The Video Game Version of 'The Thing' Is an Empty Promise Worth Playing

There is a concept in video games called the “vertical slice,” in which developers highly polish a small portion of an unfinished game to convey what, hopefully, the whole experience will eventually look like. Vertical slices are extremely common early on, when a game is being pitched and seeking funding, or when being presented at a splashy convention.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xgyqv4/the-video-game-version-of-the-thing-is-an-empty-promise-worth-playing
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I think I can pinpoint routinely rewatching an angry internet reviewer video in the 2000’s on this game (you probably know the one if you were 'round the block at the time) as giving me a dubiously healthy fixation on its many flavours of garbage.

Mechanics that are so neat on paper you know a PS2 game earnestly tried and earnestly botched them; Criterion Collection tie-in game where you can imagine dutch-angle interviews with dudes rocking and saying how much they love the old movie with a completely different movie’s terrible dorm room ass poster in the background; mid-budget old-Playstation detritus vibes; the more harmless side of terribly embarrassing 90s-come-2000s storytelling/acting; survival horrors that are weirdly easy to gain a working memory of in layout and progression, etc etc.

I didn’t actually gain those semi-fixations at least semi-ironically until my 20’s but i swear I’ve heard this game brought up like, annually with the same appreciative-but-bummed cadence for years now. It’s amazing how much it conceptually sounds like a modern post-Alien Isolation systemic licensed game, and how much in reality it’s just impossibly steeped in its time.

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