Tuesday, 19 February 2008


What ever happened to Oddworld Inhabitants? A company that had such a clear and singular vision has all but disappeared. Before it became fashionable for companies like Virgin and Innocent Smoothies to talk to you like they were a slightly cooky mate, rather than a large corporation, Oddworld Inhabitants were churning out games that were so odd, they were almost normal.

The underlying theme throughout all the games is the idea of pending ecological disaster. Each Oddworld inhabitant can be split along the lines of Industrial, Native or Wildlife:

The Industrialists:

Consumed by greed, they relentlessly pick at the natural resources of Oddworld. Smoke belches out of smokestacks and cigar ends alike.


The wildlife species are caught in the middle, their major concerns are to eat and not to be eaten. They act as a sort of symbolism for Oddworld’s ecological health.


They are big believers in karma or as its known in Oddworld, Spooce. They’re simplistic means make them easy prey for the Industrial races.

I think what impresses me most about Oddworld is the attention to detail. Every element has been thought about to construct a believable and coherent but ultimately completely alien world. There are landscapes and industrial settings that at first glance look familiar but then you notice a sign saying something like, “death chamber, mind your step” or a carnivorous plant that can consume the equivalent of a camel.

Building an eco-system that interacts, a language (all be it simplistic) that the player could use to communicate with other 'inhabitants' and a cutting, black humor, all add to an immersive experience. The games are often steeped in satire, making blunt force trauma use of the analogy between man and his environment. Who knows, maybe being exposed to Abe’s Oddysee, Exoddus (that’s how they spell it) etc planted an ecologically minded seed in err, my mind. This is eco education the whoop ass way.

Abe’s Oddysee intro:

Abe’s Exoddus intro:

1 comment:

Bjam said...

From the other 'is alive' blog:

Thank you.
sherry mckenna
Oddworld Inhabitants