The Emotion of People and Place in Nier

Posted by Cha

Nier was one of the cult hits of 2010: clearly not a game for everyone, but still deserving of a place among my favourites. Several things make Nier special, but right now I want to talk about how its towns and cities feel (to me, at least).

The unnamed village Nier calls home is a somewhat idealised rural setting. Green fields extend to the north and south, and the marketplace is active, if not exactly bustling. The background music in the village is tinged with sadness, but always manages to feel like coming home. The waterwheel turns, the farmers fatten their stock, and residents share a drink at the local tavern.


Beginnings / Nier Review

Posted by Cha

June has been a month of set-up and new beginnings for me. Here on Shallow Depths I began by deciding to overhaul the comment system, and ended up redecorating the whole place. I'm still tweaking minor things no one but me will probably ever notice. I'm glad this tendency of mine only applies to my virtual homes or I'd run through a lot of furniture and trimmings.

Meanwhile, my own game review column is starting up on Game People. As Microcosm Gamer I'll be looking at how games recreate elements of the real world, and how they inform my life. A bit wanky arguably, but I happen to enjoy that sort of thing. I know if I tried to write for a more standard review site I would get bored very quickly.


Time Passing

Posted by Cha

If there's one thing that annoys me more than fishing mini-games, it's game mechanics based on real-time instead of game-time.

Having worked through at least some of my Monster Hunter Tri obsession, I returned to Nier this week. Of course, my carefully laid out plants had withered and died while I was away. There is no real need for this. Nothing else in game changes while it's turned off. No one dies because I'm not there to save them, and no one gets annoyed when I leave their errands incomplete for weeks or months. It doesn't really make sense for just one element of a simulation to keep going while the simulation is turned off. It's just a cheap trick to keep me playing, and I don't appreciate it.

I enjoy games, and I hope they can enrich life. But I don't want them to dictate to me how I should spend my time. As someone who often flits between a few games at a time, I don't understand why I should be punished for my preferred gaming behaviour.