字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント Now here's a game with a colorful history, despite its monochromatic title. Black & White, developed by Lionhead Studios and published by Electronic Arts for Windows PCs in 2001, and later for Mac OS in 2002. And in the early-2000s PC gaming world, few titles were more hyped up than this one, being the first game from the newly-formed Lionhead Studios. Not only was Black & White the debut title from the ex-Bullfrog developers since they'd gone independent, but it had been in the works for over three years by the time it came out. Back then that was an unusually long development cycle, and originally Lionhead expected to have it done by Q4 of 1999. But release estimates came and went, excitement grew and dwindled, and every six months or so the cycle would repeat with some new interview promoting the project and its larger-than-life designer, Peter Molyneux. And make no mistake, the game looked insanely cool all the way from its announcement in 1998 to its eventual release in 2001. Teaser footage made it seem like a successor to Bullfrog classics like Populous and Dungeon Keeper, its graphical detail was unprecedented at the time, and the promise of cutting edge artificial intelligence with trainable creatures sounded amazing! Then it came out as such a buggy mess that some folks thought they might've shipped a beta version instead of the finished game, and when it did work, some still felt it didn't meet their lofty expectations despite favorable reviews in the gaming press. That being said though, I find Black & White more than intriguing enough to revisit, it's just filled with so many unusual choices. Even the box is an unique choice, with dual gatefold covers showing off the white and black moral paths the game was known for. It's a cliche at this point considering how many games have gone down this route, with evil choices adding horns and spikes to everything and good choices means butterflies and rainbows. But yeah, it was a neat idea at the time, enough to make me grab a copy in the early 2000s. Opening up the box you got the game itself on CD-ROM inside this minimally-decorated cardboard sleeve, a product registration card and this 16-page installation guide covering the excitement of troubleshooting everything from Windows 95 to Millenium Edition. Finally there's the manual, printed appropriately enough in black and white. It covers a lotta ground, with 52 pages worth of densely-packed information throwing everything at you all at once. Due to the way the campaign is structured, I recommend using this as more of a reference guide after you've started playing. Black & White begins with a white and black logo, followed by a Black & White logo, and culminating in a what amounts to a teaser for Black & White itself. No real information or lore is provided, just a minute and a half of random gameplay footage. And it only plays the first time you start the game, too making its inclusion that much more questionable. Once it's done showing off its press kit sizzle reel, it's time to give yourself a name and choose a pre-made symbol, the latter of which will become the defining imagery of your religion. Once you've established your impending godhood, a short cutscene plays setting up the world of Eden and your place within it. By which I mean you have no place at all, until the precise moment that you do. - “A land of innocents has no place for gods. -"Until fate intervenes.” - “Keep away from the water!” “Wait! Stop!” - “When people pray, a god is always born.” [ominous music plays] - “Help, someone help us!” “Help our child!” “We call to the heavens!” - “Able to change eternity..." -"That god is you.” [funky god music plays] Yeah, this intro still really gets me in the mood for some god gaming! That awesome music by Russell Shaw and trippy cosmic imagery, dude. Something about it just gives me chills. - “Are you a blessing or a curse? Good or evil?” - “Be what you will, you are destiny.” Annnnd then just like that, it's a clunky old computer game [chuckles.] Yeah, get ready for tons of mandatory hand-holding and unskippable tutorials. Which, granted, at the time were still a fresh idea. And if you've never played before it's a solid tutorial, especially since the manual leaves something to be desired in explaining things clearly. However, if you have played before and simply wanna start a new game, then this tutorial is a real slog and the option to skip it would've been nice. Fans eventually patched this whole section out themselves, but more on that later. For now though, let's follow along and see how vanilla Black & White works, because even to this day I've never played anything quite like it. So yeah, the basic idea is that you play a supernatural deity represented by a hand floating around the landscape. You've got two advisors representing the good and evil sides of your conscience, and who keep you informed of your godly options whenever big notable