The Snowfield (Or, Why I Need a New Computer)

So a few days ago, I opened up this nice Gamasutra interview with Matthew Weise from MIT’s GAMbit lab, who produced a game about World War I called The Snowfield. The game has been nominated for the Independent Games Festival and promises to be one of the top titles of the show.

The game has a gritty aesthetic fitting with the theme, and opens with a haunting harmonica melody and cinematic fade-in of the title screen.

Unfortunately, that’s about where my experience with it ends because my hardware is so ancient – you need at least a dual core machine to run this (Pentium 4 just doesn’t cut anything these days, and runs The Snowfield at about 6FPS). Looks like I’ll have to borrow a machine to play it or wait until I get a new one.

However, I did gather the primary verbs: walk, pick up, drop, and give. They are clearly trying to produce some sort of positive relationship between the player and NPCs. Looks like there’s a sizable space to explore that’s filled with devastation, but I don’t think it will feel like battlefield tourism based on the interactions. Judging by the screenshots and video, you slowly freeze to death through the course of the game unless you’re near a heat source (hence why Sun Tzu tells us to never launch a campaign in the middle of winter).

Oddly enough, the research statement has everything to do with telling narrative through gameplay and nothing to do with WWI.

Anyway, here’s the trailer:

Hmm… Also makes me wish I’d been at GDC this year. Daniel Pinchbeck will also be there showing off Dear Esther.

If you’re like me and don’t have a good machine, you can also try out Bay12 Games’s World War I Medic (he also authored Dwarf Fortress). I also need to do a writeup on this sometime, so this is more an FYI.

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