Proteus (PS3) and why I don’t like it.

picture via wikipedia, cos I'm lazy like that.I should like Proteus, and it took me a while to realise why I don’t. It’s not that it lacks violence, or is purely exploratory – the bit of Bioshock Infinite before any shooting was my favourite, and I’ve spent more time exploring Arkham City or the many historical locations of Assassin’s Creed than engaging in action. I love exploration, I’m comfortable with the wordless loneliness of Ico, with the solitude of the wasteland in Fallout 3.

So as an idea I find the pure exploration of Proteus appealing, and I’m not an anti-anti-game zealot bothered by the lack of gamey mechanics.

It took me towards my second session with Proteus, falling asleep on the sofa while, on screen, I stood inside a stone circle waiting for the magical flickering that transports the player between the seasons, to realise my problem with the game, and its this:

Proteus is heavily abstracted, an island of simple colours and two dimensional objects. It’s music and sounds are plinky ambient wibbles. It’s a game where you walk between tree shapes and watch a frog like shape bounce along, each bounce scored with a watery plink.

That level of abstraction is so severe that for me it leaves nothing to sink my inquisitive mind into. What I see is what I get out of it – tree shapes, castle shapes, water sky flowers and rain and frog type things.

There’s nothing that requires closer examination, nothing to read, no story to unfold. There’s just… stuff.

Blank stretches of sea and sky have their charms, but there’s a reason why people being books to the beach.

September 4, 2014. Tags: , , . Uncategorized.

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