Gamer Limit Banner

Gravity Bone screen2

[Free-Game Friday is a weekly feature in which a writer from the Gamer Limit staff looks at a completely free game and discusses his/her experience with it, allowing you to download it at the end. Feel free to check out our full schedule right here!]

Every once in a while, a game will come along that tells a story in the most obscure way possible.  There will be Charlie Brown’s teacher-style dialogue; the characters will look like they were assembled with building blocks; you will be a spy… I think.  It’s hard to tell what’s going on, honestly.

This time, that game is Gravity Bone.  It’s free, and it’s a sublime gaming experience.

GB is an indie game utilizing the Quake II engine.  Dated, yes, but the style of the levels and characters are such that you won’t even notice.

You should probably play it before I have the opportunity to ruin it for you.  It’s only fifteen minutes long, and you can download it here.  I’ll wait…

Wasn’t that AWESOME?!

The entire game relies upon the gaming conventions that have been forced into you since the first day you picked up a controller: do what the game tells you to do, because there are no other options.

Blindly, you obey your invisible masters.  To what end, though?

Gravity Bone screen1

You start the game in a descending elevator.  You arrive at a party with nothing but a card in your hand.  “Go to the furnace room,” it says.  Why not?

You sneak past a waiter into the Employees Only area, then make your way to the furnace room.  Here, you find a briefcase with further instructions.  You blindly obey.  You put on the disguise and deliver the drink because the briefcase tells you to.

You sneak to the exit, and you beat the level.  You still have no idea what’s going on, but you seem to be progressing, so you keep going.  What’s next?

Level two, you break locks and photograph exploding birds.  Success!  Then you make your way to the exit… and your world is turned upside down.

There is so much more to this game than it lets on.  You explore parties full of well-to-do people while smooth lounge music plays in the background.  The game seems so innocuous, but there’s layer after layer under the surface.

Without spoiling the ending, I can’t figure out whether it’s a critique on the casual evil we perpetrate on others, like the ending of Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog, or if they just wanted to pull the rug out from under their players, or if they merely wanted their game to be different from the sprawling epics that are usually too much exactly what we expect.

Whatever the developer was attempting, it made me think.  It also made me ponder the time we spend on games, and if it’s really all worth it.  In the fifteen minutes you spend experiencing Gravity Bone, you could have played one (just one) match of Call of Duty, or had one (just one) full conversation in Dragon Age: Origins.

Gravity Bone screen3

If I could find a multitude of games that are similar to Gravity Bone‘s length and quality, I don’t know if I’d need any of the 80-hour big boys.  If small games could be this great, incredible bite-sized gaming might be plenty for me.

Unfortunately, they usually aren’t.  Peruse the Xbox Live Indie Games section and pick a few titles at random.  Odds are, the games you’ll pick will be both short AND not very fun.  The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.  Short can still be fun.  Short can still be paradigm-shifting.

Spreading my argument to other art forms, a lot of people enjoyed Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey.  Yet, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” had a much more profound impact on me as a young reader.  I’m not sure if it was the brevity or the clear, simple images, but Frost’s work has always stuck out in my mind.  Perhaps the short length encourages an immediate re-read, enabling it to latch its literary barbs deeper into my subconscious.  It’s the same way with Gravity Bone.

An immediate replay to see if you could do something different proves fruitless.  This isn’t Edmund.  There’s no secret ending.  There’s no happy ending.  There’s just a straightforward narrative that couldn’t have happened any other way.  By eliminating the player’s freedom, by giving him only one choice that he would have made anyway, Blendo Games was able to craft a mini-story with a sharp twist and profound philosophical implications.

At the ending, it’s over.  There’s no Oblivion-style tying up of loose ends.  Game over.  The end.

This game will stick out in my mind as one of the fiercest gaming experiences of my life, because it is like life.

You think you’re finally getting a grip on what’s going on, and then it’s over.  SNAP.  Just like that.

Download.

  1. avatar Chris Carter

    This is pretty much a must play for everyone.

  2. Yep, it’s freaking awesome.

    • avatar Gabriela

      Besides a good push-up bra, there is no cream or herbal rtiual that will lift your breast unfortunately. The only option is a breast lift.If your tummy has loose extra sagging skin’ that does not respond to exercise, then you would need a tummy tuck.Getting the stomach and breast done after birthing ALL of your children is called a “Mommy Makeover”, because those are the areas most affected after pregnancy. I feel your disappointment, as I am a mommy of three. My youngest (and last) child is 19 months and I am getting my boobs done in April. I can’t afford to get my stomach done until 2012 when I should have the money saved up (yup, I have that extra saggy skin that does not respond/shrink even though I do 120 sits ups 5 times a week along with my other stomach exercises).Good Luck and Best Wishes!!

    • avatar Andrea

      I had an appointment with this detisnt at 1:30 I checked in 10 min early. I sat down and waited and waited. about 45 min later i got fed up and left. They never got in touch with me too make another appointment.. Screw ThemVA:F [1.9.7_1111]

  3. avatar Clifton

    Found it to be quite buggy (falling through floor, changing resolution crashes, dieing crashes, ending crashes) which took away from the otherwise intriguing experience. Hard to say whether it has ‘profound philosophical implications’ or just ends the way it does out of irony.

  4. avatar Anonymous

    GUYS THERE ARE JUST 2 LEVELS

  5. avatar Mehmet

    Stop constantly chceking your Breasts or you will make them sore. Check them once a month after your period, in the shower. Soap them well and run your flat hand around your Breast. Learn where all the usual lumps and bumps are. Any new ones, go to a doctor and have them checked. Ask your doctor to check them when you have your usual yearly checkup.The chances of you getting Breast cancer at your age is so slim. Stop thinking about it, it will probably never happen.Just wanting to add for the benefit of the last poster Breast cancer is absolutely possible in a 20 year old. A three year old child has just recently been diagnosed with Breast cancer. In Australia, there have been a number of very high profile women who have been diagnosed with Breast cancer in their 20s. It is a miniscule chance, but the chance exists. Women of all ages should check their Breast each month following their period. Screening mammograms are advised over the age of 50, but in Australia can be utilised over 40 free of charge. Vigilance is important for early detection. However, over chceking and being obsessive about it is not in anyone’s best interests.

Leave a Reply