This Day In Gaming History: "Limbo" On PC

This Day In Gaming History: "Limbo" On PC

Six years ago today a (then) recently released indie classic made its way to the PC.
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“Limbo” is a strange game. It is a game that, on paper, has many of the trappings of classic video games; a simple color palette, 2D sidescrolling that moves towards the right hand side of the screen, some basic platforming, and puzzle solving. In execution, however, “Limbo” is something far more sinister and moody than any “Mario” title has ever been.

As of writing, on August 2nd 2017, “Limbo’s” release for the PC has turned six years old. Though the game’s original release on X-Box 360 came out in July of 2010, making “Limbo’s” true age to be seven, it wouldn’t be until over a year later that the game would spread from console audiences to computer gamers.

My first experiences with “Limbo” were on the PC version, a Steam purchase out of mild curiosity turned into a true affection for the game and its use of atmosphere. It was a game that didn’t speak to me... literally. There were no speech bubbles or moments of intrusive text, only the menus and some mild instruction on the gameplay and the (admittedly quite simple) control scheme to guide the player. This old school gaming aspect allowed the developers to cut out any extra noise and just focus on the world they were building.

In black and white the silhouettes of children, corpses, and monsters stand even more ominous than some merely gruesome depiction of death might convey. Though there is horror that lurks in the world of “Limbo” the focus is on tension and emotional terror, rather than slasher flick adrenaline. Through extended moments of eerie quiet and the utter loneliness of the whole experience the player is able to emotionally enter the foggy forests and abandoned industrial zones of the game alongside its silent child protagonist.

“Limbo” was a game that became an independent critical darling, which would, in turn, brand it as a bit pretentious to some gamers who likely ended up growing tired of the indie game craze and its plethora of “artsy” titles. Past all the noise of critics and gamers however, taken on its own as a singular experience, “Limbo” was truly something special. A jaunt into an off-kilter world of black and white, thick with fog and the maladies of its surreal denizens. Rife with thick, choking atmosphere and oozing with personality.

“Limbo” was something that showed the potential for minimalism in the modern gaming industry, an oddball platformer that kept the experience concise without sacrificing its pacing or feeling like a cheap cash grab. While the indie scene can oftentimes be seen as bloated by a deluge of product that, to some, may seem preachy or pretentious, “Limbo” is a marker of how one can achieve artistic, abstract emotion, without losing the enjoyment of playing a game.

Cover Image Credit: flickr - mr.hasgaha

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Does Technology Make Us More Alone?

Technology -- we all love it and we all use it, but how is it affecting us?
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In this day and age, it is near impossible to do anything without the use of technology. You can pay your bills, manage your bank accounts and even chat with a customer service representative all with the use of your smartphone.

Is the use of technology starting to take away from our person-to-person interaction? Think about how often you grab your smartphone or tablet and text your friends instead of picking up the phone to call them or, better yet, making plans to hang out in person.

Technology is supposed to make us feel more connected by allowing us to stay in touch with our friends by using social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter and of course, texting. But are our smartphones getting in the way of socializing? Does technology make us feel more alone?

There is a term that is commonly used, "FOMO" –– short for "fear of missing out." Yes, this is a real thing. If for some crazy reason you don't check your Twitter or Facebook news feed every 10 minutes are you really missing out?

The fact that we have become so dependent on knowing exactly what is going on in other people's lives is sad. We should be focusing on our own lives and our own interactions and relationships with people.

Technology is making us more alone because instead of interacting with our friends in person, we are dependent on using our phones or tablets. We start to compare ourselves and our lives to others because of how many likes we get on our Instagram photos.

We are forgetting how to use our basic communication skills because we aren't interacting with each other, anymore. We are too busy with our noses in our phones. Young kids are dependent on a tablet to keep them entertained rather than playing with toys. That is not how I want my children to grow up.

As a society, we will start to become very lonely people if we don't start making changes. We are ruining personal relationships because of the addiction to our smartphones and checking our social media sites every five minutes.

It's time for us to own our mistakes and start to change. Next time you reach for your phone, stop yourself. When you are with your friends, ignore your phone and enjoy the company of your loved ones around you.

Technology is a great thing, but it is also going to be the thing that tears us apart as a society if we don't make changes on how dependent we are on it.

Cover Image Credit: NewsOK

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I Regained My Humanity After Deleting My Social Media Accounts

I know it may sound crazy, but I promise it's refreshing.
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I’ll admit, I’m pretty old school when it comes to technology (or almost anything in life in general), but I’ve had it with social media.

I’ve been spending too much time scrolling down a screen to keep up with other people’s lives. I spend more time checking up on posts of girls showing off their boobs or ass and feeling insecure about my own body instead of looking at myself in the mirror and appreciating myself for who I am.

I spend more time scrolling through strangers' profiles to see what they do and what their interests are instead of doing things that actually bring me pleasure and knowledge, like reading the book that has been waiting for me on my nightstand for months.

I spend more time taking pictures of the scenery around me for my streaks rather than looking up and actually enjoying the view for myself.

So I did it. For these reasons and many others, I deleted my social media (the ones I am completely addicted to, at least). And yes, I will admit that these past two days have indeed been hard. I’m constantly being tested by the Universe in having to find entertainment from activities that do not involve stalking strangers' lives or relying on my phone.

I have so much time on my hands now that I’m actually kind of bored. I wake up to no notifications on my phone except for some regarding school, I start my homework and finish it in three hours instead of the usual five to six hours, I finally picked up that book sitting on my nightstand and started reading it (I’m on page 73 in just one day), and I even have time to stare at the blue sky and admire the trees. I’ve become a total responsible philosopher in just two days.

I also have free time when I’m on the shuttle on my way to and from school. I just sit there and have nothing to do. So today, I decided to read and acknowledge the people beside me. I smile at the guy sitting across from me and the girl that walks in, but of course, they must think I’m being a total creep, because that’s what our generation has labeled those who smile and are trying to be kind: a creep. I don’t really care though, I’m just content because I’m starting to feel human again. After so many years of investing my time on superficial accounts, I’m taking the time to greet and look at the real people sitting right beside me.

I’ll be honest, I’m not so sure how long this rebellion of mine is going to last, but so far, these two past days have been refreshing. I’m enjoying the free time to do the things I say I never have time for. I’m also kind of relieved that people don’t know my every move or my location (that should be what’s creepy, not me smiling at people just to be polite). I like having more time for myself to write, read, reflect, cook, go to the gym, and just live. Plus, I think my eyes are appreciating the rest from not staring at the horrible phone screen all day.

Cover Image Credit: Fancycrave

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