choices pop up. And there are a number of nearby human villagers that have started believing in your existence, so your overarching goal is to increase their belief in you by manipulating the world using your god hand and a selection of miracles. But uh, the controls... are a thing. [child screaming] Black & White lacks a traditional user interface, and alternatively went with a mouse-driven layer of abstraction. Instead of windows, icons, and drop-down menus, you've got this floating hand of god and the world around it. Everything is designed to be controlled using your hand and a combination of mouse movements, audio and video cues, and context-sensitive objects. Left mouse button moves around the map, right mouse button interacts with things, and combining the two buttons controls the camera. That is, if you're using a mouse at all. Essential Reality teamed up with Lionhead to provide native P5 Glove support in 2002, stating it was “the perfect gaming platform to demonstrate the power and technical achievement of [the] new P5T technology.” If you've seen my Oddware episode all about this device, I'm sure you'll react to that statement with a fair bit of skepticism. As with most P5 experiences, it's not that it doesn't work at all, it's that it works just enough to become more frustrating than if you weren't using it to begin with. Obviously, seeing as the whole game is played with a virtual hand it makes some sense to implement a virtual hand controller. And as a result it does function better than other P5 demonstrations I showed on Oddware, but c'mon now. This game is weird enough on its own, no need to throw an infrared finger mouse into the mix. - “Faith in you is fallin' like a stone.” - Ya don't say. Regardless of wonky glove controllers though, Lionhead was deeply committed to the whole “disembodied god hand” idea in Black & White, making sure players rarely did anything other than click and drag, almost never having to touch the keyboard. Not that I recommend playing like that since there's a buncha shortcuts that are only accessible through the keyboard, many of which the tutorial never mentions. For example, you're told that saving and loading the game occurs inside your temple. So you'd navigate to the building in-world, right click it to go inside, enter into the main central room, navigate to the save game room on the right, then click on a picture to zoom into it, type in a title to save your game, then exit the save room, and leave the temple to return to the game. Or you could just press Control+S on the keyboard and quicksave at any time. I know which method I prefer. There's tons of stuff like this that seems needlessly cumbersome, implemented under the guise of “immersion” and “innovation.” But then you dig a little deeper and it turns out there's actually an easier or more efficient way of doing things. Like how there are unseen controls to slow down and speed up time by pressing Alt+1 and 2 on the keyboard. Or how you can forgo the bizarre screen edge camera controls if you simply use a mouse with a clickable wheel. Anyway, all that to say that Black & White is often simpler to play than it appears at first glance. And thank goodness, because what's here is immediately captivating, at least to me as a fan of the 'god game' and 'city builder' subgenres. Despite what Lionhead said in the marketing, Black & White is less of a role-playing game and more of a real-time strategy game with an emphasis on resource management and puzzle-solving. [sailors sing “The Explorers Song”] Each of the five main maps in the campaign contain their own sets of challenges to complete, signified by golden scrolls indicating story objectives and silver scrolls providing side quests. But the core gameplay revolves around accumulating the resources of food, wood, belief, and villagers. Food and wood and pretty self-explanatory, acquired by villagers or by picking them up yourself. Belief is gained by performing miraculous actions within the view of villagers. And naturally, villagers themselves are acquired by reproduction for the most part, as well as converting them away from rival gods to believe in you instead. Overall it's a pretty laid-back experience, lording over the land as your people go about their day working, dancing, worshipping, screwing, building, eating, and complaining. [peaceful ambient music plays] Ahh it's nice. Too bad there's a bunch of nonsense constantly screwing things up. For one thing, villagers often have questionable priorities. So if you don't want them wandering around doing whatever, generate some disciples by dropping people down near specific objects and structures. - "Disciple Forester." This is how you create dedicated builders, farmers, woodcutters, fishermen, craftsmen, and even breeders, all doing little more than eat, sleep, and work. This is also one method of increasing your influence, by creating missionaries and traders to nearby villages. Influence is shown by these wavy colored