Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here: https://amzn.to/2CNx2NJ.
Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.
Spiderweb Software is a company you may not be familiar with but they are one of the granddaddies of indie game development, creating independent computer RPGs since 1994. Their studio has always been small studio, currently only employing two people and a handful of freelancers, and while none of their games have been breakout hits, they have consistently maintained a niche fanbase. Today’s game is the first in their five-game saga. Today’s game is Geneforge, developed by Spiderweb Software and released on Mac OS in 2001.
Geneforge is a computer RPG that takes place in a world that hybridizes science fiction and fantasy. The player plays as an exiled apprentice of a sect of mages known as Shapers, magic users who create mutants and creatures to serve them as slaves. The player’s character is sent to an island prison for these mutants and must work with them to survive.
Taking inspiration from classic cRPGs such as Planescape: Torment, Geneforge puts a significant emphasis on player choice. Encounters can be handled with violence, which uses a turn-based battle system for combat, but the game can also be entirely completed without fighting anyone. The way in which combat occurs can also drastically differ depending on the player’s skills and choices. The melee focused Guardian class will likely want to get up close and personal while the Shaper class will focus more on summoning mutants to protect them. As the player becomes invested in the story and the growing tensions between mutants and the Shapers that made them, their own combat choices may come into question.
Geneforge received positive reviews upon release although the usual criticisms of Spiderweb’s work still cropped up. As a tiny team, Spiderweb tends to compromise on graphics and sound in favor of gameplay and story. Geneforge is no exception. The graphics look dated for 2001 and there is almost no music throughout the entire game, barring the theme music in the menu. Still, the turn-based combat was praised, as was the unique-for-the-time setting. Geneforge quickly received a Windows port early in 2002 and continued the story for a total of five games in the Geneforge series.
Spiderweb Software is still making games to this day with their latest game being Queen’s Wish: The Conqueror in 2019. In February 2020, they launched a Kickstarter to remaster the first Geneforge game which promises new graphics, content, and compatibility with current OS’s.
Thank you so much for listening! For more information on Geneforge, check out my Twitter @vg_oftheday where I post some extra trivia that didn’t make it into our episodes. If you liked the show, please leave us a review on Amazon to help spread the word. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day.
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