Video Games Weekly: Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
This week’s video game is strictly for Teen Programs, not circulating video game collections. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, created by Steel Crate Games, was recommended to me from a colleague when I asked our staff if they knew of a fun game where players work together to defuse a bomb. I was not disappointed with this recommendation.
Platform: PC and Mac. Their website says it’ll be available for PlayStation VR, but it doesn’t say when. You can play the game on a computer OR with a virtual reality headset.
Rated: There isn’t a rating for this game. If I were to take a stab at it, I would say rated E.
Single or Multiplayer: Multiplayer
Storyline: The “storyline” functions more as the objective in this game. One person looks at a bomb on their computer screen or VR headset while their friends hold the instruction manual (I printed out a physical copy) on how to defuse the bomb. They have to communicate to each other by accurately describing what they see, giving clear instructions, all while trying to do so in under 5 minutes. If you fail, the bomb explodes.
Each bomb is essentially a puzzle. There are wires, switches, keypads, and all sorts of other cool disarming pieces. The game comes with different bomb puzzles AND the game frequently gets new instruction manuals. Basically, the game can last a long time and feel new every time you play the game.
Controls: The controls are “point and click” for players on the computer and you have to use a mouse. I had my teens start this game on a Mac, and we discovered that we could not play the game using the Mac trackpad. So, have a mouse at the ready regardless of what kind of computer you are using! I haven’t been able to try this out on a Virtual Reality headset, but I would LOVE to try this out in the future! You can watch the VR experience on YouTube, but like any VR game, it’s completely different when you have that headset on.
For the players with the manual, I found it helpful to print out the instructions rather than having them scroll through the PDF on another computer. This is also helpful because teens will be manically flipping through the manual to find something like “On the Subject of the Button”. The PDF is like 23 pages give or take, and I put them in an ominous red binder.
Gameplay: My program had 12 teens, so I decided to tweak the game rules to accommodate everyone. First, I divided my program into two groups of six. I randomly picked one group, and sent them over to the “Bomb Table” while the other group of six did a different activity.
At the Bomb Table, I had two teens sitting at the computer while the other four were placed on the opposite side with instructions. I decided to let two teens instead of one look at the bomb because all of them expressed anxiety that if they worked alone, they would fail the entire team. First, the teens with the instruction manual read aloud their instructions to the entire group, and then I had the teens with the bomb read aloud their instructions on the computer. After that, I let them take a stab at the first bomb. Each bomb has a five minute timer, and the groups swapped places after each bomb. The teens managed to explode twice and win twice!
What I love about this game is it has players think outside the box in order to relay instructions. Teens will have to get creative using homophones, verbal tics, describing symbols using real world objects, etc. It really gets their brains going! I also love that this game is a cooperative/team building game instead of a competitive one. All of my teens that came to my program didn’t know each other, but this game helped knock down some of that awkwardness.
Audience: This game is great ages 10+. I think this game would be a hit at any Teen or Adult Game Night Program at the library!
I do recommend only having a maximum of six players at a time; four is the ideal. If you have more than six players at a time, there will be players that just sit there and will not be engaging in the game. If you absolutely need to have more than six players, you may want to print off a second set of instructions so they can work in small clumps. Also, be sure you are in a space where loud voices are okay in your library. The game can get really dramatic as the timer ticks closer to zero, and voices tend to get louder as anxiety increases!
Buying the Game: You can purchase the game on Steel Crate Games’ website or on Steam. You can only buy the download version of the game, not a disc copy. Also, if you need a W-9 form, you’ll have to contact Steam or Humble Bundle directly.
Questions? Comments? Tweet them at me!
By: Alanna Graves
Pricing: $15 on Steam http://store.steampowered.com/app/341800/?snr=1_5_1100__1100
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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