Terry Pratchett's Discworld Playstation Game
Millions around the world love and adore Terry Pratchett and the Discworld universe he has created. But did you know that your exploration of the Discworld universe need not stop with books and page turning, but rather can expand into the magical modern world of gaming? Did you know that this has been possible since the mid 90's? Band together with me, other gamers and readers who live under rocks, as we explore this brilliant phenomenon.
There are actually four Discworld games. The one this article focuses on is the one titled simply 'Discworld'. Yes, it is a retro game, having been produced in 1995. Is it worth playing? Ah, now here is where things get interesting.
Appropriately enough for a product connected with the Discworld, things don't work as you might expect them to. For starters, the game developers decided to make the game point and click, but as it is a console game it is sort of 'wave the joystick around and press button'. It feels clunky and odd and I don't like it, but that is because I don't like point and click games period. For a point and clicker, it actually works fairly well, and by 'fairly well' I mean you won't need to spend too much time trying to get the point and click mechanics to work. Rincewind is perfectly capable of clambering up and down stairs and what not if you point to the upper or lower levels.
My next gripe however, comes hot on its heels. You see, if I were charged with making a Discworld game, I'd make it an RPG. That would allow for exploration of the Discworld and a hopefully immersive and enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, they didn't see it my way back in 1995 and instead its actually a puzzle solving adventure game. That means you'll hear the phrase 'that doesn't work' about 100 times before you've been playing for half an hour. If you're the sort of gamer that loves figuring out how to get the broom to get the bananna to get the book, you'll love it. If you're like me and want there to be an obvious, coherent pattern to the actions in the game, you'll hate it.
On the plus side however, a heck of a lot of work was put into dialog and voice acting. There are some brilliant voice actors including Eric Idle and Rob Brydon. That means that, for a PSX game, it was years ahead of its time. Really. There's some lovely Pratchett moments and a great deal of dialog that will have you chuckling as you navigate Anhk Morpork, the Unseen University and other famous places of note from the Discworld universe.
I can sort of understand why they went for the adventure game genre, it allows for a linear kind of narrative reminiscent of novel story telling, however the video game genre allows for so much more. So, final diagnosis, if you love Discworld and Terry Pratchett, add it to your collection, if only because the man deserves our support. If you love adventure games, buy it and play it until your teeth fall out because of neglect.
Terry Pratchett's Discworld is the sort of game that even if you don't like it, you'll still be glad you played it.