1991’s critically acclaimed 2D adventure game, “Another World”… now on Windows!

image Back in college, there was this one game that had me captivated called “Another World”.  And it wasn’t just me – the resident dorm geek.  I honest to God had guys, girls, sports jocks, everything all watching this game trying to figure out how to solve it’s puzzles and find out “what happened to Lester”.  So much so that when some of us finished parts of the game, we’d have to summarize what had happened and leave it on a piece of paper on my dorm room door for people to read.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?
This game – to this day – is an utter masterpiece.  It’s controls were elegant & intuitive – left, right, up, down, action… THAT’S IT.  The puzzles were ingenious.  The story was epic… so much so that when I finished the game everyone watching behind me cried out, “OHHHHHHH MAN.  That’s all?!?  No more Another World?!?”  What was even more amazing was as a former software engineer, I marvel at how this game was built and designed especially in reflection of how games today are made.  The screenshot is a capture of one of the games first opening interactive sequences.  Max resolution back then was 800×600 & you HAVE to realize a few things:

  • YEAR:  This was 1991.  The computer I ran this on was a 16mhz 80386 with 640k.
  • SIZE:  The game was 1.28MB.  It fit on a single floppy disc.  I’ve got Word .DOC files that are bigger than this, much less a video game.
  • FRAME RATE:  The game moved so smoothly – it was like a movie and with the cinematic cut scenes, it was kinda revolutionary.
  • MUSIC:  The game had actual atmospheric audio & sound effects all throughout.  Even alien language.
  • GAME LENGTH:  The amount of time it took to play through the game wasn’t huge but the puzzles were tough enough that it could take quite a while to complete a level.  It took me more than a a few months to play through off and on.
  • ANIMATION:  Everything generated on the screen was VECTOR based.  This was a first – no one had ever constructed an adventure game made of vectors instead of raster objects & animations until Another World.

imageWHAT WAS “ANOTHER WORLD”?
Produced by Delphine Software, “Another World” was a revolutionary & innovative new game that was effectively a 2D scroller that depended exclusively on vector-based graphics for generating

The story is outlined in the Wikipedia entry but the net of it is a PhD researcher working with a cyclotron attempts to produce antimatter but in the course of events, a lightning strike results in a cataclysmic failure resulting in the mysterious teleportation of our hero to ‘another world’.  Rematerializing underwater, he swims to the top of the pool – lest he be eaten by an unseen tentacle laden creature at the base of the pool – and discovers… well… the world you see above in the photo.  Our hero in the photo has just gotten out of the pool in the picture and in the horizon, there is a “beast w/ red eyes” of sorts that he eventually has to deal with.

CAN I TRY IT?
Thankfully, they’ve put a trial version on the net for people to play… and if you like it, there’s a link to buy it for $8.99.

But what’s cool about the new version is:

  1. WINDOWS – It’s no longer a DOS game but completely ported over to Windows.  What’s neat about this is the game now scales to either full screen or a windowed environment.  Also it’s no longer constrained to 640×480 but rather works at any resolution – remember:  The game is vector–based so it looks GREAT at any resolution and doesn’t pixelate like other raster-based titles.
  2. ENHANCED VISUALS – Originally designed for 80386 computers and a 640k footprint, today’s computers have a bit more power and memory available to them.  So the creator, Eric Chahi made some modifications that improve the graphics for today’s PC’s while maintaining the same vector-based look & feel of the original.  The changes are very subtle like shadows, background detail, & lighting however very noticeable.

If you’re an old time gamer, you really can’t pass this up.  This is a CLASSIC DOS-based game that was amazing, especially for the size of the game. 1.28MB

(For those who care, there was apparently also a port of “Flashback”, a sort of spiritual successor to “Another World” that personally, I never finished because it got boring.  Visually it wasn’t as captivating as “Another World” either. http://arisme.free.fr/CEports/)

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