on Mar 19, 2009
Sometimes I feel like games are in a rut. Computer games can bring us into worlds of limitless possibility, yet all too often we end up in, “This world, except…” Why can’t we have something really crazy and unconventional? I don’t know, maybe something like:
But now, the balance of power has been upset. Unthinkably, a Moderator has disappeared, and panic is gripping the city. With the remaining Moderators spread far too thin, the lawless have found themselves with the freedom to prey upon others, and formerly suppressed rivalries threaten to explode into open conflict.
You are called upon to silence the discord.
Actually, this is a real game. It exists and you can play it right now if that is something you feel like doing. Better yet, it’s not a commercial game, but a free mod for the original Deus Ex. Paradoxically, the name of the mod is The Nameless Mod.
Reading the description caused this song to become firmly lodged in my frontal lobe. Here is a little more on the concept:
Thus, The Nameless Mod has outgrown its roots as a silly in-joke to a complete game with a complex story and memorable characters.
In general, the setting remains the same — a virtual world representing an Internet community — but it’s a setting that’s approachable for anyone who has spent time with a computer. If that’s not you, congratulations on finding the power button, you’re on the road to success!
Of course, TNM is not devoid of humour; everyone can enjoy the subtle (and not so subtle) references to online culture and pop culture, and if you’ve got a brain, even better!
The point is, The Nameless Mod has something for just about anyone, and if you don’t believe that a mod that started out as self-referential fan fiction can achieve that, give it a spin, it’s free!
Seven years in the making. 59 levels. Thousands of lines of voice-acted dialog. Music, weapons, storylines, multiple endings, cutscenes, etc. This is by far the most ambitious mod I’ve ever seen for a game.
I have not played it yet. (The queue is growing ever-fuller. Two more games were added already this week. Since I average just slightly less than one game a week to review / deconstruct / lampoon, this is a little worrisome. On the upside, summer is usually a gaming drought and I’ll most likely get caught up by then. I hope.) I wanted to pass this along in case you’re casting about for a reason to bust out the old Deus Ex CD for a spin. This is That Reason.
Congratulations to Lawrence Laxdal, Jonas Wæver, and the rest of TNM team.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.