Gravity Bone

Gravity Bone

Not every game is a 20 hour, epic, big-budget extravaganza. Many great games don't have a marketing budget. A lot of great games don't have a budget, period. They can't count on that 30-second spot during prime time or that giant review placement on IGN's homepage. These games are out there on the edge, hoping some average gamer gives them a shot. There are plenty of great finds out there on the fringe, if you take the time to look. Here at GWJ, we're starting a series we call Fringe Busters, about the games out there on the fringe of the gaming industry--games that may normally go completely unnoticed--but we think they deserve a look.

Case in point: the wonderful First Person Spy game Gravity Bone, by Brendon Chung. Its charming graphics remind me of No One Lives Forever meets Animal Crossing: cubic characters set to a psychedelic color palette. You're dropped into the world of Nuevos Aires where “We provide the pliers and you bring the moxie.” To tell any more about it would be to spoil it. Trust me, it's well worth the free download.

Why You Should Check This Out: Gravity Bone takes game storytelling places it's never been. Click on "new game" and there's no UI, no explanation, just an elevator on a bright gold Love Boat and a card in your hand that sends you to the furnace room. It's a new take on storytelling in games, a slice of narrative that will leave you puzzled and pondering long after you're back, staring at your desktop.

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Comments

Oh and guys, try to keep spoilers out of the comments for the people just checking out the article.

I don't think I agree that Gravity Bone (which I had already played through and quite enjoyed earlier this week) "takes game storytelling places it's never been." The story is extremely minimal and open to interpretation - intentionally so, I'm sure - and at best lays out a compelling framework to be built upon and sets up questions it has no intention of answering about character, setting, objectives, etc.

As for UI-less adventure gaming narrative (and tricky jumps notwithstanding, this is more in the adventure game genre than the FPS or action game genre), that's nothing new. For the first game to throw you in with nothing but your cursor and ask you to figure it out, you're going all the way back to Myst, if not further.

That said, it is a very cool little project that is well worth a download for everybody. Good link to post. I look forward to other games you show us in the future from the "fringe".

The description of the opening scene somehow reminded me of Hacker, a game with no instructions and no real indication of plot, assuming there was one. I suppose what I'm saying is that this sounds like an oldschool adventure game of sorts. I'll give it a try.

Heard about this on Rock, Paper, Shotgun this week and it sounded intriguing, after Certis mentioning it on the Conference Call and this write-up I've hit the download button. Look forward to giving it a bash later.

Great new feature. Will be watching this one closely. Downloading the game now.

Am I stupid because I sat in front of the first door for a good twenty seconds pressing E before I figured out you had to aim the cursor at the door knob?

Huh.

That's all I got after playing it. I think I only really dug it cuz it had the theme to Brazil integrated into it.

Will have a go at it, a mean, only 1 minute download, why not?

The story is extremely minimal and open to interpretation - intentionally so, I'm sure - and at best lays out a compelling framework to be built upon and sets up questions it has no intention of answering about character, setting, objectives, etc.

I don't see how this disqualifies it from being unique. If anything, it frees it up to take risks with the storytelling that most games can't. It's a short story, not a novel. As such, I don't expect each character to have every question answered about them. Storytelling by innuendo instead of outright explanation, thats what I find so unique about Gravity Bone.

A really interesting and charming little game, I would love to see something more come of it. I could imagine a 2-3 hour downloadable game fleshing out some kind of story, and I'd definitely be tempted to buy it.

Hah, great new feature guys , I'll be keeping my eye on this one also.

I really enjoyed gravity bone, it was just what I needed this morning. Short , fun and imho stylish game.

I would hardly say Gravity Bone takes game storytelling "places it's never been" but its still a really good short story all the same.

I'm really glad to see this great game's getting more attention!

What strikes me as interesting is that only a few years ago the only avenue really available to someone to do a project like this, that is to say have one person develop a small, story driven game that could be easily distributed for free, was Inform. That the tools available are getting more sophisticated and branching out beyond text based adventures is really encouraging.

