One of the things that always bothered me about “artistic games” is that they tend to rely too heavily on childhood. Using retro graphics and gameplay styles to bring me back to an emotionally simpler time then introducing a vulnerable character and placing them in danger. It’s a cheap trick that doesn’t speak to artistry as much as it does emotional manipulation. That’s why it’ll be interesting to see how Oscar from Team Sharkeye develops. Oscar tells the story of a young girl and her stuffed elephant adventuring together through a variety of daydreams that become less and less dreamlike and more akin to horrible reality.
Oscar looks like a traditional 2D platformer that features some decent graphical stylings; that’s an entirely common occurrence these days. However, the developers at Sharkeye promise that Oscar is something more; a game that focuses on empathy and self discovery rather than just progression and thrills, a personal story that the team hopes will connect with the player and take things from gaming to an experience.
It’s a tall order, one that Sharkeye is hoping to raise $40,000 before March 29th via Kickstarterto make happen. The team is comprised of numerous industry vets, so there’s little doubt as to their ability to deliver a product, but it remains to be seen if they can deliver one that I can connect with as an adult.