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Tycho / on Mon, Oct 22 2007 at 12:15 am

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Darkest Revelations

In case you are wondering, cats apparently need regular maintenance, like cars.  And, like an oil change, this juicing process can be done (I’m told) at home, preferably with the curtains drawn and a couple inches of sawdust laid down.  That’s right: you can wring out your own cat’s asshole.  This is the kind of helpful information you can expect when you visit Penny Arcade.  Don’t everybody run home at once.

I’ve been playing a lot of Prism on the DS, even though the Zelda cartridge seems to squeal as I remove it.  I understand there’s some kind of Ghost Ship?  I forget all of my cares, and also the cares of Princess Zelda, once those beams begin to refract.

They’ve ginned up some ridonculous crap about light eating space monsters to support their gameplay, which is very solid, and requires no extraterrestrial photophiles.  It’s a puzzle game.  When I put pieces of a puzzle together, I never think about how alone each piece must feel, longing only to congregate with similarly knobbed partial images.  So, discard that.  Discard also the truly nasty presentation, no doubt a result of hard time done in already the Mobile and PC Casual markets.  Part these imperfections like tall savannah grass, and gaze into the game’s rich core:  the creation of sometimes very complex circuits.

Inside each puzzle grid, the player is given some combination of Light Emitting Entities, Reflective Mirrors, Splitters, or Prisms.  You must jigger the aforementioned until light of the correct colors is distributed to targets around the edge of the field.  That’s it, and the fun comes from how complicated this process can become.  There are quite a few cooperative puzzles as well - where each player has access to half the grid, and they must work together to route everything.  If you try this mode - and I request that you do so, as you only need one (1) cartridge and a willing accomplice - I recommend that you each turn your DS sideways, so that the UI is along the bottom.  That will make it so that “left” and “right” and “up” and “down” all mean the same thing to each of you.  Trust me, you want this.  The game is hard enough without the horror of fully relative terms.

Prism actually taught me something fairly significant about why I play games, and I think it’s because the gameplay is so clean and the presentation so spartan that I could pick up on it.  I like games that generate communication.  This is why team-based shooters, roleplaying games, and tactical games are my delight - every one of these entails a suite of custom language to describe it, they require constant dialogue, and, most importantly, all other things being equal these games can be won by the efficient use of language.  Working out puzzles together in Prism has a strong logic component, but in large part the challenge was communicating ethereal notions succinctly.

I suppose this is also why I torment you here, thrice weekly: even when playing a game by myself, I am harvesting the experience so that it may be reconstituted here.  So, thank you for reading.  You dignify my leisure hours.

The Playstation 3 in the office has been more than acceptable for playing the sometimes short, often bad games that have arrived on it - but this holiday, with the titles to prove out the claim, I had to “get mine” in the bawdy parlance of the young.  What tipped my hand wasn’t the four hundred dollar system on offer, rather, it was the three hundred and seventy nine dollar model.  These are probably mostly a mail order proposition, but any of those rare twenty gig models the platform launched with got bumped down by the new price.  It’s inexpensive by PS3 standards, but it’s positively cheap for a Blu-Ray device.  Now fully franchised, flexing all the rich benefits of Sony citizenship, you may expect me to be even more brutal in my critique.


(CW)TB out. 


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