Vesper.5, a game that makes you think.

I am now twenty turns into the game Vesper.5 (Brough, 2012) in which you can only make one move every day. The concept is rather interesting and adheres to mechanics like daily quests in MMO’s or the waiting time in Facebook and other social network games and makes you wonder about how important progression is. There is a certain duality present in the game. On the one hand it is frustrating that you can only move one step every day and the only thing left after that is looking at your lazy ass avatar that sat down in its place and listening to the background sound. On the other hand, the next step takes only a few seconds to perform every day and therefore playing it does not impede your daily schedule very much. You can just move a step and then close the game. It kind of works like an advent calendar where you get to open up a new number every day. The only thing that differs here is that the end is not (yet) revealed or visible. The only screen visible is the one with your avatar in the middle and if you move enough steps the screen will scroll, keeping your avatar centered.

The duality between playing and not playing also mocks whether or not this is actually a game. In a sense it might even be more of a game about gaming than a game itself. It adheres to the compulsive sense of seeing things through to the end and the addictiveness of play itself. Regular players often report thinking about their games during the times that they are away from it, thinking about how to tackle a possible problem or thinking of a new strategy to try. This game mocks that feeling, because it both asks you to come back and give the game attention every day, but also provides no real way of influencing the game play. A wrong choice can only be corrected the next day, and as the choices itself are few, there is not much to think about during the off-time.

All in all, this game makes you wonder about your own gaming behavior and your own playing style. And I truly can’t wait to see what the designer has planned for me ahead. My only concern is that it might be too linear to truly surprise me in the end. But as of now, there is no way of knowing without cheating. Something that I do not intend before I played it out myself. In the mean time, you should all try it!



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