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Thirty Flights Of Loving and other things awesome

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I just completed it. Well, a few hours ago.


I had no idea what it was (and for the benefit of the experience I suggest anyone who's up for a dip into the unknown - don't read up on it, but just buy it and play it), but as a film buff the format completely blew me away. And yes, I am aware of, but no, I haven't played Gravity Bone.






I loved Dear Esther and I'm a huge fan of all the innovation that's been showing up in games lately in terms of how a story can be told. I hardly care about whether a game fits the criteria of a "game" (a point so many critics have been overly hung up on) as to me the experience is what I'm paying for. Not the challenge or a chance to press buttons or the opportunity to kill someone, but the time and the enrichment of the mind in terms of satisfaction, relaxation and simple entertainment.


As such I, genuinely not having read anything about Thirty, was initially somewhat perplexed when the story just ended (much sooner I might have expected, to be honest). The fact that the game offers a save/load feature made me try out the ending a number of times, but it always ends the same. No problem. Even the 15 minutes I spent playing it felt like they were worth the couple of bucks I paid for it. If for nothing else, then for the sheer fact that the innovation in terms of format was downright inspiring to me.


And then the unexpected happened. I started reading up on what other people made of the game, the story and the format.


And I kept reading. For 3 hours.


I spent 3 hours reading up on something that I played for a quarter of an hour. That's a ratio of 12:1. I felt compelled to try the story again and, being a huge Wong Kar Wai fan, hunt for as many references as I could as I'd picked up on a few of them on my first run. And it was exhilarating.


The Ocean 11ish soundtrack mixed with 60s art noveau style jump cuts to delineate the story and create a very strange atmosphere that hasn't let me go for hours now is not only awesome - it's accomplished so much more than any AAA game I've played in years. Or pretty much any game, for that matter. Well - barring Dear Esther, which literally stuck with me for days.


I can totally understand how one can completely hate Thirty and I guess that's no more unusual than liking or disliking liquorice, but no matter how I look a at it, at least for me, Thirty has provided more bang for buck, thought for food and source of exhilaration than any recent multi-million dollar title with zero aftertaste. True, I haven't really played anything for a few months now, but I honestly consider it one of the most worthwhile purchases in a very very long time. For quick comparison, (quite frankly, surprisingly to myself) I have 121 games on my Steam list.


How about you - did you play the game? How did you react to it?

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