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Machinarium from Amanita Design marks my return to a genre of videogames I confess has never really grabbed me. I put this down to my brain either, not being wired properly, or being conditioned to approach videogames in a different way.
I do not doubt that many years playing games that rely more on twitch reflexes than contemplative thought has led to moments in Machinarium where I cannot advance without help. I find myself moving my mouse pointer to the upper right corner of the screen to open the little cheaters book. These give access to a walkthrough for the current screen but only after completing a minigame not dissimilar to titles like R-Type. I have to guide a Key to the keyhole, shooting fuzzy creatures and dodging blocks along the way. The game never explicitly disparages me for taking this path, but it does remind me of the type of gamer I have become.
Amanita Design have a great passion for telling stories through this gameplay format but they also know that many gamers today have never had much experience with this genre. Beyond all the visual splendor of the world of Machinarium I love that such a simple element like the cheat book minigame demonstrates an awareness of the game’s place in it’s own culture. Through the cheat book there is a point of entry for gamers like myself and it speaks these words directly to me, “You are not ready to properly beat this game yet, so here is a way to progress using an approach you are more familiar with”. I am a player who won’t be able to complete Machinarium through my skill alone, but I will be able to experience the rich world and interesting story nonetheless. Machinarium is a positive and challenging experience for any twitch gamer who wants to expand their horizons. It is a great entry point for anyone who wished to learn that point-and-click does not always mean aim-and-fire.
The Machinarium website has an online demo of the game and information about picking up the full version
This entry was originally posted on my blog www.binary-swan.com
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