Tuesday 20 March 2018
Review by Stuart Vivers of "Beckett," a videogame by Simon Meek
Beckett is disturbingly enjoyable. It’s filled with elements that would normally make one squirm; and some probably will. Its narrative is a melancholic, yet insightful tale. Characters are depicted as inanimate objects, giving the player a unique way of visualising them in their minds - recalling their own memories in order to try and build a bigger picture of the object they see represented as a person on screen.
The game uses photographs from the real world in order to construct "Borough" - the fictional city within the game. At first glance the idea of using real world photographs to create a 3D virtual world may seem rather grotesque. With Beckett, however, the game is stylised and created in such a way that the technique actually works in the game's favour. Its language is foul and macabre, exploring various different themes throughout its timeline. The Borough is revealed to the player as a city where "Yellow piss flows in wandering channels among those creamy pockmarks spat from decaying mouths." There is a dark humour which often surfaces throughout the game in various forms. Witty references and downright vulgar character conversations will leave you smirking in an other-wise bleak world.
The dialogue used within the game is dark, vivid and often paired with images and editing effects which enhance their impact even more. Existentialism, memory and death are all explored in various different ways throughout the game, with visual effects and editing are used to enhance the impact of the games language and themes on the player even more. Memorable and rhythmic audio tracks are another way that Beckett absorbs the player into Beckett’s story even more. The tracks are often combined with vibrant, distorted visual effects, creating an even eerier atmosphere which the player feels constantly throughout the game.
About the reviewer
Stuart Vivers is a Junior Interactive Designer at the Glasgow based studio, ISO Design. He recently graduated from Abertay University where he studied game design. His work focuses on conveying history through video games and he enjoys games that are a little bit different than usual. www.stuartvivers.com