The Beginner’s Guide is a challenging game about validation and isolation

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I’m still digesting The Beginner’s Guidethe spiritual successor to Davey Wreden’s game design meta-review, The Parable of Stanley.

There are certainly similarities between Wreden’s 2013 indie hit and The Beginner’s Guide – In fact, the game feels somewhat informed of success The Parable of Stanley, and the expectations that come with that success. It’s a game in which Wreden explores the work of Coda, a well-known game developer whose philosophy of work and life is radically different from Wreden’s. In exploring a collection of Coda games, Wreden strives to understand and explain these differences, but ultimately these explorations become internal in a way that I really don’t want to spoil.

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It’s as untraditional as The Parable of Stanley – The game’s description on Steam warns: “It lasts about an hour and a half and has no traditional mechanics, objectives or tasks.” It is also informative about the creative process, especially its connection to the gaming industry. The biggest departure, however, is how Wreden’s anxiety about his own work and the impact of loneliness on creativity is explored in a truly vulnerable way.

The Beginner’s Guide It’s a tough game, but not for the reasons you’d expect. It’s a personal and largely relatable story about feeling trapped by your efforts and your need to always improve on those efforts. It’s a play on the frustrations of human relationships, told through the rocky friendship of Coda and Wreden, without explicitly defining where one ends and the other begins.

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There’s a lot to chew on The Beginner’s Guideand with its “no traditional mechanics, no goals, no objectives” chewing is the game’s greatest asset. You can watch one of my favorite episodes of The Beginner’s Guide above to get an idea of ​​what the game is it isTo be honest, being blind and open-minded is probably the way to go.

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