I wish I had more to say about NORCO. I could blame that on me being almost three months behind on my blogging but, honestly, it isn’t that: I just don’t usually have that much to say about games if I can’t find a mechanical hook as an entry point. And, mechanically, NORCO is a standard point-and-click adventure game; they do a solid job of that aspect of the game, but just in a table stakes way. (And, for what it’s worth, in a way that didn’t interfere with enjoying the story, at least for me: there are puzzle aspects here but they’re pretty light.)

So, really, it’s the aesthetics: the visuals, the story, the vibes. The visuals are lo-fi art that’s done quite well. I was going to say that it’s not in a nostalgic pixel art way, but, thinking about it more, I’m honestly not sure: I just didn’t play enough games from the heyday of point-and-click adventures to have a feel for the art style back then, so for all I know NORCO’s art style is actually pretty similar? I dunno; it works for me.

In terms of the story: it’s a story of people that are on the down-and-out side of an economy that’s producing a larger spread between winners and losers, set in a near-future SF context with a magical realism slant. The economic aspects don’t resonate as directly with me as they do with many people, but it’s clearly a story that fits in our times; and I do like SF that comes from an unusual angle.

And it feels like a game that’s unusually well grounded. I’ve never been to Louisiana, so I don’t actually know what areas near New Orleans feel like, how industrial decay plays out there. But the game felt true to me: not just that it’s telling a story of our times, but it’s telling a story of our times in that specific location, of how economic changes would manifest there.


So: I’m pretty confident in saying that NORCO is a good game, and I’ll recommend it to anybody who likes narrative games. I just wish I were better at writing about this sort of thing.

(If I really wanted to get better at that, I’d get into a routine of writing about every book I finish, not just every game I finish…)

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