I’d never played a computer game through. I might have briefly picked up some controls and had a go but that was about it. My techie skills are pretty dodgy and I had a sense that I would be useless at it anyway so I thought this would be a good one to take me completely out of any comfort zone.
I didn’t want to have to buy new equipment so I had to find one I could do on my laptop. Not having any starting point I simply searched ‘top games’ combined with the equipment specification to see what might be possible.
The one I found was Machinarium.
I realised this was going to be challenge for me when I wasn’t even sure how to open it up to start. It was like learning a new language. Mirroring the experience for the endearing little robot travelling through the game, I was a stranger in a strange land. After exhausting my efforts to puzzle it out I did resort to some internet ‘walk-throughs’ but at the same time started to see the patterns and what to look for and increasingly found my way. I felt bad for the poor little robot as he would emit the most pathetic sounds/movements when I just wasn’t getting it. I felt I was letting him down and had to persevere.
The whole online space of people playing the game and sharing their frustrations and achievements was fascinating and comforting. It was another community. While I’d been trying to figure out what game to do, I also found the ABC show Good Game with Hex and Barjo and through it found another way into this previously completely unknown (to me) world. In the kind of intersection of experiences that seemed to characterise my ‘things’ it was as I was standing in one of the massive studios of the ABC on my behind the scenes tour that I realised I was leaning against the Good Game prop crate!
Struggling through the puzzle solving of the game I was at the same time immensely impressed by the intricate clever design of the graphics and the imaginative scenarios including having to locate pieces of instruments so that a jazz ensemble could play in a courtyard. I found out later that it was created by a Czech company called Animata, known for beautiful design.
I’m not embarrassed to say at times this new thing nearly did my head in. Finally, the robot and I made it to our happy ending.