Cheap and Dirty Gamer: 400 Years is Worth the Wait
When it comes to gaming, being forced to wait is a sure-fire way to completely lose interest in whatever task your digital alter ego has in front of them. When a developer can make the act of waiting interesting, however, then something peculiar happens to the impatient gamer; they learn patience. That is what 400 years is all about.
400 Years tells the story of a creature that looks a lot like one of those Easter Island statues. It comes to the realization that something horrible is going to happen to the planet in 400 years and must set out on a journey to prevent this calamity from occurring. Unfortunately, he lacks any sort of icon video game skills outside of moving left and right, climbing trees and doing what stone figures do best; wait around for stuff to happen.
As our hero waits (it essentially fast forwards time so you’re really not waiting that long), the environment around it changes to reflect the passage of time. Seasons change, plants grow and the humans that are scampering about begin to learn new technology. This mechanic is used to solve certain environmental puzzles but also makes for some great eye candy as well. For instance, Mr. Easter Island comes to a small pond that he cannot cross without sinking to the bottom. By waiting till winter, he is able to cross the newly frozen body of water and continue on his way. In another instance, a vertical wall blocks his way so he grabs the nearest chestnut, plants it and waits for a climbable tree to grow.
The game is advertised as being experimental in nature and intentionally short, but I for one hope that Scriptwelder (you’ll recognize the name as the creator of the pixel filled nightmare Deep Sleep) takes the concept and fleshes it out further. Despite the fact that the game was incredibly simple and prominently featured a skill that I’m really horrible at, I felt inclined, no compelled to see the adventure to the end. I’m not one to jump on the games as art bandwagon, but this one fits that description quite nicely.
Cheap and Dirty Gamer - Being cheap used to be an insult, but with the economy in the dumps it’s now a survival skill. Being dirty also used to be an insult, but that changed after Christina Aguilera’s song came out. Not all gamers have the funds to play full priced games, but that doesn’t mean that gaming quality has to suffer. There are good free and cheap games everywhere, games specifically made for the sexy survivors among us.