Added to the lair: 3/10/18

Genre: Point-And-Click Adventure / 1st person

Developer: Rocket Science Games

Year: 1997

Platform: Windows 95

Emulator: PCem

Wikipedia: Obsidian

Obsidian

Your rules do not apply here.

Obsidian is an extremely creative, thoroughly enjoyable Myst-like, that's frankly better than Myst (funnily enough there's even an amusing tongue-in-cheek Myst reference in the game). It's not quite as good as Riven, but that's not a slight against it - Riven is my favorite game in the genre.

Games in this style sometimes have the tendency to have a bit of an antiseptic quality to them; lacking character or that special quality that makes them really stand out. There's a significant number of serviceable but forgettable titles out there that have a certain amount of inherent appeal for fans of the genre, but offer little to those outside that sphere. That categorically cannot be said of Obsidian. It really hit me very early on how much this is not just a run of the mill adventure game.

I want to make a special mention of how much I love the introductory segment of the game. There's no narration. It's not some grandiose cinematic trying entirely too hard to be "epic" - in fact, it's quite the opposite. Things start in an entirely unassuming, mundane way and it's made immediately clear that there's something different here from Obsidian's peers. I love how they leave out as much or more information than they provide early on = it makes you feel like you've come into a real world right in the middle of things. Real people don't just explain literally everything that's important every time you meet them.

A really strong atmosphere can go a long way with me, and Obsidian has it in spades. Few games manage to make you feel so thoroughly enveloped in another world as it does; a world where, as the game puts it, "your rules do not apply". There's some truly wow-inducing, brain-twisting moments to be found here.

I don't want to say much about the story because I think it's best if you go in knowing as little as possible, but it's very good. The acting of the various characters you see and interact with is very good...  surprisingly so. The genre has the propensity for campy excess, but everything is absolutely pitch-perfect here. That's not to imply that everything's dour - quite the contrary; there's a ton of biting satire that's really refreshing and genuinely funny.

Obsidian is a visual treat, with some extremely imaginative locations and quirky design flourishes. Sure, old technology compression artifacts stink, but artistically it's top-notch. The developers clearly had a very unique vision and went for it.

Sound is very good, with music being quirky and appropriate, often adjusting dynamically to the situation. Sound effects are very good as well.

I don't think it's a stretch to say that Obsidian is likely one of the best games you've never heard of. It's an absolute shame how unknown it is. If you have even the slightest interest in adventure or puzzle games, you really owe it to yourself to give this one a look.