Linger in Shadows was my first foray into the demoscene. Prior to “playing” it, I had never heard of the concept. Basically, a small group will make a demo, that isn’t necessarily interactive, and try to squeeze as much out of the hardware as possible. My kneejerk reaction to the demoscene groups was “that’s stupid, why don’t they just work for actual game companies”, but after doing some research I found out how they’ve contributed to actual game development. Being rather large in Europe, many demosceners move onto game development at some point and space saving technologies, like procedural generation, have been tackled by demoscene groups, specifically, .theprodukkt.
Onto Linger in Shadows proper. Firstly, it’s not a game. Essentially it’s a beautiful cutscene that has some interactivity. You act like a director; you are able to pause it at almost any point and at designated spots you can move certain objects around, mess with the camera angle and at some points you may have to solve a puzzle to continue the experience, but you are never told what to do, you just fiddle around with the camera or environment.
There was a lack of narrative and exposition throughout Linger in Shadows short run time, but I liked it, it gave me room to interpret the experience however I wanted. It was very confusing the first time through but having this opaque story allowed me to dwell on it more than I would if they just told me what happened, and I can see how people would call Linger in Shadows art. And boy, is it pretty. Plastic, the demoscene group responsible, wasn’t going for a realistic look and I’m glad. Linger in Shadows is like a moving piece of art and looks hand drawn.
Calling Linger in Shadows a game is a misnomer, while it is available on the PlayStation 3 and you do pay for it, Plastic and others have been very clear that it’s not a game. Then again some people might be caught off guard by it; it’s really up to the end user to decide if it’s worth a couple of bucks and while confusing at first, I found this visually and audibly stunning experience worth a couple of bucks.