Monday, December 26, 2005
The Czech Republic-based Amanita Design has just completed the sequel to their game from 2003, Samorost. I'm not really into computer games at all, but I love this and I've gotten my seven-year-old daughter into it--it's quite kid-friendly and she's now obsessed. The designer took photographs of mossy tree stumps and created an alien world in which you must help a hapless little fellow overcome challenges to complete his mission (for example, getting his dog back from some visiting aliens).
I love two things about this game. It's been created with a unique creative vision that invites you to take you time and enjoy the sounds and scenery everywhere you go, similar to the feeling of watching Hayao Miyazaki's Totoro. Second, it's about thinking through problems rather than developing quick mouse skills. There are only two parts in the game that I have to help my daughter with. The rest is just her thinking about how she will create all of the cause-and-effect circumstances to allow the little guy through each challenge. I would encourage my middle school students to play this. I think all kids need practice with this kind of problem-solving, and what better incentive to stick with it than this visually rich environment.
By the way, Samorost 1 and the first chapter of Samorost 2 are free and online. You can download the second chapter for $9.95 (well worth it) and have both chapters of Samorost 2 on you computer. I can't wait for #3.
Link to Samorost 1 and Samorost 2