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DF Game Club Survey & Fav Game Poll (with results!)

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G'day all

2012 has been a big first year for Game Club. We've made the transition to a community run event, and we managed to squeeze in 14 games, and 5 dev chats.

To get a better understanding for how people have enjoyed Game Club, and to get some thoughts about how we might approach 2013, we've put together this 18 question survey. All responses are anonymous, and results will be posted here at the end of the month.

A big thanks to everybody who joined us last year, and thanks especially to Greg, Syd, Fireflower, Mimness, lietu, jfrisby, Arthur and everybody else who has helped organise and run Game Club :)

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDQyU3c0NGkxN1N4YXJoQzRhQWtraVE6MQ

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One thing we didn't include in the survey, but would still like feedback on, is whether or not people find it worthwhile to have chat logs and stream archives available.

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Cheers :)

It's interesting to see some of the data that's emerging so far. It looks like people are interested to explore playing things other than adventure games.

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I was one of those people. I might actually get involved in the game club if I was more familiar with the games in it.

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I was one of those people. I might actually get involved in the game club if I was more familiar with the games in it.

Neat. Are there particular games/genres you'd be interested in (we're probably going to need to run another survey).

It'd be nice to be able to explore some more of Double Fine's catalogue.

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I'm really into platformers and I think some of the Ratchet & Clank games would be a good choice. I'm also really into JRPGs, but a lot of those would probably be a bit too long for something like this. The problem is I only have internet on my phone right now, so its hard for me to watch live streams. Would it be possible to upload the stream footage to YouTube?

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Console games would be difficult for us to do because it requires a capture device, which not many people have, as well as the necessary console to run the game. Unless someone that's able to stream console games steps up to the plate, it's likely that we'll be sticking to PC games.

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I'm really into platformers and I think some of the Ratchet & Clank games would be a good choice. I'm also really into JRPGs, but a lot of those would probably be a bit too long for something like this. The problem is I only have internet on my phone right now, so its hard for me to watch live streams. Would it be possible to upload the stream footage to YouTube?

That's definitely possible (we don't have a Game Club YouTube channel set up, but Twitch.tv has options for automatically archiving streams to YouTube).

I'm wary of putting too much emphasis on the streaming though - to me, Game Club is about bringing keen gamers together to discuss/critique games, and the streams are a side thing so that people who don't have those games can still feel involved/have something to talk about (when Greg started Game Club originally, it was to get DFA backers to explore what they did and didn't like about adventure games, perhaps as a form of market research for Reds).

My dream for Game Club is that we'd end up producing insightful reviews/editorials on the games we play (for 2013, I'd like to establish a Game Club Rating System thingy that we can use to assess titles on story, mechanics, presentation, UI, etc.), but as Game Club is a community thing, I'm happy to facilitate its growth in whatever directions people are keen on :)

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The poll said to comment why we said a game was our favourite.

Even though Sissy's Ponycorn Adventure is freakin' awesome ("Aww yeah!") I voted for Gemini Rue because it's so beautifully hard-boiled and has an engaging storyline that explores interesting themes. Not to mention the gorgeous art style - so atmospheric.

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My three favourites from 2012 would be:

Favourite familiar: Sword & Sworcery (a great modern interpretation of the adventure game genre, stands out as being a tragedy - something very rare these days, wonderfully subtle and epic at the same time, fantastic visual aesthetic)

Favourite new (to me): Gemini Rue (amazing atmosphere, well structured and paced story, great production values)

Favourite that-I-haven't-yet-played: Ben There, Dan That (this game's tone and humour are totally pitched at me - I'm both happy and sad that I was stuck doing other stuff during our sessions, and I'm looking forward to playing through on my own)

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My dream for Game Club is that we'd end up producing insightful reviews/editorials on the games we play (for 2013, I'd like to establish a Game Club Rating System thingy that we can use to assess titles on story, mechanics, presentation, UI, etc.), but as Game Club is a community thing, I'm happy to facilitate its growth in whatever directions people are keen on :)

Yeah, that would be cool.

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Just a bump to remind everyone that I'll be closing the survey tomorrow. I'll have some results and discussion up pretty soon afterward :)

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Console games would be difficult for us to do because it requires a capture device, which not many people have, as well as the necessary console to run the game. Unless someone that's able to stream console games steps up to the plate, it's likely that we'll be sticking to PC games.

