The GWJ Adventure Game Club - Game 26: Kentucky Route Zero

Kentucky Route Zero (2013-2020)

IMAGE(https://cdn.cloudflare.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/231200/header.jpg)

This point-and-click adventure game developed by Cardboard Computer and published by Annapurna Interactive has been a long time in the making. First revealed in 2011 via Kickstarter, the first of five acts was released in January 2013 and the last in January 2020. Fully text driven, the game's focus is storytelling and atmosphere. You won't find any chicken with a pulley in the middle puzzles here!

You can find the wikipedia page here, usual spoiler warning apply. How Long to Beat estimates about 9 hours to completion. Available platforms are
Linux, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One.

The main thread is right this way. We'll be playing Kentucky Route Zero in December 2020, with an extra month for wiggle room.

I played this earlier this year, when the last episode came out. Wonderful game, very unique. I look forward to hearing what people think.

Also, just in case, KR0 was given away on Amazon Prime / Twitch Prime a long time ago so may already have it there.

I’m partway through this game. Three episodes in mb? There were some funny one off moments and an incredible atmosphere but it hadn’t lived upto the hype when I left off. This is an incentive to get the last episodes played.

One episode in and some of the interstitials are done, so I'll be hitting this hard!

Pink Stripes wrote:

I played this earlier this year, when the last episode came out. Wonderful game, very unique. I look forward to hearing what people think.
Also, just in case, KR0 was given away on Amazon Prime / Twitch Prime a long time ago so may already have it there.

That was back in 2017 and apparently, I missed it! Oops.

Higgledy wrote:

I’m partway through this game. Three episodes in mb? There were some funny one off moments and an incredible atmosphere but it hadn’t lived upto the hype when I left off. This is an incentive to get the last episodes played.

FWIW, I think Episode 4 is the best part of the game, but I don't want to say too much before people have had the chance to play through.

I started playing KR0 around this time last year, I still need to play the last chapter and all the in-between extras that have now been added into the complete game. I'm not sure if I will start over but will definitely complete it with the club. I've enjoyed it a lot so far.

Well, now I know my 3 games I'll be playing in January are (KR0 took the last open slot). I highly doubt I'll get to it before then, unfortunately, but I'm certainly looking forward to the experience!

According to Steam, I last played Kentucky Route 0 on July 27, 2013. Perhaps I'll finally get back to it.

Aristophan wrote:

According to Steam, I last played Kentucky Route 0 on July 27, 2013. Perhaps I'll finally get back to it.

Was that when episode 3 or 4 came out? xD

Third Floor. Bears.

I had forgotten I'd already posted in the thread to follow it. Somehow missed it in my "Recent" section hahaha.

Episode 2 is done since last night.

Looking forward to some more driving down the Zero.

Spoiler:

I love the subtle spookiness of this game. It is very reminiscent of the best urban fantasy and the darker side of Latin American Magic Realism... There's even stuff that reminds me of William Gibson's style in a less tech-skewed manner. There are bits that recall Eerie Indiana (the show) in my head. It's just been a great experience so far.

As someone who is from Latin America and has read some of that literature, I do love seeing magical realism themes in a well-done narrative videogame. The part that I found kinda cringy is that they throw random Spanish names related to magical realism authors like "Marquez" on a road or a town. It's just an unnecessary reference. If someone doesn't know the authors, they won't catch the reference. If someone knows the authors, they will notice the themes without a name stamp on them.

Pink Stripes wrote:

As someone who is from Latin America and has read some of that literature, I do love seeing magical realism themes in a well-done narrative videogame. The part that I found kinda cringy is that they throw random Spanish names related to magical realism authors like "Marquez" on a road or a town. It's just an unnecessary reference. If someone doesn't know the authors, they won't catch the reference. If someone knows the authors, they will notice the themes without a name stamp on them.

I think I get what you mean - being Costa Rican myself, reading the authors the game name-drops here and there was our bread and butter in elementary school - and yeah, it could be seen are cringy... and yet maybe not so much if you think about it as if it were some kind of self-referential Easter egg as it happens with lots of other productions across various media. It's certainly not nuanced in that sense, and it felt to me more as an homage, but I can appreciate it as what might be considered for some a gateway piece of media/art; KR0 might get some people interested in finding out more about its themes, inspiration, and name-drops, and thus open up a whole new world of art to explore.

Okay folks, I have to come clean here:

I don't think I'll actually play KR0 this month.

Aside from the fact that I haven't even gotten around to purchasing the game yet, between wrapping up Outer Wilds and Hades which I started in November for Extra Life and the GOTY, I just don't have enough hours in the day. Maybe if I could clone myself...

HOWEVER! I'm very curious to know how y'all are getting along with it!! Drop us a line, tell us where you're at!

Oh. I still have time in the official month. That’s good. I want to get this played.

Oh, for sure, today's only the 13th, still plenty of time. Well... theoretically, because time sure flies.

It really does!

Fired the game up last night after many months of playing other stuff and found the truck parked outside a bar. I wasn’t sure if I’d been in the bar and was about to leave on new adventures or if I’d saved just before going into the bar. After a bit of random driving about I decided it was the latter and headed in where I promptly had one of the best experiences I’ve had in the game.

Spoiler:

The band singing with me choosing some lyrics. It helped that the music sounded very much like it could have been from one of my favourite eras.

I’m back into the games world and singular atmosphere. It’ll be ideal if I can finish the game over Christmas.

PSN sale ended on this just before it got the nod for this month's club pick. After kind of nominating it I was hoping it would go on sale again somewhere in time to play along, and it has on Switch today, yay. Downloading...

Finished the game. They found their voice in the last two chapters, which were phenomenal. Early chapters felt like a surreal and lackadaisical (I’ve never seen that written down. So many ‘a’s) point and click adventure. It had a great sense of style and amusing moments but it didn’t live up to the hype I was hearing from others who’d played it. The last two chapters are intensely atmospheric and handled in a unique way that, gamer angst aside, (i.e. me thinking, ‘when’s this bit going to end? Have I done the things I need to do to move on to the next part of the game?’) was unique, admirably economical and extremely effective.

Somewhere between chapters 3 and 4 I ended up at a chapter select screen and there was a big leap in the story so I don’t know if I missed the end of a chapter or if the story does make that leap. I’m not going to check because I like the experience I had and the mysteries it leaves behind.

In many ways the game reminds me of Thomas Pynchon‘s Gravity’s Rainbow which has a similar loose connection to the conventions of story telling.

That sounds absolutely amazing, Higgledy, I'm glad you enjoyed it so much, and you're making it sounds so very special.

So, I've been trucking along with the game an am about to start the fifth and final installment. Act III and IV were very interesting, but my experience was somewhat tarnished by bugs where the game does not offer prompts at all when it's supposed to and it basically locks my progress. Not sure I have the patience to do a restart on the final bits of the game if it happens in Act V.

About to begin Act III myself. The interlude between II and III was....strange. And long.

I'm so lost about so many things. Kind of like I'm stuck on the Zero.