Antichamber

The thing that inspired me to try out Antichamber was how psychedelic it seemed. Ironically enough, the same thing is what put me off from the game itself. I exited the game with a sour taste in my mouth and no real desire to come back to it.

It’s always hard to talk about how you don’t like a critically acclaimed game that has received a bunch of awards, especially when that’s an indie title created by one person over a course of four years. Some sort of stigma appears, and people ask how you could possibly not like it, or something like that. This reaction sort of always annoyed me.

However, usually I can argument clearly why I think something of a certain title, and reasonable people agree that it makes sense even if they don’t agree with the opinion. I don’t think I can give precise arguments for Antichamber though. Because it’s an unusual experience, and I found myself on more than one occasion saying to myself, ‘Oh, that’s clever!’ But in the end, I guess it’s just not my cup of tea.

I would say the motto of the game is, quoting The Matrix, ‘There is no spoon.’ Practically nothing is what it seems, and to progress forward you have to find a way to bend reality around you. But not before the spoon that doesn’t exist is going to metaphorically hit you in the head repeatedly. It’s intriguing at first. Enthralling, even. But eventually, it just gets tiring and frustrating.

I got to the point where I wanted there to just be a corridor that I could walk through without having to ‘teleport’ by moving close to a window, or backtracking to see that nothing is like it was before, or looking at a certain spot so the perspective would change. But after I fell down into a different chamber for the Nth time because the floor wasn’t actually the floor I thought it was, I couldn’t keep playing. I think one important thing missing for me was some atmospheric element beyond the gameplay mechanics, like GLaDOS from Portal for example (doesn’t necessarily have to be a voice-over character, but if you have played Portal, imagine going through the game without GLaDOS’ company, I think it would eventually become tiring too).

And just because I agree that ‘Nothing is true, and everything is permitted’ doesn’t mean that I’m willing to let the perceived notion of reality and truth be constantly snatched away from me. Still, I applaud the author, and it’s a game worth checking out so you could decide for yourself what you think about it.

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Posted on April 18, 2014, in Games and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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