After spending three years in development, Lionhead Studios’ first video game, called Black & White, exceeded the extremely high expectations that were placed on it. It’s a huge game that deals with lofty concepts, like miracles and gods, while still being genuinely funny.
However, it’s been over a decade since the game was released. In fact, for the most part, the game is no longer available.
That’s why we’re going to explore whether or not you are able to get your hands on a copy of this classic god-simulator. Read on to learn more.
Black & White – an Overview
In Black & White, you will take on the role of a god that rules over a number of islands, each populated by different tribes. You will interact with them and the environment using an animated hand.
You can tap houses to wake up their occupants. You can also throw objects and people, perform miracles, and much more.
Silver and Gold Scrolls are important items in the game. The Gold variants start major events, which includes the main story, while the silver scrolls start minor tasks that can be completed for a reward. Every action that you take and don’t take will change how your followers perceive you.
You can be seen as a good god, an evil one, or one in the gray area between. The interface, the land, and even the music of the game changes depending on your moral alignment.
If you are a good god, your temple will be colored brightly. However, if you are an evil god, your temple will look intimidating.
You will have two advisors – a good one and an evil one. They will try to persuade you to perform tasks according to their alignment. When you perform a task for one, the other will become frustrated, and their opinion of you will lower.
Why Can’t You Play Black & White?
This is a difficult question to answer. The game was quite popular when it was first released, and it continued to be loved well after that, but it has since become rather obscure. One of the biggest obstacles has to do with the fact that it was published by EA back then.
The time and money that was needed to release a stable, updated version, as well broker a deal with EA, probably didn’t make much sense financially to Microsoft. Who knows what the future may hold, though?
Why Play the Game Anyway?
Black & White is probably the only game out there that truly makes you feel like a god. That doesn’t mean it gives you unlimited, unchecked power right from the start, though.
This also doesn’t mean that it was the first game of its kind. Lionhead’s first attempt at this genre made your impact on the world feel much less abstract than previous games.
In the game, you are a massive hand that is bound by the laws of physics, and that is your primary way of interacting with the world. Sometimes, you quite literally have to massage the sandbox to get it to favor you.
If you try to stick to the good path but get bored with it, there’s nothing stopping you from hurling rocks and fireballs at the edge of your territory into opposing villages that are devoted to another god. You can terrify them into complicity, or you can simply eradicate them. The choice is yours, and that’s what makes Black & White such an amazing game.
Your giant pet will start to think that making your worshipping lives’ difficult is a good thing, because you’re doing exactly that.
When you combine terrorizing the mortals with giving your pet love and affection, you’ll reinforce any behaviors they had naturally become inclined to, just like a real pet.
The point is, Black & White is a fantastic game – one that everyone should at least have a chance of playing. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to tell when that will be possible again, if ever. If Microsoft decides to revamp and update Lionhead’s catalog, then we’re in luck, but until then, things aren’t looking so great.
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