Friday, 24 October 2008

[57] 5 Differences / 6 Differences

I haven't been able to play many video games over the last couple of weeks, because of moving house and being distracted by lots of different things. I have not had the time to commit to the consoles. I'm getting back into it; over the last week I hooked up the Wii to the internet and downloaded Mega Man 9 (brilliant, brutally-difficult nostalgia trip).

To tide me over, I have been playing games on flash game website Kongregate.com. I have been on the site before, mostly to play the idiosyncratic, bite-sized blockbusters that have been plugged on big gaming blogs, such as Fancy Pants Adventures, or Flash Portal. However, on my more recent visits, I've come across a couple of gems which provide an artistic, inspiring experience different to anything I can recall playing.

Both 5 Differences and 6 Differences, two games by Ivory, recall the 'spot the difference' games from children's puzzle books. However, the high standard of the art on display, which often takes diversions into surrealism, photo-realism and psychedelia, is breath-taking. Each stage, where the player has to spot the right number of differences between two pictures, is in itself a piece of art, with Ivory using subtle animations to at times upset the tranquil proceedings.





The second game in the series adds an extra difference, more developed use of animation, a 'hint' key (which allows the player to skip one difference a level) and additional music from Nine Inch Nails. Both games are wonderful in their intersection between the traditional puzzle game framework, art and ambiance. If distributed at higher resolutions, and projected, I can imagine them providing a meditative experience as 'wallpaper games'. If you're finding yourself stressed out, anxious or overwhelmed, I recommend playing one of Ivory's two Difference games. They will sort you out.





Play 5 Differences here.
Play 6 Differences here.
Visit Ivory's profile on Kongregate.com here.
Visit Ivory's personal website here.

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