17.5 - Mini Update

Fellow backlog killers; I am working on the next blog post, but it has been delayed because we had to take our dog in for surgery and have been dealing with that. Yeah, that’s right, I’m a pet guy and am a softie for our dog. Sue me.  In the mean-time, I thought I would show you an effective device Psychonauts uses for revealing the back story of characters.

I actually like this technique and think it works well within the fiction of the game. I had mentioned that in each of the levels one of the items you could collect were repressed memories kept in memory vaults. When these are accessed by delicately pounding them with your fist, they open to reveal viewmaster reels with painful memories of the person who’s mind you are in at the moment. These can be looked at any time to get some interesting exposition about the characters that may otherwise go unnoticed.

[Remember these? Or am I too old?]

Here are a few examples, the first is a little back story about how Raz came to leave his family to attend psychic summer camp:

After is a little back story on Sasha Nein’s past:

I enjoy these abstract little bits that fill in some gaps that you may be wondering about in characters you encounter during the game. It sort of works like a codex from games like Dragon Age Origins, but it is much easier to digest as a short visual experience instead of a text wall. In a game that is just a straight up platformer with no need to really read anything, this approach is much more appropriate than putting ham handed deliveries or text dumps in the game. This is a mistake that many games tend to make, such as the aforementioned Dragon Age which is mostly a visual experience. Sure, there are some dialogue options, but most of the game is tactical combat and listening to characters talk. Sending mixed messages is a great way to ruin the flow of a game and can result in missed content or just annoying moments that a player will just skip. Way to go, Psychonauts.

I haven’t saved all of these, but if you like them I can post these reels for other characters I run across as well. (But I will not 100% everything so I can’t get it all.)

Coming soon is my journey into the mind of a fish. Wait and see!

--Backlog Killer