Noby Notes on Games including Flowers and (un)Charts

So a few quick notes on some games I played recently here stateside:

Noby Noby Boy.

At my lovely and generous host David Carlton’s house I played his PS3. I played – no that’s not really the right word I experienced the Playstation Network downloadable game Noby Noby Boy for all of 15 minutes and loved every second. I dropped into David’s game, so I didn’t get any of the brief tutorials explaining what (if anything) you are expected to do and want to do. I purely enjoyed moving around in the world, controlling both ends of Boy independently with the analogue sticks was enough to keep me enthralled until I realised I hadn’t figured out how to ‘eat’ things, which I had seen people do in videos.

I started wreaking havoc on the populations of the planets, discovered things like flying up into the sky by myself as well as shooting eaten things out my rear. I thought it was remarkable how well Noby Noby Boy catered to my complete inexperience unintentionally, since it thought I was David, for all intents and purposes. It also had the most beautiful fiddle/violin based music in one (or a couple) of it’s levels, so that got extra points from me also.

Flower

I enjoyed the casual method of exploration more than I did performing any of the game’s actions to do with the goals of the game. I kind of liked exploring the world, regardless of its colour.

Also, as David pointed out, Flower exposes a very present ‘grass fetish’ in American culture, and specifically supergreen grass. I remarked to him that the yellow grass was just as pretty as the green parts, and in fact in most of Australia for most of the year, grasses are more yellow than they are green.

Uncharted 2

What’s all the fuss about? It’s early days, but I wasn’t seeing the praise that has been lavished on this game. The voice acting is pretty good (Chloe sounds to my ear like an Australian that’s spent time in the UK, if that counts for anything – I know everyone seems a bit confounded by her accent) but the character models seemed like nothing spectacular. David pointed out to me, however, that his TV doesn’t handle full HD well and that it may have been a result of that, so I’ll reserve my judgement in that respect until I’ve either fiddled with it or played it on a full HDTV.

No one plays Uncharted 2 for the shooting, do they? Because it didn’t seem particularly engaging to me (full disclosure: I played it for maybe an hour). Maybe I’m bringing too many expectations to this game – it’s been hyped by pretty much every person I know on twitter who’s opinion about games I listen to. And knowing myself, hype/expectations are the things that are most likely to kill otherwise good experiences. I just can’t stand something being only ‘OK’ when someone’s told me it’s the second coming of Christ.

Tomorrow I’ve got a fair chunk of time to myself to just hang around, so I’ll probably try and do my first GDC related post then. I’m still not really sure what I’m actually here to do (other than the obligatory attend GDC, of course) so it will pay off in the long run to have a bit of a think about it before it all gets underway the day after.