Joe – World of Goo
I’ve spoken before, probably more than is totally appropriate, about my family and how they’ve changed and shaped my gaming life. From my father playing through Bloodwych
on the Amiga A500+ with me on his shoulder to me introducing my sisters to The Secret of Monkey Island
series, my gaming history has been defined not by what I’ve played but who I’ve played with.
That’s something which has carried on throughout my life too and my choice in games has changed almost as much as my gaming buddies have. The one constant has been the fact that I’ve always built relationships with people through a keyboard or controller.
When I sat down to write my segment for this article I didn’t have a firm idea what I’d put down on paper, though I did have a vague desire to talk about my (still) ongoing Baldur’s Gate
challenge or my experiences with The Path
. Last week though I got an experience which blew both those options out of the water when I went back to my parent’s house for a week off pre-Christmas.
World of Goo - Click to Enlarge
The ordeal of being the family geek is something I imagine most bit-tech
and Custom PC readers are familiar with and I’m no different. No sooner had I stepped through the door than I was being bombarded with more requests for help than God gets in a busy week. Could I fix the laptop? What new netbook should my brother buy? Can I make the PC run faster? Why doesn’t the Wii connect to the internet?
It was that last one which turned out to be the significant one as, always prone to meddling, I hoped straight on to the Nintendo Store once I’d connected the Wii to the wireless. I skimmed through the new releases and grabbed a few demos to show to my sisters, brother and parents – plus a few more to keep me entertained should I run out of distractions. One of the first ones I grabbed and forced on to my siblings was the World of Goo
Initial reactions to the game were bemused smiles and frustrated attempts to snatch the controller from whoever was wielding the goo balls at that time. My dad stopped mid-step as he strolled through the living room, coming over to stand with his fists on his hips and assuredly ask what made the game so difficult. When his balloon-supported bridge collapsed on itself moments later my sisters mocked him mercilessly – though their glory didn’t last long.
World of Goo - Click to Enlarge
My younger brother isn’t as big a geek as I am, but he makes up for it in excitability and energy. When my middle sister took a turn on the game and found she had to built a bridge that went up and around a mincing machine to reach the end of the level then he piled on the tension by jumping up and down on the couch and mock-yelling at her to “be careful before you kill us aaalllll!
” His faux-tension proved infectious and before long the whole room was rolling in laughter and pretending that the fate of the world hung on every repositioned goo ball.
It all played out beautifully against my sister too as she giggled so hard that she couldn’t build her bridges straight. Her bridges kept collapsing into the mincer and every time she’d look around with a face full of guilt and giggles and I marvelled how my family, which is so large there’s barely any shared interests across the lot of us, was having such a great time with the game. My mum doesn’t even know how to open an IE window and yet even she was chuckling at the sound effects and art style.
In the hardcore games industry there’s a lot of prejudice levelled against all the factors involved here – casual games, the Wii and a general refusal not to treat the medium seriously. Based on how much fun I had playing with a group who’d otherwise be considered non-gamers though, I’d much rather play World of Goo
on the Wii than Empire: Total War
on the PC.