Sleep Is Death gives us a new way to play

I don’t play many games that aren’t on a console but every so often my attention is peaked by something. In this case it’s a game called Sleep Is Death by indie creator Jason Rohrer (the dude who made The Passage).

There is quite a bit of hype surrounding this game and you’ve probably heard words like “innovative” and “limitless possibilities” thrown around about games before. The interesting thing is that in this case, it’s true. Sleep Is Death is for 2 players, one playing the “controller” of the game world and the other being the player exploring the world. The player has a 30 second timer in which to move, pick something up, speak to someone or say something. The game, in turn, reacts to whatever it is you do. But it’s not the game itself reacting it is the “controller” – the other player. This means that you literally can do nearly anything and get a response from the game. Think about it. In how many other games can you say what you want or smash what you want or kill what you want and actually have the game react specifically to what you did? The entire problem of intelligent design in games is wiped away by simply putting another human in control of the environment.

The controller interface is pretty easy to understand – it’s mainly drag and drop. The simple sprite based art means that new characters, objects and environments can be created with astonishing speed. The pared-down art style also means that players remain focused on the story without getting distracted by how “good” things look. This is important when you have only 30 seconds in which to create the environment or consequences for the player. There are also prepackaged assets that come with the game (and more available to download) so you don’t have to do all the work yourself if you don’t want to. If you are going to be the controller then you can also create scenes and characters that you can store in the game’s library for future use. The player interface is even simpler; point and click.

There is one very obvious downfall to this game. It depends on the creativity of the controller and the responses of the player. Even so, you can pretty much guarantee that you won’t know what is going to happen until you sit down to play. Even the controller has to react to the player! How many games can you say that about? If you’re not playing with a friend you can find people to play with at Sidtube where people also upload screenshots of their games and you can find new resources.

You can download Sleep Is Death here – payment is donation based so give what you can afford and support our indie developers!

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