Everything Old is New Again

So, E3 2007 – or some close approximation thereof – is come and gone, and the coolest thing I saw from the comfort of my own desk is this game. It’s called Echochrome, and my minimalist heart loves the sparse black-and-white style and elegant score. The Escher-inspired puzzle gameplay looks pretty tasty as well. At first, I was afraid that the controls might be unwieldy, but on a second viewing, it became clear that the player doesn’t actually control the character. Instead, the character simply always walks forward (and, smartly by the designers, doesn’t die if it reaches a dead-end… that would be a little too hard-core). The player’s job is just to rotate the image so the character can navigate the maze by moving ahead automatically. Brilliant.

Funnily enough, this is not the first platformer (or whatever you want to call it) to be inspired by Esher. In fact, it was not the only innovative game garnering much attention that is actually just an update of an old idea or two. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! The early years of gaming were full of great ideas that were often years (or decades!) before their time. I’m glad I grew up during that very messy period; indeed, I have my own mind set on someday updating one specific classic game from the early ’80s that would be just as fresh today as it was back then.

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