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Sometimes games leave room for the imagination, and you start taking things for granted that the game never implied at all. Here's an example of how such a thing can happen with (a quite obscure) Japanese game I.N.R as our subject.

Javier Degirolmo, Blogger

April 25, 2016

2 Min Read

I.N.R is a game where you control foxgirl robot Inari-O, a powerful weapon. One day you wake up in the weapons factory having lost your memory and all your equipment, and the robots are going rogue. You have to bring back your equipment and make your way out of there.

...wait a minute, where did I get that idea?

The looks of the game certainly don't seem to suggest anything, being a place made out of brown bricks and with a gradient as the background - not exactly a very descriptive thing. What else we can tell so far:

  • You're a robot foxgirl (not catgirl) that can shoot bullets. And her battery drains really quickly (ugh! gets better later at least).

  • Pausing shows you that your name is Inari-O. Also shows the slots for the chips that are your upgrades.

  • There are robots around willing to attack you if given the chance.

There are no cutscenes or anything like that. The game's ending is literally just a score tally. The title screen is not much better, being pretty much pure text with "NEW GAME" and "CONTINUE".

I looked into the readme but it says absolutely nothing regarding the game's plot either. I look in the game's site, and it says you wake up in a maze and you lost your upgrades... and not much else. No mention of a factory, no mention of robots going rogue, no mention of losing your memory (although I guess that waking up in a maze out of nowhere counts?).

I only started wondering about this because for some reason I had taken all these things for granted then a few months later I realized there was absolutely no basis for that. The game is so empty in that sense that I somehow had filled in the gaps without noticing until much later. Whoops.

What's the conclusion here? Take advantage of your players' imagination and let them fill in the gaps to make your game feel richer. Just make sure to leave in enough hints to build up the atmosphere.

By the way, if anybody is curious and wants to play the game (it's free), you can get it here: http://kinoei.sakura.ne.jp/knmnsoft.php?mode=1&id=30 (click the ダウンロード link at the bottom)

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