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Psychiatric Evaluation (video game)

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    Vili Maunula

    If you keep your eyes open, Kurosawa references pop up in the most varied places.

    The short, experimental video game Psychiatric Evaluation is my latest such acquaintance. It’s an interesting little flash game, although a bit too easy for anyone who happens to know both Kurosawa and video game history, and it took me only about three minutes to finish. (I know this because I was watching the Arsenal vs Chelsea match on the background).

    I don’t want to say too much as Psychiatric Evaluation is better experienced than explained, but I like the way the game represents various levels of reality.

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    Ugetsu

    I must be a little slow (I don’t play online games usually), but I’m struggling to get that to work for me. You have me intrigued though as to what the AK connection is..

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    Vili Maunula

    Are you having problems with the game or the interface?

    I’m currently at a Tunisian hotel lobby with a fairly crappy internet connection, but if I remember correctly the game starts as a text adventure (which were quite popular in the 1980s, with the ones made by Infocom especially good). I think you needed to type in “start” or “play” or something (make sure the flash video is in focus by clicking it) and then it really starts. I remember the game more or less telling you what to do first. After that, you are largely on your own.

    If you have never played a text adventure, the way those games work(ed) is that you type in a command (like “watch the movie” or “go west” or “open the door”) and the game then either does that or tells you that it cannot understand what you mean (the latter being a far more typical outcome, as these programs weren’t too sophisticated).

    If I remember correctly, once you have done the right thing in the text adventure prompt, you get “upgraded” into a game interface which resembles rogue-like games, another fairly typical 80s game type, with the game Nethack probably being the most popular example. In that one, you can move your character with your cursor keys and interact with objects by walking into them (real rogue-likes were far more complicated, but that’s more or less the gist of it here).

    I think that should get you started. ­čÖé

    Anyway, it’s not a huge Kurosawa connection, more like a reference, although it is at the very centre of the game. If playing turns out to be too difficult, there appears to be a Youtube walkthrough video here.

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