Bars of Black and White

Gregory Weir, the creator of Majesty of Colors, recently released another Flash-based game. (He's been aiming for a game each month.) This time, it's a point-and-click "adventure" vignette with sketchy, two-tone images. Instead of Majesty of Colors' reflective tone, Bars cultivates a sort of confused investigation reminiscent of Memento.

You play a character who can't seem to remember anything beyond sitting alone and playing video games. The goal is to get outside, but you can't remember the last time you did that. Your door is locked, but you don't remember ever having a key.

The game's title implies bar codes, and the game delivers. There are thirty bar codes in all, and a semi-central mechanic involves scanning them to reveal messages. Some of the bar codes are obvious, but some are hidden. Instead of Majesty of Colors' multiple endings, the game tracks how many codes you've scanned. You can try to scan all thirty, but you can also bungle all the way through to the end without ever even finding a scanner.

Why You Should Check This Out: If you live in the northern hemisphere, you're likely itching for a return of warmer weather, and you might be turning into something of a Jack Torrence. Even if you can't go outside and enjoy a warm day, it's nice to at least pretend.

We can talk about the Platonic-cave themes when you get back.

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Comments

Sooo... Umm... Link?

This a really unique idea for an adventure game, it's amazing what he was able to do with simplistic black and white drawings.

LobsterMobster wrote:

Sooo... Umm... Link? :D

What? You're crazy, man. It's right there!

Are the barcodes Code 39? Code 128? PDF417? They didn't go crazy and use Datamatrix, did they?

(In case you couldn't tell, we do a lot of barcode stuff here at work.)

PyromanFO wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

Sooo... Umm... Link? :D

What? You're crazy, man. It's right there! ;)

I agree. It's obvious.

Liked the location of the last barcode. Nice little diversion. Not sure what the end "means" though...

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Are the barcodes Code 39? Code 128? PDF417? They didn't go crazy and use Datamatrix, did they?

(In case you couldn't tell, we do a lot of barcode stuff here at work.)

Spoiler wrote:

[color=white]One's a zebra.[/color]

That was .. weird.

I found my way um... "out" but I had 0 of 30 scanned because I never found the scanner. I found lots of barcodes. That is frustrating considering the amount of exploring I did.
I do like this style of puzzle though. I will try again.

Judge_Digger wrote:

I found my way um... "out" but I had 0 of 30 scanned because I never found the scanner. I found lots of barcodes.

That was my first runthrough as well.

Ha! I figured it out on the replay. Hmm... 29/30 this time.

Neato.
Seems like the number of front page contributors has gone up significantly recently.
I for one vote for a Lobstermobster page dedicated on his real life stories of punishing griefers and exploiters.

boogle wrote:

Neato.
Seems like the number of front page contributors has gone up significantly recently.
I for one vote for a Lobstermobster page dedicated on his real life stories of punishing griefers and exploiters.

If any of those other bums had written anything for today, the count wouldn't have gone up!

boogle wrote:

Neato.
Seems like the number of front page contributors has gone up significantly recently.
I for one vote for a Lobstermobster page dedicated on his real life stories of punishing griefers and exploiters.

If Lobster could write like wordy I would probably enjoy it!*

*Not really, as Lobster beat me in L4D last night**

**This is not a sexual euphemism

Ugh, I hate these "click on the magic part of the screen" garbage games. I lost patience with the guessing and just clicked everywhere on the screen, and even then I didn't find jack except some meds and a bat. I then proceeded to try and bash everything in sight, which of course you can't do. Did I mention I really hate these types of games?

I loved it. I was a little frustrated at first, thinking it was a click-on-the-screen game, but once I figured out the 'colors,' the game just opened up. And although the game mechanics never changed, once I got past the first test, I felt like I was playing a completely different game. I assume this was intentional and used so that the gameplay reflected the story.

Yeah, without the scanner this is a pointless game. With the scanner...

I really liked this game. It starts out with one feel and the mood of the game keeps building until the finale. I especially like how Weir has created a mechanic I'm not used to in the scanner just like he did with the tentacle in Majesty of Colors. I think pretty much every part of the game added something, and this was definitely a case where you play the gameplay is the story of the game.

spoilers wrote:

[color=white]I thought the one puzzle in the game was a little unfair if someone was unfamiliar with the color wheel. I really liked the lamp part.

[/color]

PandaEskimo wrote:

I really liked this game. It starts out with one feel and the mood of the game keeps building until the finale. I especially like how Weir has created a mechanic I'm not used to in the scanner just like he did with the tentacle in Majesty of Colors. I think pretty much every part of the game added something, and this was definitely a case where you play the gameplay is the story of the game.

spoilers wrote:

[color=white]I thought the one puzzle in the game was a little unfair if someone was unfamiliar with the color wheel. I really liked the lamp part.

[/color]

There's a hint in the game that you missed, then.

spoilers wrote:

[color=white]There was a note with the pattern traced on it below the computer screen.

[/color]:)

It was interesting, although quite short.

I liked Majesty of Colour a lot, I think mostly because of its mood, but I didn't like this one very much. The random conspiracy quotes hidden in the barcodes felt cliche and I suppose, not being able to accept that theme, the rest of it felt a little hokey and vague.

Sometimes mystery doesn't conceal depth. Sometimes it just conceals a vacuum.

But then, perhaps I missed something.

wordsmythe wrote:

There's a hint in the game that you missed, then.

spoilers wrote:

[color=white]There was a note with the pattern traced on it below the computer screen.

[/color]:)

Yeah, I saw this, but though it only said,

spoilers wrote:

[color=white]"RGBCYM" or something like that and you had to know what CYM stood for. I don't think anyone who doesn't do at least a little with colors knows cyan/yellow/magenta. I went back and saw the little diagram of what order to trace if you didn't know those colors, but completely missed it the first time.[/color]

I found a puzzle that obviously wanted me to click the colors in the red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow. Except I'm red-green colorblind so I can't tell which is green and which is yellow. Or which is blue and which is magenta for that matter. Boo.

I never even thought of using some color-order pattern. I just mimicked the diagram I found.

But I also went through the first time without finding the scanner.

Got it my first time through 30/30 almost missed the last one till I realized I still had the scanner in my hand. Interesting little game, almost got frustrated in the beginning and quit but like someone else said as soon as I figured out the color wheel It all opened up and I was done in like a minute.

I'm pretty sure that I've played this game already. It was called Portal. The second the barcodes were about lies is when I started humming Still Alive. I really wanted to hear that song through the radio... and at the end.

This was a triumph.
I'm drawing a barcode here.

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*beep*

HUGE SUCCESS.

Mystic Violet wrote:

I'm pretty sure that I've played this game already. It was called Portal.

Deception and hidden notes are common to any game built around escape stories. For my part, I got more of a Brave New World vibe from the game.

Neat game. Good find Wordy. I've been using these little flash games that pop up here at the site as a way to get my more plebian family members into gaming, into thinking that I'm not insane for saying I'm a gamer. My sister in law really loved Crayon Physics. This one might be good or the guys at work... Or maybe the wife. We shall see.

If there's some deep, dark pit of indie games that you all troll please let me know. I'm happy to be a guinea pig. I'm just, well... Too lazy to cruise the internet for things. I do enough of that at work.

I have a pretty bloated Google Reader, but I can try and suss out a few of the feeds if you're interested.

No matter how many times I play this game, I can only find 14 barcodes. I'm holding out on an opinion of this game in case those missing 16 barcodes really heavily impact the story.