As I’ve said repeatedly on here, I enjoy the heck out of the art game genre. Of course, I like mainstream hits like Portal and various Star Wars games, but then there are gameplay deconstructions like The Stanley Parable. As it turns out, William Pugh was a designer for that game and went on to found his own company Crows Crows Crows. They’re the creative force behind their first and long-winded release, Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and the Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist.
Honestly, the title is longer than the game itself. I think that’s the point.
The premise runs like this. You, the player, are getting ready to begin a heist game. However, some other player is already starting said game, and the crew behind making the video game run in real-time is either incompetent or on strike. A disembodied narrator called the Stage Manager (voiced by Simon Amstell) apologizes for the confusion and has you “help” by pulling levers and pushing buttons to help keep the game moving. Of course, nothing works. You’re trying to save a doomed project without any clue what you’re doing.
And it’s hilarious.
It’s about as madcap as The Stanley Parable, but with far less replay value. Dr. Langeskov, etc., etc. is a pretty wild ride and a deconstruction of video games and game developers. However, it’s more of a setup to a game than an actual behind-the-scenes experience. I thought I’d be following the mysterious second player through the back corridors, with the Stage Manager trying to help me manage things and keep the player on track while everything went increasingly off-course.
Still, I recommend giving this game—this virtual art installation—a chance. There’s more than enough Easter eggs, cute little achievements, and mischief you can uncover even while you’re being railroaded through the whole thing.
Bibliography: Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and the Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist. Developed by Crows Crows Crows. Published by Crows Crows Crows. Unity (engine). Microsoft Windows; OS X. Original release date: December 4, 2015.