Saturday, June 22, 2013

Thomas Was Alone: A True Gem The World Should Experience


Telkom has been absolutely shocking lately. I have literally spent the last hour trying to log into my blog so I can spit out a post. Why am I so insistent? I have this awesome track that I have been listening to for said hour, and I must share it with you, whoever or wherever you are.

Thomas Was Alone is an indie game that I received from one of my friends. Briefly (my own defintion), an indie game is basically a game that isn't backed by a fat budget or huge gaming companies. It is a game made by a very small, independent studio, sometimes one or two people alone. Thomas Was Alone as far as I know, was a flash game made by Mike Bithell. I don't know his success story, but I know that said flash game was turned into a fully fledged gem, and a game that has affected me in ways I cannot comprehend.

The premise is simple, you initially control a little red block called Thomas, and you have to travel through each stage to get to a portal on the other side. Heres the thing though, Thomas may be a block, but he has more personality than most people I know in real life. How does a block have personality? Thomas and his quest are narrated quite beautifully, and the narrator does a fantastic job of telling us just how Thomas is feeling and what he is thinking about.

Move along a few levels and you bump into a few different blocks of different shapes and sizes, possessing their own unique personalities and such. Each block also has their own unique set of skills. Claire for example, is the blue square who has super powers! Or at least so she thinks, she merely has the ability to float on water, but that is a super power to her nonetheless. You can only control one block at a time, but you help each other along to reach the portal at the end of the level.

These blocks say didly squat, but you hear what each are feeling thanks to the narrator. You will not believe just how attached you will become to these characters. It is a short game admitedly, taking me only three hours to clock. I finished 85% of this game in one sitting, from about 23:30 till 02:00. I couldn't stop, and I just wanted to make sure that everybody made it to safety. Proof that a game doesn't need big budget or fancy schmancy visuals to impart or invoke emotions such as this one did in me.

What really drives the emotion though is the truly fantastic soundstrack. All composed by David Housden (amazing work dude), it makes the game what it is, sealing it as an epic adventure and making the player smile like an idiot throughout the duration (I could swear I've used this line before somewhere, but hey if the boot fits). One track in particular has been stuck in my head for the last few days. I can forget about it, but merely glancing a thought on it has it back in my eardrums, calming me and making me smile. I youtubed it and to my delight I found a thirty minute extended version. You might think, "THIRTY MINUTES OF THE SAME TUNE?" Yeah I was also like wow... but I have listened to it nearly a dozen times. I just play it and leave it looping in the background. It inspires me and makes me feel like I can do anything. Those damn chimes or whatever they are reverbrate in my heart when I go to sleep and they welcome me when I wake up. I'm quite attached to it, and I don't expect you will feel the same when you hear it. Maybe it reminds me just how much I loved Thomas and his pals, and their quest to fight the system and instil some change :)
Here it is for your listening pleasure:
Don't sit and stare at your screen while listening to it. Crank up that volume and go find a book to read or some work to do. Just let it play and soak your eardrums in the beauty of it all. If you have the time (and even if you don't), if you are a gamer (and even if you are not), I'd highly recommend this game. It is only $10 on Steam, it will only take three hours of your life, and it will make your day that much brighter. There is hope for narrative and good story telling. I hope I can contribute and keep this dream alive!


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South Africa
BA English and Communication graduate. I like to write stuff!