Sunday, June 22, 2014

Renga In Four Parts, by Jason Dyer

This game is an experimental, in the poetry type. The game says some lines, usually three lines, and then a prompt. The player must type in just a word at the prompt. Two or more words are not allowed. And then the game says some more usually three lines, and continues. Sometimes there is a dashed line, and sometimes there is a transition to the next of the four parts.

OMG just now I thought to do the Google search on "define renga" and it helps a little the understanding! Renga it turns out is a traditional Japanese poetry form, a collaboration between two of the individuals. In his public release announcement for this game, the author tells:
 Keep in mind that what you type is much a part of the poem as the verse.
This suggests that there is collaboration between the player and the parser.

The author of this game is also the author of More, which I like in the recently complete Shufflecomp. In his post comp release and reflections on More post, Jason asks people to download and give a try Renga In Four Parts. I was happy to do that. Unfortunately, I don't understand this game. I find it hard to "get" into.

I played a few times, using the "toggle script" option to save three of the poems. Game seems to make a frequent change of subject from the last verse and/or from the player's last word. I did not find that it sums to a story or vignette or tableau coherent. I tried to work with the game, for example typing in words in each part that correspond with the title of the part, but I still got this feeling of the leaping around subjects. There are interesting pieces (a he, a she, a tree, to name three) but I think more constraints are needed to tie them into a meaning whole.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

I wish I had not played this game, by Galejade - Elise Trinh

See the IFDB page for I wish I had not played this game. I played and found it worthwhile. It is different from what the title sounds. It does not take long to playthrough and experience what it is about. It says an importance about the modern life worth reminding.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Shufflecomp 2014 Review: Cryptophasia, by L. Starr Voronoi

One-line summary: Saga of a spacefaring pastry trader with a tragic past.

Game inspired by: "Chrome Country" by Oneohtrix Point Never, "Didn’t You Kill My Brother?" by Alexei Sayle

Things I liked: The keeping a straight face about pastries in space. (Has there ever been a comp with this much quirky with a straight face games?) Randomized names and other details.

Things I am undecided about: The low tech look-and-feel. I am unsure what it added to the experience.

Shufflecomp 2014 Review: Tea and Toast, by Maria del Pangolin

One-line summary: Think of Lily while preparing tea, toast.

Game inspired by: "Tea and Toast," by Lucy Spraggan

Things I liked: Good-natured and sweet atmosphere. The fact that the couple is same-sex is presented as part of the story but is treated as unremarkable, as quotidian as the items in the game title--as it ought to be.
"Why does everyone say 'The best thing since sliced bread?'" she says. "Bread you slice yourself is so much nicer."
"Maybe they got tired of the crumbs?"
Omg that is me! I do not like the crumbs from slicing bread lol.

The game is a little bit one-note, but it is good for what it is.

Shufflecomp 2014 Review: Monkey and Bear, by the opposite of sublimation

One-line summary: A haunting fable, starring one bear and one monkey.

Game inspired by: "Monkey and Bear," by Joanna Newsom

Things I liked: A playful bleakness. The allegory aspects are a powerful meaning. Sad to know there are relationships like that at different scales (person-to-person, institution-to-person, community-to-community). Hard to explain without making the spoilers.

The game is a little bit one-note, but it is very good for what it is.

I did need the walkthrough to finish.

Shufflecomp 2014 Review: More, by Erin Canterbury

One-line summary: Heartbroken robber explores broken appliance forest.

Game inspired by: "The Witch’s Promise" by Jethro Tull, "As Cold As It Gets" by Patty Griffin, "More" by Steven Sondheim and Madonna, "Broken Household Appliance National Forest" by Grandaddy, "No Cars Go" by Arcade Fire, "Five Minutes" by Lorrie Morgan, "Girlfriend in a Coma" by The Smiths, and "Haunted" by Sinead O’Connor and Shane MacGowan

Things I liked: A most creative combination of many songs variety. The relationship felt like a real. Great location descriptions and flashbacks.

Things I might like to see different: The parser was finicky about the last command needed for the winning. Details, in rot13 :

QVT UBYR, QVT VA UBYR, naq QVT VA CYNPR qvq abg jbex, ohg QVT CYNPR qvq.

Shufflecomp 2014 Review: An Earth Turning Slowly, by Mæja Stefánsson

One-line summary: Science filled with drama, dinosaurs on another planet we are visiting.

Game inspired by: "Fireflies," by Owl City

Things I liked: Well-written, looks like a literature. Use of the third person is effective. Characters have understandable motivations (though maybe a little contrived) and it felt like you were with them there. World building is made extensive in the game.

Things I am undecided about: The user-interface. A mini parser with autocomplete, this is like CYOA with some semi-hidden choices. Is this improvement over CYOA, or is it really just cosmetic touch-up of CYOA?

Things I might like to see different: Just one: Maybe a little more orientation for the player, and/or sense of scale of setting. How far away are each locations from the other? I'm OK with other things being left to the imaginations, such as how far away are we from Earth. But some news to link the individual scenes a little bit more closely together in space might be nice.