I just beat it and completely agree, it's a very cool little game. For a one man effort I'm quite impressed, and if this is testing the waters for something he could charge for, he has my money. I was definitly left wanting some more out of this, and I hope we see something soon, keep us updated if you hear anything GWJ!

SPOILERS so don't read if you haven't played it.

The birds exploding was hilarious, and is a great touch to cement the unique atmosphere of the game. Also I was definitely impressed with the chase scene. Even though you're just plowing through it there's still a striking amount of level detail that holds up to the rest of the game. The art style is unique and serves to be something memorable that won't soon be forgotten. It's definitely a cute little parody on spy movies, and the ending cut scene was hilarious.

That's really great.

Spoiler wrote:

[color=white]I love running across the big, executive dinner table.[/color]

Just played it and was really impressed. I'm really looking forward to more fringe games. Great feature guys.

Wow that was really cool. It was quick and fun to figure out. Did anyone else feel they had to do everything really quickly? For some reason I rushed through each "mission". And I think it pays homage to brazil with the music as well. really cool. I cant wait for the next fringe game.

SPOILER

And I agree running across the dinner table was awesome.

Awesome new feature. I vote for The Spirit Engine 2 next

Quick tip for the new Coffee Grinders,

To do spoiler tags: [notag]

Spoiler wrote:

Spoilers here

[/notag], and set the text color to white. That way people have to highlight the text to read it.

Not trying to be condescending, just helpful!:)

Lex Cayman wrote:

Quick tip for the new Coffee Grinders,

To do spoiler tags: [notag]

Spoiler wrote:

Spoilers here

[/notag], and set the text color to white. That way people have to highlight the text to read it.

Not trying to be condescending, just helpful!:)

Thanks, I was wondering how to do that.

garion333 wrote:

Awesome new feature. I vote for The Spirit Engine 2 next ;)

Don't worry, it's on the list

Nicely done. The art style was very interesting, and the music and Charlie Brown voices fit well.

It was nice. But as far as story goes, it's really nothing to write home about.
One thing I really liked tough is that's the only game I've ever been able to run at 1920x1200 with trilinear filtering and 16X AA

****SPOILERISH SECTION******
But the ending was unexpected, which is nice.
****END SPOILERISH SECTION******

Tried to play it. I set it to 1680x1050 (so that my monitor won't stretch it all to hell), and half of the initial pop-up in the corner that tells you where to go gets cut off.

And if I hit Escape to go to the menu more than once, the whole thing crashes.

*Legion* wrote:

Tried to play it. I set it to 1680x1050 (so that my monitor won't stretch it all to hell), and half of the initial pop-up in the corner that tells you where to go gets cut off.

And if I hit Escape to go to the menu more than once, the whole thing crashes.

Click your mouse to bring the note up front. Not sure about the Escape crashing thing though.

*Legion* wrote:

Tried to play it. I set it to 1680x1050 (so that my monitor won't stretch it all to hell), and half of the initial pop-up in the corner that tells you where to go gets cut off.

And if I hit Escape to go to the menu more than once, the whole thing crashes.

Yeah this is just the game and actually intentional, left-click (fire) to bring up the card you have equipped so you can read it. It took me a few minutes to figure that one out, too.

I couldn't get the game to run without crashing until after selected run in windows xp sp2 compatibility mode (I am running 64 bit vista) of course I can't remember if any of the other times I had actually gone into the menu section more than once either. HMMMM.

Fun game, and the ending was great.

Oh how brilliant. I enjoyed that immensely. It is a great, great time to be gamer.

*Legion* wrote:

Tried to play it. I set it to 1680x1050 (so that my monitor won't stretch it all to hell), and half of the initial pop-up in the corner that tells you where to go gets cut off.

Yeah, that foxed me for a bit too.

PyromanFO wrote:

Yeah this is just the game and actually intentional, left-click (fire) to bring up the card you have equipped so you can read it. It took me a few minutes to figure that one out, too.

I probably would've figured it out too if I had managed to run the game for more than 30 seconds straight.