Sleep is Death (Geisterfahrer) by Jason Rohrer will not require a top-of-the-line graphics card. It doesn’t sport a sleek, bleeding-edge interface. In fact, boasting a whopping 640×480 screen resolution, Sleep is Death is as barebones as it gets. The graphics are reminiscent of Sierra On-Line’s earliest King’s Quest titles, and there is no real animation to speak of. Don’t let it deter you.
With it latest build v15, released Friday, May 28, 2010, being called the official stable release, Sleep Is Death is ready for prime time.
Created as a commission for the Art History of Games Conference, Sleep is Death was never meant to be a pre-fabricated blockbuster experience. It is a toy chest overloaded with simple, but well-loved toys: Police badges, Indian headdresses, magnifying glasses, and an array of disguises.
Sleep is Death does away with the notion that game must be shipped in a complete state. Extensive Q and A sessions aren’t required. Each game requires two players; one to create the game, and one to take the created world for a spin. The player has 30 seconds to make an action happen, either by speaking, or interacting with an object on screen. The ball is then tossed back to the creator, who has 30 seconds to accommodate or ignore the words or deeds of the player. The results can be awkward, hilarious, and quite often brilliant.
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