If I’d played Trauma before Dominique Pamplemousse, I’d probably have ended up writing the same blog post, just about a different game. Because Trauma is also a very good game, and one that impresses me in a way that I wish I didn’t find so out-of-the-ordinary: it’s one person’s singular vision, it’s very compelling, it’s well done as a game, it made me sit up and take notice. Which is great and all that, but it’s kind of odd that seeing those characteristics in a game surprises me in a way that seeing them in a book or an album wouldn’t; not sure how much of the oddness is in me and how much of the oddness is in the environment.
Of course, once you get past the above (and past their shared point-and-click adventure nature), the two games have significant differences: Trauma is more experiential, has a more oblique meaning, doesn’t have the same sort of plot. There’s not the same musical focus, but there’s a photographic focus, which quietly works well. And I liked the gentle formalism of the four endings of the four levels. (I wonder why more games don’t do that sort of formalism? Or do they, and I’m just not thinking of examples?)
Trauma was the last game I played on vacation, and one of the best. So now I’m almost done with my backlog! I still have some non-game posts to write, though; those will take longer. And I’ve finished one game since returning, namely Proteus, which I’m still coming to terms with. Still, I’m getting closer to being able to return to my normal rhythms; feels nice.
This post has not been revised since publication.