Stolen Pixels

Stolen Pixels #163: The Luminous Master


I’m sort of a techno-hermit, so I don’t really leave the house unless it’s on fire. Therefore I have no need for mobile gaming. This isn’t usually a big deal, since most mobile games have some console or PC equivalent. But Lumines was a remarkable title and for a long time it was a PSP exclusive. I didn’t get to really play it until I saw it on the Steam store this past Christmas for $cheap. Which is why I’m talking about it now and not five years ago.

Lumines is one of those exceptional puzzle games that brings together an elementally simple idea with gameplay that is engrossing to the point of being hypnotic. You can observe the game for five seconds and immediately understand everything you need to know about the controls, the mechanics, and your goals. I would go so far as to say that it comes very close to Tetris-level elegance.

The appearance of the board and the tiles changes every three minutes or so, along with the background music. I’d probably still be playing now, but every few levels the music is so awful and the tiles are so eye-gouging ugly that continuing the game becomes a test of will. Like the one where the “music” is a five second loop of hoedown music and the pieces look like dull, dirty clumps of brick. It was during one of these sensory assaults that I managed to pause the thing long enough to send you this distress call in the form of a comic.

Please send help. I’m getting thirsty.

Shamus Young is a programmer and writer by trade, videogame nitpicker by inclination. If you have the patience for more of his ramblings, they can be found here. And yes, the high score in this comic is a photoshop.

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