The Day Late and a Dollar Short Gamer: Psychonauts

psychonauts-2
It's like Risk, only fun.

About ten years ago, there was a phenomon known as the adventure game.  Lucas Atrs popped most of the better ones out with the Mokey Island franchise, Grim Fandango and Full Throttle, but ever since George Lucas’ spiral into insanity, nothing more than Star Wars games have been coming out.  Dead money horses are easy to beat.

Then a few years ago, a game came out from Doublefine productions, a company formed after Lucas Arts dropped anyone who had a shred of inginuity or creativity.  They created a game called Psychonauts.

You play Raz, a kid that runs away from the circus to join a psychic training camp.  As the game goes along, you work with the many teachers to earn psychic merit badges which teach how to jump higher, move faster and shoot laser beams out of your brain.

The plot is good, but the places are better.  Every stage takes place in the mind of someone.  Basic training, or basic braining as it is called, takes place in the mind of a crazed military man who spends quite a bit of time yelling at you while you run aroun what can only be viewd as a mental no man’s land.  there is a stage where you play a large monster terrorizing a city filled with anthropromorphic fish, there is a bear that shoots psyic waves at you if you get to close, there is a massive game of Risk where you must convince the pieces to come out of hiding and a deranged dentist who harvests brains.

Adventure games seem to have been pushed down to the wayside lately in favor of the FPS, which in many ways has stifled the game design industry.  Most of the games I see coming out these days are either Gun Shoot Explosion 3 or Colorful Happy Music for the DS.  Or the inevitable Guitar Rock Whatever (those are the most embarassing).

There aren’t clever adventure games anymore.  There’s no game that really makes me laugh while I play it.  I don’t know if this is because gamers are becoming more sugar addled ADD freaks (And if you play on Xbox Live, you can hear them at any time of the day) or if the industry is just dying.  We see it currently in the music industry, a place where things have become cookie-cutter.  Jonas Brothers and Halo, same thing.  If you talked to some kid kicking your ass on Call of Duty, do you think he can tell you where the three warp flutes are in Super Mario 3?  Do they know where the final dungeon is in the first Legend of Zelda?

I guess it’s not an argument I can win, and I can’t change the industry.  But we can keep seeking out these games and giving them our money to produce gems like Psychonauts

You can pick this game up for PC, Xbox Live, PS2 and can be grabbed on Steam.

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