Saving Lester from Another World – the Game That Took Me 15 Years to Finish
Reunited After 15 Years.
While browsing Steam during one of the countless sales we’ve all come to take for granted, I saw a ghost. But not just any ghost, the ghost appeared to be a partly balding man with a cane…oh wait, wrong story. The ghost of course was a game title, but one I hadn’t seen since my adolescence years ago. The title was Another World (Out of this World). The game was originally released in 1991 on the Amiga and Atari ST but was soon ported to the SNES and several other platforms a year later. Being born in 1995, I obviously wasn’t around for its initial release, so I didn’t get around to playing it on the SNES until around 2003. The game was confusing and difficult and of course no tutorial or tips were given in games then. Despite my attempts to complete the game I could never make it past the first few scenes before losing interest and hopping back over to my Super Mario World cartridge. Eventually years pass and I never complete the game, it makes its way to Steam in 2013 and there it sits on the market unbeknownst to me. Fast forward to December 2017 Steam’s winter sale, Here I am browsing through “Games under $5” and I see that ghost sitting at a whopping $2.49! Needless to say, I bought the game and immediately started playing determined to complete the platformer that had been dodging me for 15 years.
The opening scene of Another World introduces you to Lester, no not a partly balding man with a cane trying to recruit some people for a heist, but a Ferrari driving quantum physicist working with a particle accelerator. After cracking open a cold one and beginning his experiments, events transpire and Lester finds himself in Another World. Right off the bat you are submerged into an environment where everything wants to kill you and you must figure out the odd and slightly terrible control scheme while trying not to die. Luckily the PC port available on Steam (unlike SNES) gives you the option to pause and see a map of the controls so this is not a problem. With that being said, figuring out the control scheme was intended to be the players initiation into the game, but no one will judge you for taking a peak at the control map. Once you get the hang of the controls you will begin to notice how desolate and lonesome the whole world feels. The ambiance paired with the ability to tell a story solely on implication and no literal explanation of what’s happening is truly what makes this a great game. You’ll find yourself incredibly frustrated, but craving more as that sense of accomplishment from progressing in the story quickly dissolves your anger.
If nothing I’ve said has resonated with you and you’re struggling to understand why this game has such a cult following, start by putting the release date into context. The game was initially released during the era of arcade games that put an emphasis on game-play and a displayed score. Another World did not have a score, it focused on game-play second to the story. And in the age of arcade a heavily story driven game was rare, especially one without any dialogue whatsoever. Not only was this game entirely story driven, it had revolutionary graphics and cinematic cut scenes. Being released during the 16-bit age this was one of the first games to achieve this. The game was almost entirely a solo project of Eric Chahi, and really is a testament to the age when a single person could produce and release a game. Although this game might not be for everyone it certainly showed what video-games were capable of doing and became a milestone in video-game history.
If you’re interested in giving it a play-through you can find it on STEAM