So, finally, we’ve reached the end of this East German trek through generally awful games and my own personal Berlin Wall can come crashing down on Poly-Play and gaming from behind the iron curtain in general. For now anyway…
So, what’s the last game from the list of shame on Poly Play’s spartan and functional selection screen, a sight that’s greeted me far more than I’d care for over the last week or so? Which is this final explosion of badly-drawn graphics, beepy sound and ill-thought-through gameplay? What is it I have to play through and write something about before I can go back to playing proper videogames again? Why, ’tis none other than Wasserrohrbruch (Water Pipe Burst).
In this game, the player controls an inappropriately upbeat-looking man with a gigantic glass in his hand who runs about an enormous and yet empty room (perhaps one designed to hold that wealth of high-grade consumer goods the Communist states were always promising to get around to building one day) trying to catch drops of water (which scores points, natch) which are dripping from the leaky ceiling (at last, social realism). When the glass gets full the man has to run up a set of steps on the left and pitch it out of the door, presumably for someone else to deal with which isn’t really in the spirit of socialism.
And that’s about it, the ceiling keeps leaking, the wee man keeps trying to pitch the water out of the door and eventually the leaky ceiling wins and the whole place floods. I’d like to think that the whole thing is a clever political metaphor for Marxist-Leninist economics that VEB Polytechnik slipped past the Stasi but the truth is it’s probably just a rather shitty game. It certainly plays like one although it is better than Hirschjagd and yesterday’s Stalin Says.
I give Wasserrohrbruch two Karl Marx’s out of five.
So, what have I learned from my week or so of playing these games? Well, for all the bad things it’s given us (adverts, irritating branding, corporate-speak, Rupert Murdoch, the worst recession since the war) capitalism has at least given us lots and lots of really good videogames. Except for Rise of the Robots, of course.
To finish with, here’s a picture of an East German authority figure of some sort in shiny jackboots kicking a Poly-Play machine into a river in Berlin as beautifully rendered in MS Paint. Ta-ra for now.