A game designed to squeeze your mind grapes until they ferment.
In the world of Antichamber, nothing is as it seems. Rooms rearrange themselves at will, staircases can loop into infinity, and doors may open only once you look away. Although you will encounter concrete geometrical shapes, the world around you is far from a mathematical truth or constant.
Having not been fortunate enough to play Antichamber yet, I find it challenging to aptly describe exactly what its experience is like. Of course, even those that have played it find themselves in a similar conundrum, as it is a game that defies not just standard gaming conventions, but even logical definitions of our world itself. The short summary: it’s a first-person puzzle game set in an M.C. Escher-inspired (non- Euclidean) world. Its challenges are not merely “find the solution and implement,” but are more focused on the act of learning, exploring, and experimenting in order to better understand this very unusual world.
This focus on learning and changing the way you interpret the world before you is not a surprise, as creator Alexander Bruce has called Antichamber “a game about how people think.” In developing a game so finely-tuned to the response of individual players, Bruce has dedicated a significant amount of the past four years to minute changes based on players’ interactions with the game, including simply watching people play. In an interview with Polygon, Bruce said: “I think about the world in a certain way, so I would build the game assuming that others would think like that too, but every time I showed the game off at conventions I’d realize how wrong many of my assumptions were. Then I’d have to go back and remodel parts of the game based on how people actually interacted with it.”
This constant perfecting and honing of Antichamber‘s experience has earned it plenty of recognition already, including “Technical Excellence” at IndiePub 2010 and IGF 2012, “Best Design” at both FreePlay and IndieCade 2011 and a slew of awards at PAX 2011 and 2012, to name only a fraction of its current awards. I personally think one of the game’s greatest honors is the response of a player at PAX East 2012, reported by Bruce on Twitter: “A guy played Antichamber at PAX East for like 30 minutes, then got up, half fell over, broke my standing banner and stumbled off disoriented.”
If that doesn’t make you want to play this game, I don’t know what will. Everyone else who’s looking forward to stumbling around in the space between Antichamber and real life can do so starting January 31st, via Steam.