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Feb 14 2012

The Binding of Isaac

AliasAlpha pointed me to an interesting article about gamifying religion, on how to modernize religious beliefs to compete in today’s more complicated and more nuanced understanding of morality and society. I have a lot of thoughts to unpack on that, but I don’t know that I can manage right now, where I’ve got yet another super-long day today, for an expected network cut tonight overnight. So my apologies that blog fodder is sparse.

Meanwhile, from that same article, there’s a mention of a game I’m going to have to get and play: The Binding of Isaac. Check out the intro screen.

Looks like it’s a religiously themed Zelda-alike with an interesting corollary plot about Isaac’s psychology as he descends into power fantasies and madness after being in isolation for so long. Kinda like a religious Alice, I guess. This is the kinda heady stuff I like in my video games — interesting plots that just can’t be explored as a TV series or movie, or that would be completely lackluster or ridiculous as a book. And it promises a good lot of creepy, to boot, which is interesting given the cutesy cartoon styling.

10 comments

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  1. 1
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    Incredibly creepy, although cutesy style, and murderously difficult. Out of probably 25-odd deaths, I beat the game once. And only cause I was lucky. A lot of this game is based off of luck. Don’t have enough bombs to get to that chest? Too bad! Don’t have a key? Oh well. Beat every boss but never got any heart containers and you’ve got three at the end boss? Good luck!

    It’s a definite rogue-like – random design, random drops, random monsters, and you’ll die ALOT.

  2. 2
    Mr.Kosta

    Best indie game I’ve played in ages. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

    There’s an expansion for it coming shortly called “The Wrath of the Lamb”, and sure as hell I’m getting it!

  3. 3
    lorigb

    A friend recently gifted this to me on Steam, I can’t wait to start playing it!

  4. 4
    Jason Thibeault

    Roguelike!? SOLD.

  5. 5
    adamshelton

    I’ve beaten it a solid 10+ times now. It gets easier as you go, not just because you learn some tricks to get further, but because you unlock better items for future playthroughs as you earn achievements.

    And if you beat the final, final boss, you get treated to a really creepy rendition of “Jesus Loves Me”. :D

  6. 6
    Chris Hallquist

    That video is so delightfully creepy. If I had more time, I’d totally play that game.

  7. 7
    Marshall

    This is the kinda heady stuff I like in my video games — interesting plots that just can’t be explored as a TV series or movie, or that would be completely lackluster or ridiculous as a book.

    If you haven’t already, you should give To the Moon a try. Pretty wonderful stuff, really.

  8. 8
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    @ Chris Hallquist, #6:

    Games take about 15 minutes from start to finish. Sometimes less, when you die horribly. It’s a perfect length for picking up and putting down.

  9. 9
    passerby

    As I said it to my friend:

    Let Legend of Zelda and Smash TV have a kid. Raise this kid on literalist biblical passages and Newgrounds flash animation. Then toss him in the basement and give him LSD.

    The game is not for the squeamish, the easily angered or the sound of mind. It is, however, especially fun and challenging, and it will grow on you. Your first few hours in will make you ask why you’re playing it, and the next thing you know you’re on your sixth hour, trying to unlock Cain by getting over 55 pennies.

    It’s just that kind of game.

  10. 10
    Jason Thibeault

    Bought it. Haven’t had much time to play it very much though. So far, my thoughts on it are: holy crap, there’s so much crap. And blood, and urine. Given the framing story and the fact that this is probably all happening in Isaac’s head, it’s more than a little disturbingly telling about the “real” Isaac in the cutscenes. Congratulations, devs. You’ve bothered me, who isn’t bothered by much.

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