I wanted to bring two interest pieces to the forefront today. I’ve yet to finish the first one but the latter I played through with a friend the other day.

Oxenfree

An indie game developed by Night School Studio and one that is roughly 4-5 hours long. I’ve heard it mentioned in several podcasts that I listen to and it always peaked my interests. It’s an adventure game played out as a side scroller but it’s somewhat 3Dish too. It’s a bit like Telltale’s games in that you don’t really do a whole lot gaming, rather than getting the story told to you. The interactive part comes in the way of you deciding what you want to say to all the other characters and it somewhat reflects on the direction the story takes. Not the general direction but some small nuances. So there’s always a dialogue going on between the characters more or less and you decide what you want to say by pushing the corresponding buttons on your controller. It’s very linear and like I said there’s not much interaction to be done but it’s done in a good way so you feel that you’re playing the story. It also helps that it’s not too long because otherwise I fear that the format would lose its appeal. Still I wouldn’t mind playing more games of similar type. All in all it felt like a fresh breeze and I’d say that together with Firewatch it’s one of the most interesting games that I’ve played this year.

oxenfree

11.22.63

Now this is a series that got me hooked from the first time I heard about it. First of all it stars James Franco who’s an actor I really like. Feels like a fun person to be around and I always like the parts he plays. Furthermore we have the concept of time travel and the setting that takes the story to. The plot is this: Jake (James Franco) hangs out in his friend Al’s diner and is settling his divorce with his wife. When they’re done his friend (played by Chris Cooper) comes back from the kitchen looking like hell. Turns out he’s gotten cancer and Jake’s like.. what the fuck has happened man? You were only gone two minutes. Al then goes on to say that there’s this wardrobe that when entered brings you back to the 60s. Jake of course doesn’t believe him but he’s urged on to go inside the wardrobe and see for himself. Naturally all of this turns out to be true (otherwise we wouldn’t have a story to tell, now would we?) and Al goes on to explain that he is trying to use this ‘feature’ of the diner to prevent the murder on JFK. He believes that the world would be a much better place if he wouldn’t have been assassinated.

Now the thing about this time travel wardrobe is that once you go back in time, it doesn’t matter how long you spend there, once you go back only two minutes have passed. And if you enter again all of the things you did back in time gets erased. So you have to start over doing everything you did previously. Despite only two minutes having passed for everyone else in present time, time passes on for you, so you age. That’s why Al got his cancer. While this hasn’t really mattered a whole lot during the four episodes that we’ve seen so far I think it’s still a cool thing. What is furthermore cool is that the setting is the 60s. The clothes, the cars, the surroundings. It’s very, very neat indeed.

So, all in all, highly recommended! I can’t comment on how historically correct it is but so far I enjoy it anyway.

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(021216 ) James Franco in "11.23.63" Photo courtesy of Hulu

(021216 ) James Franco in “11.23.63” Photo courtesy of Hulu

sarah-gadon

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