VA-11 Hall-A is a remarkable work in so many ways. Not only is it the work of just two mysterious chaps from Venezuela, it’s one of the most authentically “Japanese-feeling” Western works for quite some time.
On top of all that, it’s simply an extremely well put together package, featuring beautiful pixel art by Christopher Ortiz strongly reminiscent of vintage Japanese computers such as the PC-88 and PC-98; some snappy, witty writing by Fernando Damas; and a cast of characters so memorable they’ll haunt your dreams long after you serve your last Piano Woman.
The cherry on top of all this is, as we previously discussed when we looked at the game’s early Prologue version, the fact that VA-11 Hall-A’s focus and setting are interesting, compelling and, if not completely unique, then certainly very distinctive.
Continue reading VA-11 Hall-A: Mixing Drinks and Changing Lives
One of the most powerful — and underexplored — aspects of video games at large is that they allow us to put ourselves in the shoes of other people: to explore lives that are not our own.
In the case of most games, the “lives that are not our own” tend to be power fantasies: we take on the roles of heroic archetypes as they battle their way through epic conflicts via various means: punching things in the face, slicing them up with sharp implements or using a variety of heavy weaponry with which to inflict death and destruction.
That’s all very well and good — power fantasies are fun, which is why we’ve experienced so many of them over the years — but sometimes it’s interesting to explore something a little more… mundane. Like, say, being a bartender.
Enter VA-11 HALL-A, then, an upcoming game from Venezuelan (but heavily Japan-inspired) developer Sukeban Games and publisher Ysbryd Games…
Continue reading Where Everybody Knows Your Name is “Bartender”