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Game of the Week: Crow Country and handling people's memories with care


A screenshot from Crow Country, showing the back of the female character Mara, who's wearing a short dress and boots. She's standing next to a car.
Image credit: SFB Games

It's a dangerous thing, toying with people's gaming memories, because they've often welded to our sense of self and who we are. They're not impartial any more, if they ever were. These memories are a powerful thing to appeal to, and a smart way for a game to get attention, but it's also dangerous ground to tread. Because what if in aping the past, you undermine it? What if in the harsh light of reality, you expose old games for what they were - limited in comparison to what we have now?

I've been thinking about this because of two games: Skald, the Commodore 64-styled role-playing game, and Crow Country, the PlayStation 1-styled survival horror. Skald came out this week and we have a review in the works, and Crow Country came earlier in the month and our review aired this week. That's partially the reason I'm making Crow Country our game of this week.

It's a gorgeous thing. It's got that muddy colour palette PS1 games used to have, and that sense of claustrophobia caused by a low screen resolution. The camera angle is fixed, the characters are chunky, and you can almost count the number of polygons on them. It really does look like a PS1 game, and people have been giddy about it on social media for weeks. But is that all games like this are - superficial nostalgia plays?

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