Thursday, April 21, 2011

Puzzling Messages in Picross 3D

This week at PopMatters, I've written an essay about a puzzle game you've probably all heard of. Its name starts with a "P," it has a quirky sense of humor, and the gameplay consists of challenging logic puzzles that mess with your visual perspective and require a cool head under pressure. That's right: I'm talking about Picross 3D!

Coincidentally, I noticed Patrick Klepek talking about Picross 3D on Twitter the other day. I was both amused and sympathetic as I watched him spiral into a "Just one more!" cycle of cubic obsession. I guess I'm not the only one that one that got hooked on the game.

Like most folks who fancy themselves video game critics, I spend most of my time playing and analyzing games whose narrative structures resemble other traditional media. Most single-player games have a plot structure and characters meant to impart certain themes. Because of this, analysis often stems from how these plot and character-based elements relate to the messages conveyed by the game mechanics and dynamics.

In hopes of breaking out of the old routine, I decided to take a closer look at Picross 3D, a game without a "story." Fortunately, despite not using a plot or dialogue to communicate its messages, the game contains a number of interesting themes. Things spiral off into wacky territory towards the end, as I touch upon everything from Mount Rushmore to industrialism. Sometimes a little creative interpretation is fun; hopefully you enjoy it as much as I did.

1 comment:

  1. I quite like a game without a plot or story, but rather puzzles and challenges - it just feels more enjoyable to me.