Let’s take a look at – The Beginner’s Guide (Spoiler Free)

Thanks to better, more affordable tools, Indie development has never been so assessable. It’s easier than ever for people to take their idea and make it a reality. Access to various game engines, and the wealth of knowledge and assistance from the online community, have given us a plethora of games over the last few years that otherwise might not have been. Games that make us laugh, cry, and kill, but above all, they make us feel. While The Beginner’s Guide is fairly short, and lacks the sense of adventure we find in many games, it offers a look into the mind of a developer, and tells a deeply personal and powerful story that is unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

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The Beginner’s Guide was created by Davey Wreden, the mind behind The Stanley Parable.  I went in knowing a little about this game but it’s IMPORTANT that you do not read or research what this game is about before you play it. To have any part of the story spoiled will detract from the experience on offer. The game is a walking simulator, you don’t do a whole lot in terms of puzzle solving or fighting enemies, so spoilers are costly. Don’t let that deter you though, this game is really enjoyable.

Davey is the narrator during the roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes you’ll spend playing The Beginner’s Guide. He tells a story of a fellow “real life” developer and his attempts and journey through game design over a period of 4 years. It starts off simple enough to understand, but starts to take an emotionally charged turn where you, as the player, are starting to make your own deductions based on the levels you encounter, the environment and the narration. This is important as this game is all about interpretation. Yes, you will be given facts that are clear and make sense, but a lot of it is speculation on the player’s part. It’s fascinating because it’s a story of trying to understand a person through their art and creativity.

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You’re going to find a lot of reviews already praising this game for its powerful storytelling and pacing. It’s a game that makes you wonder, interpret and reflect on its protagonist. You may even reflect its meaning against your own life and experiences. It’s fascinating to see a game talk about a topic in such a personal way that you can’t help but draw parallels to your own personal feeling and experiences.

Some links that were provided to me really helped me understand this game and its meaning a little better. Not because I didn’t when I finished, but I wanted to know more. I’m not quite sure what to tell you here though. Do you watch the video and read the blog post first before you play? Well you certainly can, but I think it might give away the meaning of The Beginner’s Guide. If you watch it after, you may understand it all much better and want to go back to really pick up on every detail. I suppose it’s up to you, the player, but I honestly found this information extremely enlightening consuming it after I finished the game.

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Also, playing The Stanley Parable isn’t a bad idea as well because it may provide some insight that could be helpful…. and it’s really just a damn good game.  Really Good.

I’d recommend viewing these links after you finish, but it’s your call.

http://www.galactic-cafe.com/2014/02/game-of-the-year/

Click on* Playing Stories with Davey Wreden

http://livestream.com/accounts/6845410/gamesnow/videos/83818176

Tl:dr – The Beginner’s Guide has a strangely accurate but misleading title for those who have not played it.  It’s more of a story based game with no action and little puzzle solving. It’s a short game, clocking in at about 1 hour and 30 minutes, but is powerful and intriguing. You’ll spend your time learning something deep and personal about the main character in this game, and maybe something about yourself. Overall, don’t read spoilers and go in blind. It’s worth it.

Rating – 9/10

Purchase – Steam £9.99/$9.99

Trailer –

Let’s take a look at … – Knee Deep

I’m new to the genre of graphic adventure/point-and-click type games, so I agreed to give Knee Deep a try to help round out some of my gaming experience. I have to say that despite my skeptical attitude towards a game that didn’t include killing things, this new release from Prologue Games unexpectedly grabbed my interest.

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Set in a run-down, swampy Florida town called Cypress Knee, the story begins with the discovery of an apparent suicide. The body is identified as actor Tag Kern, whose semi-celebrity status stirs up the interest of law enforcement and media. Your job is to play three of these different curious characters and investigate the matter. Romana Teague is a feisty celebrity blogger for Fanrage, out to prove her worth to her boss.  Jack Bellet is a down-and-out newspaper reporter who wants to get the facts. K.C. Gaddis is a private investigator summoned to Cypress Knee especially for this case. Each character has a bit of background to their life stories that creates an interesting dimension to the game.

Game mechanics are very simple. The majority of the game is choosing where to take your conversations. These decisions affect the attitudes of the townspeople you meet, as well as the information they divulge. Interesting bits of gathered information are stored and accessible within the menu system for later reference. Occasionally, you will have the opportunity to submit a blog post as Romana, a newspaper article as Jack, or a police report as K.C. based on the information you obtained.  Choose the spin you want to take on this information- cautious, edgy, or inflammatory. Your choices will again affect your relationships with your boss and the subject of the story. Occasionally, you’ll be presented with a small puzzle to solve, but generally, this game is about conversation and report decisions.

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The graphics are also simple, but the mood they create is perfect. Dark, with mysterious lighting, little extra fluff, and all parts of the games set in what look like theatrical stage sets, this game effectively creates an air of almost creepy mystery. The subtle music adds to this, creating an all-around unique game experience. One aspect I was very grateful for was the lack of voice acting. I think it would have been very distracting to the tone of the game. Like reading a book, it allows you to use a little bit of your own imagination.

So far, Knee Deep has had only one of three total Acts released. The end of Act 1 had a nice plot twist that had me definitely interested in playing through the rest of the game once released. This pleased me, because normally I wouldn’t find much worth in a game that doesn’t include upgrading weapons.

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Overall, I am very pleased with a game that was able to win over my skeptical attitude about a very different genre of games. I recommend this for anyone who wants a laid-back, interesting way to dive into a mystery. I’m looking forward to Acts 2 and 3 being released soon.

Tl;dr – Knee Deep is a point-and-click adventure game that allows you to play three different characters investigating the apparent suicide of a washed-up actor.  Simple yet unique and interesting, you won’t be able to help getting absorbed into a story with an outcome affected by the decisions you make.

Rating – 8/10, for a higher price-point.

Purchase – Steam £22.99 (£19.54 until July 13th)

Trailer –