Building Stories & Cartlife

I currently have an interesting entertainment combo, which I can recommend to retro gamers and comic fans.

CARTLIFE

is a game by Richard Hofmeier. It features pixellated, black and white graphics and has extremely simplified controls. You will take charge of different characters in their everyday lives who find themselves in a challenging financial situation. In the course of a week, you will have to earn a certain amount of money. This is done by opening a street business like a coffee stand or selling personal items.

The over-all feel of the games melancholic plot is compelling as each character is struggling to overcome both personal and finance related issues in their lives. There are several factors to keep track off such as the characters basic needs (hunger, thirst, sleep etc.), appointments, errands and other things. Running your stand will be a particularly challenging experience as the player has to figure out all by himself how this time-attack mini game works.

CARTLIFE entertains with an incredibly moody game design and a very compelling gameplay, which will have you come back to it despite its occasional difficulties.

There is a free version for download which only runs on Windows.

Building Stories, comic anthology by Chris Ware

It is safe to say that he is one of the most intriguing comic artists today. It took Chris Ware no less than a decade to finish this huge masterpiece, compiled of several comics, all in a different format. It sells for roughly 30€. From the tiniest piccolo comic to a huge newspaper-style foldout, Chris Ware shows how precise his work is – from printing to page composition, coloring and story-telling, everything is meticulously calculated, yet incredibly lively and the story really pulls you in.

Building Stories comes in a huge box with the separate pieces initially tied together. However, there is no actual sequence and you can start wherever you want. The separate stories will eventually meet in the end.

Both comic and game are not exactly new, but I’ve recently discovered both and it so happened that they complement each other on many levels. The character Melanie Emberly from CARTLIFE and the one-legged mother from Building Stories show certain parallels, as both their situations are rather desperate, struggling to maintain financial independency and individual happiness in their lives.

These two combined will let you dive into a very unique, stylized world, seemingly playful on the outside, but beautifully dark and thoughtful on closer inspection.

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