Kickstarter Page: Oscar
Project By: Team Sharkeye
End Date: March 29th, 2014
In a nutshell: “A young girl’s struggling childhood twists and turns through various art, sound and gameplay styles.”
There’s an awful lot of guff on Kickstarter. That’s not to say guff can’t be found on Steam, Xbox Live or PlayStation Network, but since Kickstarter survives off of customer trust and willingness to drop hard cash on a promise, it’s home to a different kind of guff. If you thought the AAA industry was afraid to try new things, just take a minute to browse through all of the unimaginative “Zombie Survival Games” and unforgivable uses of “Bleeding Cowboys“, and you’ll understand just how frightened so many developers are to take risks.
Because of this, it can actually be rather easy to find more risky, interesting projects like Oscar, an intriguing little game being developed by Vancouver based Team Sharkeye. Oscar is touted as an exploration of childhood trauma, as seen through the eyes of the eponymous Oscar and her stuffed elephant sidekick Flynn. Supposedly, this bright and cheery looking adventure can shift into darker, more sinister fare; and the game’s core 2-D platforming mechanics can be switched out for different styles of gameplay in the blink of an eye. A twisted and ever-changing exploration of childhood trauma that uses locations and characters as metaphors for life events – colour me interested. If the game really delves deep into Oscar’s fantastical interpretations of her traumas, this might even be one of the first mainstream depictions of mental disorders in gaming, something that could really push the medium forward.
The team is being led by Josh Long, an industry veteran of seven years, and is being written by Kristina Soltvedt Wiik of United Front Games, so there’s your stamp of legitimacy/dependability. What really grabs me about Oscar and Team Sharkeye is their sincere desire to create something unique and progressive. There’s a whole section on their website (aptly titled “Games Growing Up”) detailing the reasons behind their desire to create Oscar, and why they wanted to shy away from tropes and clichés. I shall leave you with this pearl of wisdom from Oscar’s Kickstarter page: “This isn’t an attempt to recreate old games; it’s an endeavour to help explore and grow the meaning of interactive experiences in our adult lives. As children we grew up with games; now it’s time for games to grow up with us.”
What do you think about Oscar? Let us know in the comments!