In the old, golden days, video games where thematically almost exclusively catering for a single target audience: male adolescents. Logically, some fantasy themes were recurrent: saving the earth and all of humanity or even the whole universe. Those were the goals and challenges of tomorrow's family men. Gaming having grown up, yesterday's youths are now confronted with reality. Those old dreams have been tainted as childish and the games industry now also delivers realism into the formerly well kept play rooms of today. One way of doing this apparently involves simulating every single job, no matter how absurd, and also every single every day activity, no matter how trivial, in a game. Resulting in increasingly obscure products in which the original ideas can hardly be recognized anymomre. Though even in the good old days, us heroes had to take a couple of collateral damage hits and, for example, resign ourselves to the role of a simple taxi driver. The implication being boring drives from A to B, where the highlight of the day is exchanging some gossip with the passengers. Unless, of course, it was Space Taxi.
The "Retro" Money-Making Machine
Alas, good old nostalgia! What is better than idling in a slightly melancholic mood while pondering the past? Almost anything was better in the good old days: Colours were more intense, one-liners smarter and verb lists longer. We were content with the little things. Who needed more than peeps, pixels and bizzareness?
Nowadays you can turn those nostalgic feelings into hard cash. At least if you can offer some familiar faces from back then too, which keeps you from getting lost in that flood of Kickstarters. Of course Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick had no problems with that.
1997? Yes, I know what you're thinking: So he is playing new games after all. That's right - there are a few good ones. The more current the year, the bigger the exception, though, making it even more noteworthy if a good game turns up in such a year. Considering its age, Incubation is like a flower growing from bowl of pus. Growing from such an unpleasant surrounding, it has to be spoiled in some way.
In spite of its subtitle which relates it to the Battle Isle series, Incubation owes way more to games like Rebelstar and Laser Squad. The player controls a small group of soldiers stranded on a planet where generally peaceful aliens have been mutated into flesh-eating monsters by a virus. Very threatening to the human settlers.