borders when you zoom out, and there's a whole stack of variables affecting how quickly and how far it spreads. And even then, it's not so much a hard border as it is a loose indicator of your power. Like, you can still reach beyond your own influence to manipulate people and objects outside of your own lands, but only for a limited time. Then you have to go back and try again to refresh your hand. It's a bizarre mechanic at first, where you're constantly moving your god hand in and out of rival territory, but you get used to it. Tossing rocks and trees and things from a distance is also an option, as well as performing miracles. With good-natured miracles like generating food and forests, and offensive ones like tossing out fireballs and lightning. Another way to influence villagers is the creature: a large animal with divine powers that you'll choose while playing the first tutorial island. There are three creatures on offer by default, that being the ape, the cow, and the tiger. However, there are eight more creatures out there in the world to be unlocked, as well as four DLC creatures. Ahh, 2001. When downloadable content came in the form of self-extracting executables found on the developer's website. For free, even! My how things change. Anyway, creatures. They're big and powerful, but not too big and powerful, at least not yet. Each one has to be fed, exercised, trained, played with, and scolded in order to increase their capabilities and size. And as with everything else in the game, this means using your god hand. So your can hand them food, bring them toys, rub them nicely when they do something you want, or give them a good smacking if they do something you don't. [intense smacking sounds] Seems harsh, but it's the only way to get them to learn not to take unholy craps in the middle of town. Or pick up and eat random worshippers. Or whatever else you deem unsuitable. You can also train creatures using leashes, making sure that they only hang out around certain areas and witness you doing certain things. Because yeah, they learn by exposure to your godly activities, eventually figuring out how to perform many of the same actions and miracles. Creatures also carry over into skirmish mode too, so you're not limited to training them during the campaign maps. There are three of these skirmish maps that you can enter at any time, where you'll compete with between one to three AI gods, or the same number of human players over a LAN or the internet. At least, before EA shut down the online servers of course, so playing against AI is the best bet unless you use a custom multiplayer client. But yeah, creature training is key to surviving later parts of the game, and thankfully they do have a separate moral alignment from yours, so they can go around being a jerk while you play a pacifist, or vice versa. Powerful stuff when used to your advantage. This also means that you'll likely attract the attention of other gods and their creatures, which can lead to a battle. Unfortunately, actually controlling fights is not very engaging. It's less direct and more like you're coaching from the sidelines, clicking nearby to say when to attack, dodge, and defend. You can also perform a couple of miracles to help turn the tide, but the delayed actions and camera swooping around the action makes this difficult, especially since these miracles rely on gestures. Oh yeah, that's a thing. Performing miracles means performing gestures, accomplished by drawing shapes on the ground with the mouse. Again, eschewing keyboard usage and menu systems, miracles are selected either by clicking miracle generators or by drawing their symbol. And well, it kinda works? Most of the shapes are easily repeated, but some of them are strangely picky with how they're drawn so it's far easier to navigate back into town to choose them directly. As for gaining miracle access to begin with, there are two main methods of doing that. Raising this statue in your village center will ring bells telling your villagers it's time to worship, and a percentage of them will follow suit depending on how high you raise it. This causes a big ol' worship party outside your temple, continuing until you call it off. Meaning villagers can pray themselves to death if you're not paying attention. But yeah, each village provides access to specific miracles, so the more villages you have the more miracles you can perform. And the longer villagers worship, the more prayer power you have to perform miracles. Or, you can instead drop living sacrifices on the altar, with older villagers providing a little power and the youngest ones being the most effective. [villagers chanting, child crying] [sacrificial gong sounds] So, um. Killin' babies, it's a legit strategy. The other method of miracle-making is completely untied to belief, and results from bursting these one-shot miracle bubbles to provide access to a single instance of said miracle. Simple, straightforward, no need for infanticide!