Road Not Taken is an upcoming, abstract roguelike that draws its name and inspiration from probably the most misunderstood poem in the history of the English language. Under development by Spry Fox, it bills itself as "A puzzle about life and loss," and is slated for later this year.
This review is based on the current alpha build of the game. We'll re-review the game once it is complete.
I return home from a failed burglary, pit bull spit still drying on my trousers, to find my children motherless and my vault empty. This isn’t my first dead wife, but I’m determined she’ll be the last. Not out of respect, not even out of basic human decency. I play on with a dead wife in the middle of my house because it makes the game easier.
Drastic? Yes, but then Jason Rohrer’s The Castle Doctrine is punishingly difficult. It’s a turn-based multiplayer game where you play both dungeonmaster (of your own house) and potential burglar of everyone else’s, and I’ll take whatever help I can get. As my wife is dead, I don’t have to worry about her getting robbed of half of our belongings as she flees another burglar. I build my dungeon up around her corpse and carry on.
As part of this year's GDC Game Design Challenge, Jason Rohrer, the creator of The Castle Doctrine and Sleep is Death, revealed that he'd made and hidden a game in the hope that it wouldn't be played for thousands of years. The game, called A Game for Someone, was buried by Rohrer somewhere in the Nevada desert. Of course, by the time it's unearthed we could all be enslaved by aliens, robots, mutants, even mice-spiders. Who knows if we'll get breaks for gaming?
The Castle Doctrine may be an MMO about breaking and entering, but creator Jason Rohrer still requires some honour among thieves. When one player modded the game to allow him to walk through walls, live after death and create impenetrable defences, he probably didn't count on other players' in-game security cameras catching him out.
You can always rely on Jason Rohrer to create something different. He's previously given us the collaborative storytelling sketchpad that is Sleep is Death, and the infinite, recursive, procedurally generated shooter Inside a Star-Filled Sky. So that his tenth game, The Castle Doctrine, is an MMO about burglary and home defence is expectedly unexpected. It's available now as a pre-release alpha.
Back in October, Sleep is Death creator Jason Rohrer revealed The Castle Doctrine, "a massively multiplayer game of burglary and home defense." Though the prizes you'll pilfer sit in homes owned by players, you'll never know who you're burgling or who you're getting burgled by. Speaking to RPS, Rohrer stated all thefts in Doctrine are intentionally anonymous to send a message.
If you walk into New York's Museum of Modern Art in the near future, you might discover that its curators have taken a stance on the issue of "Are games art?" And that stance, it seems, is "Yes." Fourteen games including player-driven space MMO EVE Online, perplexing puzzle shooter Portal, and ASCII graphics-based breakdown of civilization simulator Dwarf Fortress will serve as "the seedbed for an initial wish list of about 40 to be acquired in the near future, as well as for a new category of artworks in MoMA’s collection that we hope will grow in the future."