These days, we’ve got new methods of keeping up with countless video game communities. Reddit subs and Discord channels have taken over from dedicated forum websites, and while they still exist, they are a dying breed.
I did not participate in video game forums much when I was younger. My first real PC game was Age of Empires, and while I played a bunch of Lionhead Studios titles, Empire Earth and the like, I wasn’t heavily in the ‘social media’ aspects of games back then. I got involved with Empire Earth modding and campaign creation — I even made my custom campaign in Empire Earth. Those were fun times. When I played the Yugioh trading card game extensively, I was on several forums there — Duelistgroundz and TCGplayer were the main ones. Mostly good memories!
That is why Videoverse speaks to me. My little ramble did have a point! Videoverse launched on Steam in Early August, developed by Kinmoku. Their last game was One Night Stand, an impressive if short visual novel that launched in 2016. It’s taken a while for Videoverse to hit the shelves, and it’s an incredible, honest reminder of how things used to be. Big thanks to the developer for providing me with a review code for testing purposes.
Videoverse takes us back to the early 2000s, based in the United Kingdom. Players take the role of Emmett, an aspiring young artist and gamer, spending his free time on Videoverse — the big social gaming platform of choice. The authenticity of this game has to be played to be believed — I got sucked into the realistic universe in a way few games have. It felt like I was engaging with living people. The gaming systems and video games might be fake, but it does a hell of a job convincing me otherwise! Players are transported back to the times of a teenager, learning how to communicate with people, struggling with teen drama, and playing video games. As soon as I started playing, I was hooked. Videoverse is a narrative, choice-driven experience about those early days of game media, and while this is just an impressions review, I’m having a great time.
The game interface is Emmett’s bedroom desk — different and awesome video game magazines, pens and scrapbooks take up the space, with the retro computer forming the primary gameplay. Unfortunately, there’s no way to play these fictional games, but I’m just nitpicky! The main gameplay loop is booting into the Videoverse forums, interacting with people, discussing all topics under the sun a teenage boy would talk about, and the like. It’s an awesome interface with plenty of customization. Change up the colour scheme, your profile photo, and gamer tag!
Every chapter contains its own desperate stories, a different part of Emmett’s life told in reverse — with some great voice-acted narration during story scenes. The character development is enthralling, and I couldn’t help myself from stepping into Emmett’s shoes. I felt all the emotions he would have by playing him.
Commenting on people’s artwork, reporting the pricks who show up only to annoy or put down others, and talking with friends all feel real. When some wankpuffin leapt in to harass someone, I wanted to reach through the screen and whack them repeatedly with a brick. When my friend needed help or wanted a friendly chat, I was there to help. When people liked Emmett’s artwork, it gave me satisfaction. That’s not even the game trying — it’s just organic how I was drawn into the world of Videoverse. That takes talent, so huge congrats to Kinmoku for pulling this off.
It’s difficult writing about Videoverse because it’s one of those games that needs to be digested by playing. It’s a different take on the visual novel genre, with plenty of player interaction. I enjoy that, and there won’t be any trouble getting the game to run. Any computer with even modest gaming specs should run it out of the box. I believe I’ve said as much as I can about this. I’m greatly enjoying the game so far. I’m still a while away from completing it, and that might take a while given my current game library. Give it a try. It might just surprise you.
Excellent and immersive interface that takes players back to the past
Very few negatives for me to even suggest. I guess I would like to see controller support for the Steam Deck?