Tuesday, 12 February 2013


Proteus is a game that is only an aesthetic and a mechanic, and as such the goal of playing it is in the playing itself, rather than any achievable sense of completion.  It is the kind of game you play until you are done playing.

The style takes 8-bit (or even earlier) 2D video and audio assets and uses them to populate a world in 3D and high fidelity.  The pixels are large and crisp and the sounds are a generation above PC speaker played on new sound cards.  This throws back to a time when sounds and pixel lumps didn't mean anything until you interacted with them in context, then we would recognise them anywhere.

The mechanic is simple: You walk and you look and the world notices that you are there, and in just being there you play the island like a musical instrument.  This seemingly limited interaction ('just being there'), like in the real non-super-pixel 'nature' (aka 'The Environment', aka where snakes live), is enough to get a kick out of your surroundings.  And just like in that same real non-super-pixel 'nature', 'just being there' is also enough to harass the local wildlife.  Except the owls.  They don't seem to care.  It could be described as an interactive ambient sound generator presented through a game engine.  Actually, that is exactly what it is.

Is the game meant to be simultaneously reminding us of our impact on the natural world as it reminds us of a time in the medium when context was everything?  I don't know, but I can tell you that Proteus is an anagram for 'pot user'.

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