When I first read the title of this latest Electronic Literature piece and realized it was about a guy who fell asleep playing a video game and was then transported into the actual game, I immediately thought of Kid Icarus the old school Nintendo game from the late 80’s. I remember playing this game as a young girl in the midst of my Nintendo craze and haze. I’m a self admitted video game geek and damn proud. To this very day, as a grown adult woman I have all 3 remastered mini consoles of: Nintendo, Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis with over 25 classic games pre programmed inside each console. How friggin’ cool is that!?! My inner ten year old self is literally dying of excitement! Let’s be honest my late 30 year old self is also jumping up and down with glee. As a kid growing up with an older brother and older cousins I was exposed to the new and exciting world of 80’s and 90’s video games early on. From Itari to Vectrex arcade, then on to Nintendo and Sega, I was immediately transfixed by the adventure and images I saw. Of course compared to the dazzling graphics and newer games of today featured on the new PS4, Xbox and Nintendo Switch, the old games I reminisce about and still enjoy playing, pale in comparison to the ultra realistic graphics of the newer games and consoles of today. But there is something to be said for the simpler days of video gaming. Where the story of two Italian plumbers and brothers who were on a mission to save Princess Peach and defeat Bowser. Super Mario Bros instantly became all the rage from this simple premise. Where game ideas and concepts about bass fishing, a big gorilla who sets off on a fun adventure and mischief with his little sidekick and motor bike riding on a small obstacle course could capture ones imagination and joy. This is what I love about being a gamer and why I chose to write about Icurus Needs. The simplicity, the fun, the joy, and the best part, getting lost in an imaginary world even for just a little while, just like Icurus did. I mean it doesn’t get much better than this. We could all use a little fun and adventure right about now.
If I’ve learned anything about my journey into the eclectic and dazzling world of Electronic Literature it’s to expect the unexpected. This was my experience with Icurus Needs. The interface and menu was simple enough. However, I was unable to play the actual game until I Googled it and found it on another gaming website: https://jayisgames.com/games/icarus-needs/. I was able to play the game myself through this website, which I’m glad I did because it enhanced the overall experience for me. After clicking around some I was able to find the two other games mentioned in the network website: Icarus Creeps and Icarus Tangents. I figured if I explored these I would have a better understanding of the game I was about to play. These two cartoons were interesting to say the least. I felt like I was watching a comic book strip come to life, which was pretty rad. I will say I did gain some insights into the author of these Icarus pieces. I wanted to know what made him tick. I can appreciate his quirky ways and contribution’s to the new gaming world via Electronic Literature. Okay, so on to my gaming experience with Icarus Needs. The game was easy to play. Just use the arrows on your keyboard as navigation and walk over various objects to pick them up. There was also a to-do list of sorts on the left hand side of the opening page of the video game. This helped you keep track of the missions you had to complete. Soon you find yourself walking through the various square boxes which to me, each represented a different scene within the video game. Similar I thought to scenes from a book. Ah ha!? This is where the literature part comes into play I thought. Again, being that it was configured with different colored squares that produced different images and words throughout, it made me feel like it was a comic book strip come to life! I thought that was pretty neat! It captured my full attention and sparked my interest to continue on and see what kind of trouble I can get Icarus and myself into.
On the right hand side of the screen every time you walk over a different item it shows up on a list. This made it easy to know what you picked up and what you didn’t. This was important because specific items were needed in order to advance in the game. I also loved the ease of the navigation by just using the arrows. The music was perfect and fit the tone and overall mood of this piece perfectly. I let it play out as I played the game and even now as I’m writing my post I’m letting the music play in the background. The graphics of this piece along with the simple mechanics and sounds reminded me of my old school video games that I mentioned above. The earlier games and consoles of the 80’s and 90’s were similar to the graphics found in Icarus Needs. Overall, this was a fun, interactive story adventure. I love the little thought bubbles and anecdotal conversations and thoughts that appeared throughout the piece. Some of my favorites were when it said Icarus’ Mother warned him not to fall asleep while playing a video game! Oh man, I wish I fell asleep playing Super Mario Bros! I always fantasized about being Princess Peach or Toad (he was my favorite). I also loved Yoshi when he was first introduced to Super Mario Bros in the early 90’s. I wanted to ride and battle Bowser with this cute little green dinosaur by my side! Rescuing the Princess and restoring peace to all the land, while riding off into the sunset. Ugh, how magical, I’m totes jealous of Icarus! The other conversational dialogue I enjoyed reading was when Icarus rides the hot air balloon to go find Kit and he’s asked if he ever dreams of flying but he says no he has a fear of heights, as he’s riding higher and higher up on the hot air balloon. I also love that the story had elements and themes of love because he was on a mission to find his girlfriend Kit who also got stuck in the game. I was determined to help him find Kit and ultimately I did! I also appreciate the fact that the game wasn’t super difficult or too maze like to follow. I believe that can detract from the fun of a game sometimes. It was just a straightforward fun story and adventure, filled with love, mystery, intrigue and suspense. The quote below is from one of the game reviewers from the website I played the game on. I think she summed up Icarus Needs perfectly.
“Sometimes a game this basic doesn’t work well, yet Goodbrey perfectly balances witty remarks with just enough imagination so that it isn’t contrived or forced. Some players might wish for more challenge but I don’t think it’s needed here. Both the gameplay and the story work seamlessly together so neither feels tacked on. Icarus Needs works well in all the ways a game and story should: it holds up as its own character, engaging players and providing a satisfying bit of entertainment. You can smile at the end and say to yourself: This was time well spent. And that’s all we need to enjoy it.”
I totally agree. Now I’m off to play it for the fifth or like tenth time (I seriously need to get a life)! I want to defeat those darn pesky squirrels once and for all! Look proof below that I actually did beat the game, yay! Well, ciao guys, I’m excited for this weeks presentations!