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It took 25 years, but I finally beat Beneath a Steel Sky

Content of the article: "It took 25 years, but I finally beat Beneath a Steel Sky"

I originally bought this game during my freshman year of college, played for a bit, but soon found other distractions. Cut to 2020 and I see it on GOG and figured that I might as well give it another go.

I was delighted to find that game world and the writing still hold up. Thematically dark but the dialogue is funny in a Douglass Adams sort of way; so, lots of puns and innuendo.

The graphics…well after a little tweaking to a .ini file, I was able to get them to look reasonably less pixelated on my 1440p monitor. Considering the game was made a quarter century ago, not bad though. However the graphics did lead to a couple of issues with gameplay.

The gameplay itself wasn't terrible. I grew up mostly playing Sierra's point and click adventure games. I guess even before that when you had to type everything out. In any case, through college and afterwards I played primarily on consoles and it was only in the past year that I bought a gaming laptop and then just built a gaming pc. So I was curious about what it would be like to go back to what's essentially a puzzle game. I know Disco Elysium was created mostly in this vein, but obviously it rests on 25 years of the formula being polished.

Anyway, for the most part, it was kind of nice to go back to an old point and click. I didn't feel bored, and it was nice figuring out what to do with the random things I'd encounter on each screen. Granted, some of these puzzles were a bit illogical and I think some of that stems from the technical limitations of the time.

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There were two moments, both unfortunately in the end game, that I needed help with, and this presents the most radical change in 25 years of gaming. I was able to just google my questions. No need to call (!) friends, or wait to talk to them in school, or find a BBS server (when the internet finally became an accessible thing), or just give up.

One of the issues I was having was literally not being able to see a thing on the screen that I had to interact with. My strategy of randomly moving the mouse around didn't help me find it in that case. The other issue I encountered probably had more to do with the writing- there was a thing I had to do that was really not intuitive.

If you've played: At the very end I had no idea that you had to use Anita's ID Card on the console in the tissue sample room. I mean in hindsight it makes sense, but up until that point the game conditions you to use ID Cards in slots. The console in this room had no slot

So all in all, not bad. And I see a sequel has finally been made, so good timing on my part. Or rather, good marketing on GOG's part. If anyone has suggestions for more modern point & click adventure style games, I'm all ears.


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