The Beginner’s Guide

Developer: Everything Unlimited | Released: 2015 | Genre: Adventure, Facile

This was a short walking simulator facile adventure again by the same developer that also created The Stanley Parable. His style in level design and narrative was unmistakable right from the first few sentences. But where his previous games had a conscious focus on humor and sarcasm, this game was a little more serious. A least most of the time.

The developer himself narrated consistently all the way through the less then two hours it took to play it through. He told about his friend Coda and the small first person games he created, each presented in a linear manner with usually nothing to do but move forward and listen. Sometimes there was one door switch puzzle that was sometimes repeated, and I even had a rifle two times for a very short time.

There were 17 chapters (including an epilogue) and the levels were amazingly varied.

After starting with an empty Counter-Strike map, the game first ventured into various simpler maps with corridors showing sentences, then a prison, a room with a dialog option meeting with persons sporting cubes as heads, a giant cave with note bubbles, several iterations of the same small map with a well, a house where I had to repeatedly tidy up the bed and clean the table, and much more.

The only slightly annoying sequence was where a floating door in space repeatedly collided with a bridge on a spaceship with blind people. After restarting the very short sequence a few times, the narrator told me how to complete it. And the one puzzle? It was very simple. I instantly figured it out.

The story itself was about how Coda was experimenting with these games, evolving his style, and later becoming depressive. It was told with a narrative that was so sincere that for a while I actually thought it might be a true story. Maybe it really was a collection of his games that he had collected like this. I was even starting to fear that Coda had committed suicide and this was a touching tribute by his friend.

However, as the game progressed it became abundantly clear that the general style and repeated themes was probably designed from scratch and that the narrator was just telling a fictive story. A good one, and with entertaining level ideas, yet I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed.

It would have been so awesome if this had been a true story.

But I liked most of the ideas. How the narrator was constantly talking about the games I was in, like a real developer showing me his latest build on his computer. Sometimes the walls were removed for me to see the entire map design. Mazes and other showstoppers were elegantly bypassed by e.g. skipping time, unlocking doors or adding a bridge on top of it.


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