Steam Backlog Bonanza – Antichamber

494 words.

Yesterday I tried a game called Antichamber from my Steam backlog. I played for an hour and a half, an almost unprecedented marathon for me in a first look at a game. It’s an indie game that I (apparently, because of course I have no memory of this) got for $5 in 2013, and it took me six years to actually play it.

It's really, really hard to find a representative screenshot for this game.

It’s a really fascinating experience to play Antichamber. I wouldn’t precisely call it a “game,” although there are some puzzles to solve. It is somewhat in the vein of Portal, in the sense that you roam around an environment and try to figure out how to proceed past the obstacles. But there aren’t nearly as many puzzles as Portal, it is more like an exploration game with occasional puzzles.

The environment is unique. I can’t think of any other game I’ve played quite like it. It’s a lot of really interesting visual stimuli along with a soothing soundtrack and sound effects. It’s a very Zen experience. I had a really hard time finding screenshots that represent the game, because at different times the game looks radically different. Sometimes it’s black on white. Sometimes it’s white on black. Sometimes there’s color everywhere. Sometimes there’s no color anywhere. Sometimes there’s movement and activity. Sometimes it’s completely flat and empty.

When you run the game, it puts you immediately inside a 3D environment. The settings for the game are inside and part of the environment. You face a wall and point at settings for resolution and sound effects and click on them to change them. I can’t offhand think of any other game I’ve seen where the game’s settings were part of the game environment.

There are only a handful of controls. Movement with WASD, jumping with spacebar, and walking with shift. You can also point and click things with the left and right mouse button. That’s basically it.

The in-game settings wall.

Overall I liked it. But it’s not the kind of game that has much replay value. You play it once, enjoy the experience, and then put it away forever.

The only real negative I experienced was it gave me a bit of a headache after a time. It’s a first-person perspective and a very high-contrast game, and there are a lot of visual tricks and optical illusions that get overwhelming after a while.

But otherwise, it was really interesting. A nice break from the same-old, same-old that you get with every other game. It was definitely worth the $5 I paid.

Previously on the Steam Backlog Bonanza: Lord of the Rings: War in the North.

Production Notes: Nothing to say, really. Everything seemed to work adequately. Except I realized halfway through that I forgot to make a “be right back” scene in OBS Studio.

This is my Blaugust post for July 31st, 2019, the fourth day of Prep Week.

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