Each month, Third Person will take a look at a handful of games from itch.io, a website for independent developers to sell and promote their games, as well as gain feedback and insight on works in progress. The games featured will come from many sources including: games jams, student games, early access, and final releases.
TIE by Tony Nowak is a look at the cyclical nature of work in modern society. From office work to shift work, there can be a sense of deja vu, as days, weeks and even seasons blend into each other without defining markers. Thanks to a gorgeous pixel art style, and very moving music from Meat Analogues, you begin to a get a glimpse into that crushing cycle of capitalistic-fueled work that can crush a person’s individuality. The eponymous “tie” ends up being the thread tying the game together, acting as a marker for the player’s unique nature. It’s stuck with a couple bugs and progression issues but is very much worth a look.
Try to Fall Asleep by AmberDrop will haunt you for long after you close the game in fear. I usually don’t find horror to be too bad, but this game taps into some very real fears. You are tasked with trying to fall asleep to gain access to your dreams which will reveal the truth about your past. You must work against terrifying hallucinations that sneak up on you while in your bed. Every aspect of the scene is set to cultivate fear: a closet door slightly ajar, a long hallway hiding dark manifestations, and the moon as the only sole source of light other than a malfunctioning lamp that shines down through a gnarled tree. Even having the player have to hold down a key to close their eyes becomes a powerful tool for fear. Every noise, every creak while your eyelids are shut can hold otherworldly creatures. You know logically that they are only hallucinations, but they still hold a strong sense of unease that is very real. It’s clever and reminds the player (and this writer) why we used to rely heavily on a night light.
Lox Rain enters a genre that over the years has been heavily saturated in media: zombies. However, thanks to great perspective and a unique art style, it becomes a stand out of the genre in a very short time. The characters are immediately relatable and this short vignette of two strangers driving down a dark road in this apocalypse gives a human element to a very unnatural event. The story here isn’t the “how” or “why” of the predicament of these characters, but instead focuses on who they are and slowly reveals powerful emotions with delicate ease. The writing is fantastic, and this game ended up being my favorite of this roundup.
This short game by Tom Kitchen is only a few minutes long, so I don’t want to say too much. It makes a great use of white space in both visuals and premise to craft a scene so familiar that in the short time you spend with it, it forms a connection. It’s just a small glimpse into a moment in time, but that’s almost exactly what a lot of memories are. We remember the bus stop, the snow, and the snippet of conversation. It is memory come alive.
Seeing stories come to life is a powerful thing, and this game by Indian studio Studio Oleomingus does just that for the writings of Mir UmarHassan. It ventures through his writings and poems, and reveals their nature through beautifully crafted and bright exhibits. There is humor to be found here, and a glance into stories forgotten and tales undertold. It is also a translation of a copy of an archive. Because of this it is a reflection on the protection of creative works, and the preservation of knowledge. The studio is currently working on Somewhere, a full release exploring the art of storytelling further for some time this year. For now, we have this museum which shows us an alternative to the unfortunate colonist aspects of many museums, and instead, lets us spend time with writing that was almost lost entirely.
Growing up in a small town, going to school for graphic and web design and finally moving to Toronto, Colin began to look for a new project and landed on Third Person. He has always had a passion for video games and finally decided to do something about it. Inspired by websites like Giant Bomb, Polygon, and Waypoint, Colin has founded Third Person with the intent of covering games using a mix of the old and the new.
Colin loves to dive into RPGs of all kinds, exploring their worlds and developing his character. Well-crafted stories draw him in too, and he is always on the lookout for a new adventure.
When he's not spending a billion years in a game's character creator, he can be found behind his camera, reading comic books or probably sleeping.
Some of his favorite games: Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen, Alpha Protocol, Mass Effect, Overwatch, Life is Strange, Persona 4