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Inception Inspires Our List Of Mind-Bending Games

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Posted July 19, 2010 - By Kevin Kelly


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Inception Inspires Our List Of Mind-Bending Games

I saw Inception a few days ago, and yes ... it's just as good as you've been hearing. I went into this movie not knowing anything about it and having only seen one trailer, and I recommend going in just like that. In fact, I'm not going to say anything else about it, other than it's a very smart, extremely cool film that twists your brain into multiple directions. Seriously, go see this movie. Just be prepared to scratch your head and go "Wha ... huh?!" more than a couple of times.

When you get back home and want your gray matter to keep folding over in on itself, you need to pick up one of these games. We're not promising that you'll end up looking like Leonardo DiCaprio, but they will allow you to emulate his very confused face at times. It's what he wears the most in this movie.

Give these games a whirl, and imagine the Village People singing "WTF?" instead of "YMCA."

Crush For PSP »


Let's say you're going insane. That's not that hard to fathom, is it? I mean, you're already reading G4. But let's assume that you're about to round the corner of absolute bat-poop crazy, and you need to set things straight. So you have yourself hypnotized in order to put things right. Things that are in your own brain. This consists of Crush-ing things down to two dimensions, and then un-Crush-ing them back to 3D. Sound weird? It is. That's what you make poor little Danny do as he foot-stomps his brain goings-on down to open up passages and progress through levels. The levels that are in his mind! Bizarre. Yet, addictive.

Fun with Portal »


This really was a triumph. There's no doubt about it. When you create a game that has a manic A.I. driving you through levels straight out of an M.C. Escher painting, armed only with your wit and a gun that fires teleportation holes, you've somehow made an incredibly magical experience that would make Albert Einstein pee his pants. With delight. Portal definitely makes you look at certain levels and say "Okay, there's no way in hell I'll figure this out." Then you stay there for four hours and figure it out. I know people probably get tired of the praise we heap all over this game, but it's earned it. Both in equal amounts of fun and squandered brain cells.
 

X-Play's Funniest: Psychonauts »


 
 
Developer Tim Schafer actually first conceived Psychonauts as a level in his iconic Full Throttle game from Lucasarts where Ben Throttle would take peyote and go on a brain bender. That didn't exactly mesh with the family friendly Lucas attitude (but what, hard drinkin' and tough punchin' bikers do?), so it got cut out. Luckily that means that we got a full game full of mental weirdness a few years later. Psychonauts still stands as one of the most bizarre games I've ever played. A game where you play as a kid gifted with extreme psychic powers and can jump into other people's minds? Sign me up over and over again. 
 

Echochrome For Playstation 3 »


 

Portal managed to displace my equilibrium enough to make me feel queasy, and I thought I was foolproof after that. Of course, that was until Echochrome came along. This cursed little game with its simple line drawings and ambient music did me in. Where Portal only hints at M.C. Escher-style architecture, Echochrome embraces it with both arms and turns you around so many times in the process that you'll forget what the concept of perspective is. To add unnecessary fuel to the "Are games art?" fire, this one could definitely hang in a museum somewhere. Supposedly, we'll see Echochrome II sometime later this year, which promises further frustration. 

Super Paper Mario Storyline »


Super Paper Mario

Have you ever read the excellent Stephen King / Peter Straub novel The Talisman? In it, the main character obtains the ability to "flip" between different possible realities. If you cutesied that down and made it all bright and cheerful, you'd have Super Paper Mario, where Mario himself can occasionally spin on a hidden z axis and rotate his world from 2D to 3D. It might sound simple enough, but the first time you make it happen your jaw will drop. At least, mine did. Find yourself stuck in a corner somewhere? Just rotate the world and walk in between the obstacles, rather than trying to go through them. Just expand your mind, man. 

VVVVVV

Patrick took a look at this game for us back at the beginning of the year, and his words said it best. "You're supposed to die in VVVVVV. A lot. A heck of a lot ... VVVVVV doesn't feature enemies. The enemy here is gravity and Cavanagh does a thoughtful job of changing gravity's affect on the environment and the player every few screens. Players can't jump, but they can flip their character from the top of the screen to the bottom with a flick of a button. Your ability to "jump" is constantly controlled by outside forces. And as soon as you've mastered the tricks of the world around you, the dealer gets a new deck from the house." Words to live, and die by. 

Perplexus

The Perplexus might be one of the most amazing toys ever created. Give someone one of these to play around with for a couple of minutes, and they'll spend the next hour trying to solve it. This is one of those things you look at and immediately realize that the person who invented it was probably a Rain Man-level autistic genius of some sort. Rubik's Cube definitely has nothing on this thing. I played with one of these for a day before I ordered my own, and I still haven't solved the thing. I've even felt like hurling it to the floor a couple of times, and that's a testament to the extreme power of perplexing.

 

So, what games bend your brain?

Inception Inspires Our List Of Mind-Bending Games
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