the artistry and psychology of gaming

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Hubris

Hubris

Welcome to Gaming on the House; don’t look down and and mind your step! Each week, we’ll be climbing the rooftops of the gaming industry to seek out great experiences that everyone can track down and play, and the best part is they’ll all be free! That’s right; FREE! Gratis. Comp’d. Unbound. Unrestricted. Zero-down. On the House!… we talk about free games here, is my point.

Many may be surprised at how many fantastic games are really out there that everyone can legally enjoy with no monetary commitment. Taking together all the flash and browser games, freeware downloads from the independent scene, speed programming archives, free-to-play business modules, and even promotional re-releases from big name publishers, there’s a never ending supply of great games new and old waiting to be played, and it’s our goal to play them all! So, if you’re strapped for cash or just waiting around for that next big release to hit retail, why not give these games a try? After all, they’re free; what have you got to lose!

This week, we look at a game that’s technically not a game, but it should be, and it kind of is… but not really. Anyway, it’s pretty.

Hubris

Hubris

Fighting the invading blocks has finally led us to the Tetris Homeworld

Genre: Virtual, um… adventurish… well it’s in the first person
Link to Game: http://mclogenog.wordpress.com/holiday-sketch/
Game Info: Developed between terms at University by Andrew Yoder (mclogenog) using the Unreal Development Kit and released as freeware in March 2012.

This is a busy week for the video games industry. E3 is still plugging along with project reveals coming hard and fast in every direction from publishers worldwide. If you’re a gamer, chances are you’ve been glued to your monitors since Monday looking to find out exactly what you’ll be playing this holiday season (and even more likely, you’ve been commenting across the internet on who won the show, who’s clearly going out of business, and what the hell Team Ico could possibly be doing with their time these days). Of course, all of that blogging and refreshing takes a fair amount of time to complete, so it can be difficult to find some satisfying play experiences to fit in. Fortunately, Hubris is a perfect game for this situation. Why? Because it’s neat, it’s simple, and it’ll only take 5 minutes out of your day. Perfect!

Hubris
We appreciate symmetry here at Gaming Symmetry

To quote the developer, Hubris is a game of “visual continuity, but beyond each doorway is a surprise intended to awe the player.” Within Hubris, you’re only task is to move around the 3D landscape provided, starting in a dark, confined alcove, and ending with a sprawling desert landscape. Along the way, Hubris showcases a fascinating art design using a minimal color palette and simplistic line structures. That’s not to say that Hubris is lacking in visuals, as the blocky polygonal structures are arranged in such a way that is quite artful, using depth of field and shading to alter the landscape at every turn. It may be one of the most interesting worlds to spend five minutes in, as you really do start to wonder the sense of purpose to the structure (I assume it’s similar to what people feel when standing around Stonehenge), and the game’s ending certainly teases the much bigger world around it.

Hubris takes its inspiration from the tonality of ancient Egyptian architecture, the sense of scale and foreboding found in the projects of Team Ico, and also the design works of Robert Yang (who has since reviewed the game himself, citing it as “ICO HD on Acid.” A brief narrative was planned along the lines of Dear Esther, however was scrapped. As a design work, Hubris is an aesthetic success, and the level build itself was a great enhancement, as moving room to room to look around first-hand makes the project infinitely more captivating than if it existed in stills alone.

Unfortunately, as a game, it’s simply not there; although it wasn’t necessarily trying to be one in the first place. There is no narrative in place, nor is there really any level of interaction to be had with the world outside of your own visual exploration. The structures are there to be absorbed, but there is simply very little to do, and once you’ve seen it all, the screen will fade to black. You can die (apparently) by falling off a few cliffs, but a few clicks will bring you back to where you were. If Hubris were eventually expanded into a game beyond the design showcase it is right now, it would be a very interesting project to keep an eye on, as it would be great to dive back into this world with an elevated sense of purpose. Plus, I really want to know what’s in that far-off temple at the end. Power Glove? Mirror Shield?

Hubris
Where’s that ghost that guides you through the desert when you need him?

2 Comments

  1. I am intrigued by this; I cannot explain it, but there is something very familiar about this environment. It will most assuredly go on my already massive to-play list.

  2. It almost seems like the spiritual predecessor to Journey, which is available on the PSN. This game will likely take anybody a solid 3 minutes to complete (took me a little bit longer due to playing on my craptastic laptop,) unlike Journey’s 2 hours or so, but it was a nice appetizer for it. The cheap as free price tag was a nice motivator too.

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