Oddworld: Why I love Abe as a Protagonist

Oddworld

So the other day I installed the new re-release of Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty to my PC via steam and I was extremely excited for a number of reasons. The game itself is something I have a vague memory of. I was very young at the time of its release and I have short snippets in memory that take me back to Abe’s journey through the dark setting of RuptureFarms (Seeing as I probably didn’t get much further than that chapter!). I remember the little things, running from the brutal sligs, the hints that scrolled along the notice boards, Abe laughing at his own farts with other Mudokons…

After having the chance to relive this experience in the breath of fresh air that is Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, I’ve only grown to the love the world and its peculiar and charming characters even more.

Abe is an atypical video game character, he doesn’t use weapons or fight enemies but rather uses stealth to manoeuvre around them or control them with his unique mind control ability. Not only does this alter the unique style of gameplay, it also has a lot to say about Abe as a character.

He is a slave along with other fellow Mudokons at RuptureFarms until he escapes after learning the truth about their upcoming plans to use Mudokons and make ‘Mudokon Pops!‘ after their decreasing wildlife resources of other inhabitants of Oddworld. The theme of the game deals with many ethical and moral issues that occur in the real world. It has been said that the inspiration of these themes derives from the diamond minors of South Africa, who among others have suffered a merciless harvesting over their land by industrial profiteers.

The visual depiction of Abe is both unusual and humorous. He shares similarities with that of an extraterrestrial, bug wide eyes, large forehead and skinny frame, chunky hands and all backed up by his ability to fart at the touch of a button. That last point relatives to the humorous attribute, not the part about his extraterrestrial likeness of course.

Mudokons are traditionally lazy, slow-witted but optimistic. Abe shares these traits along with the lack of intelligence, imagination, confidence and basic logic however the one thing that he exerts is his strong sense of morality. Abe was purposely designed to look downtrodden due to his life in a world surrounded by exploitation and oppression. The main reason he is a character that remains memorable after so many years and is very close to me as a gamer is that rather than a character or hero I strive to become, he is a character I can identify with empathetically. A perfect way to describe Abe is simply ‘human’, and I know that is a little ironic seeing as he himself is of a different world and species altogether, but I think that only enhances his innovative design and likeability and makes it easier for me to identify with something in another form.

Due to his success back in 1997, Abe has rubbed shoulders with the likes of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon as one of those iconic ‘unofficial’ Playstation mascots that has stood the test of time over the years. Even though I was still young when I first came across Abe with only vague memories of the original game, for him to stay in my memories after all these says something special about Abe in and of himself.

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty Hits Steam

Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee (1997) was one of those games that seems to coincide with the youthful gamer adolescence of the late 1990s. Everyone I speak to in regards to our lovable and quirky platforming hero Abe has felt nothing but sweet nostalgia and good vibes as they burst into joy, “Oh yeah! I remember him!”

Last July developer’s Just Add Water released their PS4 ground-up remake of this nineties classic and it has been nothing but a pleasure to relive some of the weird and wonderful world of Abe for numerous fans. The game has been completely remastered from the ground up, with crisp new graphics and an experience that stays true to its original beloved form.

Abe’s Oddysee tells the story of Abe, a contented floor-waxer and one of many Mudokon prisoners of Molluck the Glukkon, the owner of RuptureFarms: the biggest meat-processing plant in Oddworld. One night Abe is caught overhearing Molluck’s plan to use the Mudokon slaves as meat products and is frightened into escaping the factory and warning any Mudokon along the way.

The game is set to release on Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms on February 25th, and later available as a digital download for the PS3 and Xbox 360 later in March.

Whether you are a fan of the original or a gamer that has been blessed enough to stumble across its existence, this is definitely one to consider if you’re looking to play one of the most iconic and quirky retro platformers of the 20th Century.

What do you remember most about Oddworld? Leave a comment below and share the glorious nostalgia within.