September 1999 caught me off guard, while I was familiar with @98DEMAKE‘s retro remake vignettes from his YouTube channel, his actual games such as OK/NORMAL were not something I had gotten my hands on.
It would probably be easy for someone to compare September 1999‘s visuals to those of games like PT. Near photo-realism with smudgy aesthetic touches distinctly reminiscent of digital video tape, and a hauntingly de-saturated palette. Its jump cut narrative style, paced slow enough to test your patience, lulls you into a sense of reticent security despite these visual touches.
But there are no jump scares here, just slow unnerving realizations of what exactly is starting to unfold; the claustrophobia of the surroundings beginning to clamp down on the protagonist’s psyche. September 1999‘s nuance shows us yet again how to achieve so much with very little, especially through clever use of the lighting engine and tactful use of shaders.
Thankfully, an ambiguous narrative left enough room for @98DEMAKE to expand on the original with the forthcoming DEC00 teased here:
It’s fantastic to see small developers producing visually rich content that pushes the boundaries of what we expect to see from a one-person production, and I am definitely looking forward to the follow-up.
Do yourself a favour and check it out. It’s a short yet impactful experience well worth the playthrough.
Emily Rose is an indie developer who writes for rebind.io and resides in the pacific northwest. She’s often seen in the local VR arcade and developer community participating in pushing the medium’s horizons. You can find her on twitter @caravanmalice