Gordo’s Gaming Blog

My adventures in the many worlds of gaming.

Posts Tagged ‘Munch’s Oddyssey

Oddworld’s back!

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I was thrilled to read this morning this article! The Oddworld series of games I fell in love with as a child; Abe’s Oddyssey and Abe’s Exoddus in particular. They were the first games I played that truly evoked a feeling of atmosphere; the low-resolution but beautifully rendered, and 2D but seemingly 3D graphics contriubuted to the amazing style the games had. A parallel universe where a whole race enslaved by the greedy capitalist armless Glukkons. At the time, it spoke to me only as a really fun game, with funny looking and funny talking character. But now, I see how deep it truly was; satiring the world we live in in so many ways – drawing on clichés from other games, films and books. The slave – given a feeling of destiny, and later, given a destiny, given the power to bring down the evil business empire of Rupture Farms and Soulstorm Brewery. A true underdog story; and one that is great fun through and through.Abe

Other features I loved about those two games were the lack of UI! It may sound crazy in an age where often games are judged purely on their UI – but it was a game that didn’t need a UI; and Oddworld Inhabitants were incredibly brave to leave it out completely. You could say the same about Rockstar, for the truly minimalist UI featured in GTA IV. Did I ever miss a UI while playing? Never. Was I glad at some times there was no UI? Absolutely – it allowed me to truly appreciate the beautiful, stylised world put before me. For, as all backgrounds, and most areas in the foreground were simply images, it displayed beautiful landscape and view distance. Another one was ‘GameSpeak’ as it was affectionately called. You could communicate with NPCs in a way I’d never seen before! Your commands allowed you to gain allies, enemies, and, as was the main objective of the game – to save your fellow Mudokons.

But then, years later, disaster struck Oddworld… Munch’s Oddyssey and later Stranger’s Wrath were released. I was going to play them – I even bought them, but I couldn’t do it. I looked on the back of the case, and I saw these 3D worlds, games based on combat, not on puzzles and wit. Games where the developers had spent so much time feeding a graphics-crazy world, that they had neglected what made Abes’ games so special. And I felt sad as I looked at those games, and I continued to feel sad as I took them back to the store. But I know, if I’d played them, it would have been the biggest let-down since realising Santa Claus doesn’t exist. It would ruin the memory of Oddworld, its’ crazy inhabitants, wonderful characters and storylines, and totally immersive world. It was so Odd, it seemed real.

So, you might ask, if I was so disappointed with Munch’s Oddyssey and Stranger’s Wrath, what would I have to look forward to in this new project? Two things: one, is that Oddworld Inhabitant’s took a huge break, of about 3 years, a sabbatical if you will, and I hope they used that time wisely, to reflect, gather their thoughts, and prepare themselves for an awesome new project. The second – time. They’re not rushing this game, just as a fine wine can’t be rushed, they’re now going to work on it slowly, and we’re told not to expect a release for several years. Well, Oddworld, I can wait. I just hope you decide to look long and hard at Abe’s Oddyssey and Abe’s Exoddus; they’re a fine example of what a game should be.

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Written by Gordo

May 27, 2008 at 11:26 am