Games That Nobody Plays Anymore: Pixeljunk Eden

I’m terrible sorry for not posting anything during the weekdays. It’s just that I’ve had massive pressure put on me, a journalist should never put his personal life into his work unless necessary (experiences painting the picture). The past week hasn’t just being a pressurized valve ready to pop, it’s probably changed my stance on videogames in general and what we come to expect from them. As the pressure has mounted on me all this week with my exams coming up, it’s just perfect irony for two games to teach me something different. Eon was the first one, a flash game, which I would link to but I can’t be bothered. Eon made me cry. Playing it for six hours straight, with the soothing music, when it was all over I felt some sense of accomplishment. It wasn’t achievements, trophies, gamerscore or something I could show to my friends.  The second was Heavy Rain, which I will talk about tomorrow.

Today though I wish to talk about something. Four o’clock in the afternoon, on Thursday I decided to try the demo on this thing. Having played Pixeljunk Shooter and being wildly buzzed that such a late indy game in 2009 was good enough to be my near-GOTY, I had some expectations from Eden. After playing for five hours straight, I felt slightly warped. The experience is like a drug fuelled hyperactive dreamspace, one of pure imagination, it’s the hardest thing to describe. Once you get into it, the fluidity of the animation and the music itself begins to speak to you. Whispering sweet words in your ear. I’ve never seen ‘arthouse’ games as the next frontier, since most of them tend to put their artistic merits to waste. But in here, I can see that it’s accidental. Eden isn’t the game that makes you cry at near-nothing, like Flower or Eon (I didn’t cry at Flower), it’s the game that has substance to be emotionally involved in. It’s a different type of emotion though, not true self-searching , but something that resonates inside you.

To begin to describe it would be like discussing Shakespeare with Shakespeare himself. It’s the definition of simple, you have lives, you jump, you swing, it’s like Spiderman for three year olds. It takes some amount of skill, but not enough that you wouldn’t be able to put your mother in front of it. After a session or two I played MW2 for a bit, and just couldn’t play it anymore, Eden isn’t addictive it’s just so unique. Like I said before, this week has mounted pressure on me more than any other seven-day slog through hell, and it just so happens to be the week that changes everything. Modern Warfare 2 feels like a cheap knock off, not a fun and addictive multiplayer experience. I just can’t talk to my friends about videogames anymore, they feel too distant, not willing enough to sacrifice their gaming conventions. I don’t feel as a higher power, infact I feel alienated, games like Eden, Eon and Heavy Rain don’t come around often.

It’s hard to make a definite ‘Top Ten of All Time’ gaming list, because it’s always hard to compare them. Eden can’t be compared with Heavy Rain, Shadow of the Colossus can’t be compared with anything. That’s what gets higher up on my ‘top ten’, games which push the boundaries, I even have Mirror’s Edge up there. Yes it was stupidly short and everything except the core gameplay was all over the place. It was trying something different. Eden is on my top ten because it does something different from my entire list, it just does the ‘game’ part well. It isn’t pushing boundaries or re-inventing what it means, it isn’t telling a good story, it’s making you fill in the blanks. A blank canvas.

You could also call it ‘art’. Maybe.

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