Pin It
Favorite

The Player 

by Marty Demarest & r & & r & Paradise; Rated Teen; PC & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & have no idea who Ann Smith is. After an airplane crash in Africa, she lost her memory. Now I'm helping her find it. I've watched her lie in bed and bond with a black leopard. I've defended her honor among angry desert tribesmen. I've even helped her change clothes and put on perfume. But I'm no closer to Paradise's heroine than I was when I began the game.


Paradise is the latest in a long line of videogames in which the main character begins by not knowing who they are. It's a popular formula because it places me in the same situation as the protagonist. In order for the game to make any sense at all, I need to recover their identity. In Ann Smith's case, that means I'm destined to spend upwards of a dozen hours assisting the love child of Halle Berry and Winona Ryder. Dressed like an archaeologist, she trudges around the fictional African country of Maurania listening to music that makes it loudly obvious that, if nothing else, Paradise is a multicultural videogame. The locals even sound like they come from Southern California.


Occasionally I'm allowed to play as Ann's companion leopard, roaming around less lavish versions of the game's environments. But the second time I took command of the cat, I got stuck between two trees and had to restart my computer. Most of the time I'm watching Ann from a cold, objective distance as she pokes through broad sweeping scenes. The details of these expeditions should build a complete picture of the world of Paradise in my mind. But the objects that Ann finds, as well as the goals of the game's various puzzles, often have nothing to do with the setting. I'm required to find keys or do meaningless activities such as developing film, which I can do in hundreds of other videogames (as well as in the real world).


Early in the game I was informed that a local animal eats "roots and tubas." (So that explains why there are no brass bands in Maurania.) Later I picked up a bunch of leaves that was identified only as "OBJECT_A02515C04_PLANT2." I think somebody's computer code is showing. Maybe the game's designer, Benoit Sokal, was too busy negotiating the number of times his name would appear on Paradise's packaging (six) to make sure the game actually worked. If he doesn't care about the world of Ann Smith, I think I'll stop caring, too.





THE GOOD: Taken by themselves, the images in Paradise suggest a fascinating story. I encounter tribes of tree-dwellers who "bury" their mummified dead on pikes below their tree houses. I even begin the game imprisoned in a harem. As pictures, they have potential.





THE BAD: The setting, story and characters are always contradicting each other. The pictures show details that appear in one view and are gone in another. The Mauranians act unconcerned about the revolution raging through their country. And when she's in a hurry, Ann can pass right through the body of any other person onscreen.





THE BOTTOM LINE: Playing Paradise is like experiencing an African vacation through misspelled postcards and malfunctioning souvenirs.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Crash > Click > Cash
  • Crash > Click > Cash

    Lawyers and chiropractors already have your name, your address and the police report from your car accident — and they want you to hire them
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Starting Small
  • Starting Small

    A village of tiny houses in Spokane Valley could serve as a model for fighting homelessness in the region
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Drastic Action
  • Drastic Action

    Spokane among seven school districts sued by State Superintendent of Public Instruction; plus, trio of police-chief finalists are in town
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Blacktop BBQ & Beer Garden

Blacktop BBQ & Beer Garden @ Steam Plant Square

Sat., July 23, 5-10 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Lane Ends Ahead

    Spokane wants to improve a mile-long section of Monroe — but that means taking away two lanes
    • Jul 7, 2016
  • Too Smart for School

    What happens when a 12-year-old prodigy tries to go to college in Spokane?
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

green zone


marijuana


Briefs


election 2016


trail mix


Readers also liked…

  • A New Voice
  • A New Voice

    The Black Lens, continues Spokane's long tradition of African-American publications
    • Jan 21, 2015
  • Screw Big Cities
  • Screw Big Cities

    A mid-sized manifesto
    • Dec 3, 2014

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation