Wednesday, February 4

No One Has to Die: Nothing Said, Nothing Lost

I seem to have some weird feelings around No One Has to Die.  In the short time playing it and since, I've gone through a lot of topics to write about.  You should play it.  It's not difficult and it incorporates replay into its mechanics, which I'm a huge fan of.  I'm always a fan of when games use uniquely game things in their storytelling.  Anything that can be linked back to Dark Souls seems to make me happy.
No One Has to Die is good in a way I find difficult to write about.  It's a story about four people trapped in a burning building, and you have to choose who will die so the others can live.  Its mechanics are plain and simple, its story is fleshed out and interesting, and it plays with concepts both small and big.  But I don't want to tell you what happens, or how it works.  And maybe that's part of the issue.  I don't mind telling people how a game like The Witcher II works, but is there a reason for that?  I think it's my way of saying how important ignorance is to the experience.  I don't think it matters if you know the hack-and-slash nature of The Witcher, but the mechanics of No One Has to Die are so small and refined that they are everything.
When I look at a game, especially recently, I'm looking for something that grabs my interest, something that makes me want to tell other people about it.  Whether it's good or bad doesn't matter.  It's just if there's something interesting.  I try not to write reviews of the games I play, because you can get reviews anywhere.  I'm not a professional reviewer, and I don't really want to be.  I want to open myself up to all the fascinating aspects of games as a medium, and I want to open up other people to the medium as well.  Sometimes I worry that when I write overlong diatribes about a specific mechanic or theme, I turn people away and make them think that's all the game is.
But No One Has to Die really is worth your time, and it doesn't take very much of it.  It's s small game that has everything it needs to and very little it doesn't.  I'm jealous.  I wish I could say such a thing about any of my own designs.  I know this article is short, but play the game, and I hope you'll see why.

Next time: Super Mario RPG, for real this time.

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