Videoverse’s first chapter is the perfect portrait of early internet fan forums

the first chapter of videoverse took me back to the early 00s last night. I can still remember sitting in front of the family PC in our living room, begging my parents for more internet time because I wanted to chat with my friend on MSN Messenger. In those days, we had to buy hours and hours to access the internet, and between me and my three brothers we absolutely devoured those meager weekly limits, always begging for more, more more as we are completely absorbed by this new online world. .

Luckily, Emmett doesn’t face such outdated limitations in the Videoverse, as his internet connection port is built right into his giant Nintendo DS-like home console, the Kinmoku Shark . In addition to using it to play games reminiscent of old 16-bit classics, there’s a Nintendo Miiverse-social network on Shark that Emmett uses to chat with friends, post fan art of his favorite game, Feudal Fantasy, and feel part of something bigger. However, what hasn’t changed since the earliest days of the internet (or, in fact, the internet today) are the types of people he interacts with – there are trolls, of course, but also lots of good people. here to support him, and the arrival of seemingly new user (and new fan artist) Vivi quickly becomes the main theme of Videoverse’s current free demo available as part of the Festival. Steam’s Storyteller.

Alike Hypnospace outlaw Before that, Videoverse saw you navigating between online forum pages, scrolling down and reading comments, posting your own from a fixed range of responses, and took the liberty of eliminating like button clicks. and report as you see fit. But Videoverse is much more serious than Hypnospace, putting his heart on his sleeve as Emmett occasionally interjects his own thoughts and fears based on what you’re browsing through at the time. He’s a shy guy who doesn’t want to post any more of his art lately after some negative comments he’s received, but fortunately he has two friends, Markus and Zalor, who encouraged him to return to it. You chat with them occasionally through Shark’s messaging portal, and there’s even a detachable camera that you can turn on to transform your avatar and their Mii-like avatar into human portraits. expressive pixel art as you send text messages back and forth in classic MSN style.

It’s a real-time capsule of how I interacted with the internet in my early days – Videoverse is set in 2003 – and how developer KinmokuGames captures the anxiety Emmett feels when he muster up the courage to Posting his artwork, not to mention the excitement when he gets a few likes, is absolutely spot on. The characters speak in their own kind of slang, disregarding any punctuation (as you do when chatting online) and even the primitive memes of the era (remember Weebl and Bob) Are not?)

A blue and yellow text dialogue between two characters in VideoVerse

But even in this 30-minute montage, it’s clear that Videoverse isn’t just stoking 20-year-olds’ online jokes and calling it a day. Take the Feudal Fantasy community as an example. While clearly a real-life play The ultimate fantasy game (I get it, Final Fantasy VIII’s opening scar references!), the way it ties the anime together and the more historical setting makes it feel clearly its own, putting you right in Emmett’s mind as you continue to explore this exciting new thing you’ve just discovered. Also, besides the more obvious early 00s memes discussed in the Off-topic pages, there are still a lot of posts that don’t have any actual references or are ones I simply don’t. know, making it monochromatic the themes still feel like a new and mysterious place with much going on beneath the surface.

As Emmett explored the newly formed Feudal Fantasy community, another user caught his eye – the aforementioned Vivi. With their blank avatars, Emmett wondered if they were new users of Shark, especially since he hadn’t seen them before, but he was also immediately drawn to the author. their lovely artwork. Sadly, other trolls in the community immediately took to it with appalling comments, prompting Emmett to do something about it. I immediately reported them during my playthrough (this is only true when there is a clickable button), but Emmett’s own thoughts on the subject suggest he’ll lead me anyway. to that reporting path.

A white and red forum post from Art Corner in the Videoverse

It’s not yet clear how much further the story will guide you this way in the final game, but you still have quite a bit of freedom in how you interact with the Videoverse. You can be a jerk, you can be sweet and supportive, you can act as a mediator, and the overall tone and vibe of the community will morph and adapt accordingly. said, so I’m curious to see how this all works in the final game. However, for now, your reassuring text to Vivi results in them eventually sending you a message, thanking you for your support, and a like from them on one of your drawings. Emmett was thrilled, but as soon as he decided to sign out of the Videoverse for the day, the demo ended, leaving me confused as to what would happen next with his newfound friend.

Luckily, I won’t have to wait too long to find out, as Videoverse is currently gearing up to launch sometime between July and September later this year. There’s still a day to go on Free demos If you want to try it for yourself, come now before Storytelling Festival will end tomorrow, April 1st.


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