GIMME INDIE GAME: THE HYPER-REAL SURREALITY OF VECTORPARK’S WINDOSILL
Like James ‘presstube/insertsilence’ Paterson, the Flash creations Patrick Smith has been creating over the past five plus years as ‘Vectorpark‘ haven’t quite penetrated the games industry’s consciousness as much as they should have, and maybe fair enough: his earliest creations like Levers and especially later updates like FeedTheHead were as much interactive toys as anything (the line’s blurrier with Park, which initially bears an uncanny thematic resemblance to Amanita‘s later Samorost).
But that’s fully changed with Windosill, Smith’s latest creation, where each single screen has a single goal to progress to the next: namely, finding a single pink cube via simple point/click/drag interactions which will unlock the right-hand door of each diorama.
But even still, it’s not necessarily the rules of the game that are the draw as much as the successively more involved exploration that takes place in each area to get to that block, all a culmination of (and with overt throwbacks to) objects of Smith’s earlier output.
And that exploration wouldn’t be nearly as rewarding were it not for Smith’s ability to somehow have teased out (with the aid, I can only conclude, of some dark, black magic) easily the greatest sense of physicality Flash (still, remember, an essentially 2D toolkit) has ever produced. Everything has such a well defined heft and tension, everything responds to your prodding with just the right amount of ‘squishiness’, that even its most surreal concoctions feel fantastically alive.
The free demo version of the game will get you roundabout halfway through, and, it should be said up front, it’s absolutely worth the $3 pittance Smith asks to continue on to the end, as there’s one single screen — and it kills me to not splash it all over the page here — that so perfectly both bends the rules of the game up to that point and typifies that magically-alive hyper-reality that it’s worth the admission alone.
Download Windosill here, explore Smith’s back catalog via Vectorpark proper, and see more of his traditional art via Smithpixdaily and his now defunct co-edited magazine The Ganzfeld.
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