26 PM

Eeeee, one of my favorites! I’ll always remember how I had played this game on my grandparents’ computer back in the early 90s but could never remember the name. My cousins and I used to take turns trying to beat it, we never did back then haha.

I hope you’ll take the time to give it some attention during the week before we come together to discuss it :D

Whilst I agree with what Frogacuda says about each part of the game being great, I feel that it doesn’t fully resonate until you’ve finished it (and the 25th anniversary edition makes now a pretty good time to pick it up!).

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Posted: 10 June 2013 02:48 AM
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@Cheeseness
No idea which version you’re referring to but i did play the Amiga version from 1991, as far as i know this also was the first version ever released.  I can’t comment on any improvements they might have added up to now, so no idea how a iOS port plays today. I only read somewhere that they’ve introduced more checkpoints.

Anyway Another World was very ambitious artsy related (concept, animations, cut scenes, movie like presentation) but the gameplay wasn’t solid. The steering was imprecise, the tolerances weren’t properly choosen. Due to lot’s of dying you really needed to enjoy replaying the same chapters over and over again.

I enjoy if a game doesn’t take me by the hand and let me expore its world and mechanics but this can be done in a fair and reasonable way or by finding things out via trial and error by dying. The game also was rather short and lacked variety. Whoever enjoys Another World shouldn’t moan about Quicktime events.

The game mechanics offered:

Find stuff out by dying very often.
Memorise what should be done.
Try to execute this very precisely in a row.

Without the unique presentation, there isn’t much of a game left which qualifies for being perfect, not 1991, not today.

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Posted: 10 June 2013 03:55 AM
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taumel - 10 June 2013 02:48 AM

@Cheeseness
No idea which version you’re referring to but i did play the Amiga version from 1991, as far as i know this also was the first version ever released.  I can’t comment on any improvements they might have added up to now, so no idea how a iOS port plays today. I only read somewhere that they’ve introduced more checkpoints.

I’ve played every PC version that I’m aware of (starting with the Amiga version through to the 20th anniversary edition which was released on Steam in April). I’m not aware of any increases in the number of checkpoints (but I didn’t check out the additional “modes” that were added, and I can’t say I died a lot).

taumel - 10 June 2013 02:48 AM

The steering was imprecise, the tolerances weren’t properly choosen.

I’ve always found the Amiga version to be the most responsive. I would never have called any of them imprecise though (except the ones that I’ve played via Wine - I can’t base a judgement on that experience though). There are certainly narrow tolerances, but I find it hard to describe that as a direct fault.

taumel - 10 June 2013 02:48 AM

The game also was rather short and lacked variety.

It’s hard to imagine somebody seeing Another World as lacking in variety. Are you certain that you’re talking about the same game? With the core gameplay oscillating between close quarters platforming and tactical gunfights, it’s hard to come away with any sense of stagnation. The ways in which this was presented and implemented had interesting variations as well, with neat innovative sequences such as both chandelier puzzles, the stalactite climbing bit, the assorted rolling-bomb encounters, and the manic pandemonium just prior to the arena.

Beyond that, there are interludes of alternative gameplay (rocking the cage, rolling through the ventilation ducting, swimming through the undgerground caves, piloting the vehicle in the arena, etc.), which provide more variety without significant POV changes than any other title I can think of at the moment, and create a pretty darn rich and immersive experience that prevents the game’s world from feeling limited in what it can present to the player (compared to another awesome game like Flashback, where you never move beyond the interface/control style established within the first 10 minutes of the game).

Can the shortness of a game really be a negative factor? To me, Another World’s length shows refinement, efficiency, polish and a lack of gratuity - all things which are unarguably positive traits. Would I like to play more? Sure. Would the game itself be better if it were longer? Probably not.

Viewing Another World’s brevity as negative would be like criticising Portal for its shortness.

taumel - 10 June 2013 02:48 AM

Due to lot’s of dying you really needed to enjoy replaying the same chapters over and over again [...] Whoever enjoys Another World shouldn’t moan about Quicktime events as well.

I’m looking forward to when we do Dragon’s Lair for Game Club >:D

These things are legitimate gameplay mechanics. That all the kids find it trendy to rag on what they’re calling “quicktime events” (an awful name, as Apple Quicktime was already an established brand when it started being used in gaming circles) these days doesn’t mean that exploration through repetition and rote learning is inherently bad.

taumel - 10 June 2013 02:48 AM

The game mechanics offered:

This list, whilst certainly true for parts of the game, is most definitely incomplete. The parts where ultimate precision and death based trial and error are required are a minority within the game (sure, you spend longer on them, but that’s the point).

It’s totally OK to not like the game, by the way. Not liking a game doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good game and doesn’t have good qualities and sound design behind it though ^_^

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Posted: 10 June 2013 04:20 AM
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I do not dislike the game but i think it has very obvious highs and lows and so it doesn’t qualify as a perfect game for me.

Yep, Quicktime-event sounds rather stupid but the advantage is that most people know what you’re talking about. I still do love the Laserdisc-Arcade of Dragon’s Lair. It’s the best Quicktime-event ;O) game there ever was.

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Posted: 11 June 2013 05:44 PM
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Can’t wait for the stream. I miss this style of game and I’m glad to see it getting some love again with re-releases of Flashback and Oddworld being announced (Now we just need a BLACKTHORNE remake/re-release and we are set! Am I right people!). The great thing about Another World, it’s a game that’s a timeless classic, it was great then and it holds up today. If it was released now-days it would be considered the next indie masterpiece. Then you’d get the internet going Another World>Braid - Great game, can’t wait to relive it again.

Side note/rambling about Quicktime events: I like Quicktime events (Agreed, stupid name) but only when done right and when it’s needed. It seems now a large percentage of games, have QTE as part of a checklist - throwing them in for the sake of it, because they “have to”. But to me it’s just lazy. I respect games like Heavy Rain (even Fahrenheit) cause they tired something different and I can’t wait to see what they do with Beyond Two Souls.

Telltale’s Walking Dead and Capcom’s Asura’s Wrath two other games that spring to mind that I feel do QTEs right. But instead alot of games just go for the “Simon Says push X to move the cutscene bit longer”  It’s nice to have that interaction during these moments, sure. But I think it’s time developers think outside the box and give the player abit more control in the game.

I’m not saying that all QTEs should have these wild crazy actions players need to preform or go away all together. I’d like them to be a bit more enjoyable in games, not just thrown in there for the sake of it.

Anyway, can’t wait for the stream and can not wait for Dragon’s Lair.

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Posted: 14 June 2013 04:32 PM
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GOG has the 15th Anniversary edition in the extras, after someone complained in the forums.
GOGers are just brilliant.
I sadly have work to do, can’t join in. I haven’t had the time to play it yet.

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Posted: 14 June 2013 04:48 PM
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Another World is available on the Google Play store for Android as well.  I’ve been playing it on a tablet lately.  The controls are a bit awkward at times, but it is a great play option.

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