RPGFan


1954: Alcatraz
E3 2013 First Look
"The interplay between these themes offers potentially polemical situations and results, and 1954: Alcatraz is a well-researched and thoughtful adventure."

Gene Mocsy, writer and designer of Irresponsible Games, approached Daedalic with a demo of his graphic adventure, 1954: Alcatraz. They liked his rough sketches and script enough to take it under their wing and send it through their beautifying machines to give it that special Daedalic touch.
Gene has lived in San Francisco long enough for the great prison to become his muse. He set the game in the Beat era and did loads of academic-level research: reading biographies, poring over collections of Beat artifacts, and visiting Alcatraz itself. Photographs of San Francisco provided the basis for some of the game's background art, and some real convicts populate the prison island. There's also a theme behind the game ó one of the first things Gene had to say about the game, to his credit ó marriage.

1954: Alcatraz doesn't care to reinvent the resurrected graphic adventure. The gameplay hardly departs from the typical point and clicker with its object collection and combination, but the player can switch between the two main characters. Joe plans to escape Alcatraz while his wife, outside the prison, has to deal with the trouble her husband left behind after his arrest. They must contend with drama of their own, but the player will never be able to forget the greater drama: these two separated souls' marriage.

Their paths don't converge much until the end, but the player can switch between them at will if he tires of one or the other. Joe's storyline focuses more on item manipulation while his wife does the negotiating and the cavorting with San Franís Beat art scene.

Bickering couples and disintegrating marriages punctuate the scenes, often in the background: subtle reminders of the game's theme. There are choices in dialogue that may reveal or keep secret certain clues to the characters' situations, and the ending promises to offer quite a weighty decision.
The historical period shows through as well, and the background art is pretty. The characters are rendered in blobby, cartoonish 3D, but they don't usually feel incongruous with the atmospheric backdrops.

What little I saw of this version of San Fran made me want to see more, and there are some interesting characters populating the streets, cafes, and bookshops. There's a transgender character, a gay couple, and the protagonists are an interracial couple. These touches of reality are often missing from video game narratives, and their inclusion here is much appreciated.

Imprisonment. Marriage. Escape. Plenty have escaped from marriage, but no one has escaped Alcatraz. The interplay between these themes offers potentially polemical situations and results, and 1954: Alcatraz is a well-researched and thoughtful adventure. This may be one of the most overlooked games of E3, but point and click fans should watch out for this later in 2013.


© 2013 Daedalic Entertainment, Irresponsible Games. All rights reserved.



Twitch Schedule & Status

Sunday, May 20
Surprise! • 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Sunday, May 27
Final Fantasy XIV: Patch 4.3 • 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Mondays
Super Mario RPG • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT

Tuesdays
Star Ocean: First Departure • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
Ys: Memories of Celceta • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Wednesdays
Alundra • 12pm PDT/3pm EDT
Ys: Memories of Celceta • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Thursdays
MS Saga: A New Dawn • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
Ys: Memories of Celceta • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Fridays
Earthbound • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
Guild Wars 2 • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Saturdays
Ys: Memories of Celceta • 5pm PDT/8pm EDT

This is Your Story: RPGFan Reader Tales ~ An RPGFan 20th Anniversary Feature

This is Your Story: RPGFan Reader Tales

20th Anniversary Feature
The Swords of Ditto Review

The Swords of Ditto

Review
NieR: Automata Piano Collections Review

NieR: Automata Piano Collections

Review
Retro Encounter 136

Retro Encounter 136

Podcast
Random Encounter 144

Random Encounter 144

Podcast