What if you, like, ran the English translation of Mother 3 thru a GBA emulator on your PC? Even something like the classic Square RPGs like FF 4 (known as II originally in NA) would be easy to capture in ZSNES or something - there's even a capture function within the program itself...

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What if you, like, ran the English translation of Mother 3 thru a GBA emulator on your PC? Even something like the classic Square RPGs like FF 4 (known as II originally in NA) would be easy to capture in ZSNES or something - there's even a capture function within the program itself...

Emulation could work for older games, but I don't know if any of our current streamers would be interested in streaming JRPGs. We try to stick to games our streamers have an interest in, so they don't feel forced to play through something they don't particularly like.

That is not to say that I don't like JRPGs (I've actually been working through Chrono Trigger lately), but it's not the sort of game I'd want to stream for an audience.

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We try to stick to games our streamers have an interest in, so they don't feel forced to play through something they don't particularly like.

We may move past this a little as we get more streamers onboard and the workload becomes less intense, but as Syd says, I'm not sure how well a JRPG would translate to our format. Perhaps we'd need to play through key parts during a session (or pre-record and edit?) rather than trying to do the whole thing live.

I've just closed the survey, and here are some initial results!

How many Game Club Sessions have you attended?

zqXLb

How did you hear about Game Club?

yptIV

How do you feel about the selection of titles played by Game Club in 2012?

KLdsf

What do you find to be worthwhile aspects of Game Club?

vVeeU

Do you play Game Club games prior to the session?

7ca9m

What era would you like to see Game Club focus on?

iYC3R

Would you be interested in seeing Game Club play other genres in addition to adventure games?

vq6KK

Which games have you participated in Game Club sessions for?

rPLZW

How would you feel about narration/commentary in Game Club streams?

fWj8R

How do you feel about the frequency of Game Club sessions?

LGDQ5

How do you feel about the frequency of Game Club games?

mY5V0

Would you be more likely to attend Game Club if it were in a different time slot?

s8hk8

Have you participated in any of the previous Game Club polls?

hkAFD

Would you like to see more open planning for Game Club?

RX6lQ

Are there any aspects of Game Club that you would be interested in assisting with?

Fndhu

Suggestions of titles we could play included:

* Ace Ventura (7th Level Interactive)

* Book Of Unwritten Tales (King Art)

* Broken Sword (Revolution Software)

* Day Z (Dean "Rocket" Hall)

* Gray Matter (Wizarbox)

* Gretel and Hansel on Newgrounds.com

* Indiana Jones (LucasArts)

* Maniac Mansion (LucasArts)

* Day of the Tentacle again (LucasArts)

* The Dig (LucasArts)

* Zak McKracken (LucasArts)

* Monkey Island 2, 3, 4 (LucasArts)

* Tales of Monkey Island (Telltale Games)

* The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

* Sam & Max (Telltale Games)

* Back To The Future The Game (Telltale Games)

* Jurassic Park The Game (Telltale Games)

* Hector: Badge of Carnage (Telltale Games)

* Wallace & Grommit's Grand Adventures (Telltale Games)

* Strong Bat's Cool Game For Attractive People (Telltale Games)

* Bone (Telltale Games)

* Puzzle Agent (Telltale Games)

* Putt Putt (Humongous Entertainment)

* Journey Down Chapter 2 (Skygoblin)

* Little Big Adventure (Adeline Software)

* Lone Survivor (Superflat Games)

* Ratchet & Clank (Insomniac Games)

* Simon The Sorcerer (Adventure Soft)

* Space Quest (Sierra)

* Quest for Glory (Sierra)

* King's Quest (Sierra)

* Leisure Suit Larry (Sierra)

* Ico (Team Ico)

* Shadow of the Colossus (Team Ico)

* The Last Guardian (Team Ico)

* Teenagent (Metropolis Software House)

* Stacking (Double Fine)

* The Cave (Double Fine)

* any adventure game coming out of Kickstarter campaigns

Since it looks like there's enough demand for us to consider non-Adventure titles, I'd be keen to see us play Another World (Eric Chahi), Trine (Frozenbyte), the Amnesia Fortnight 2012 prototypes.

Additional comments were mostly offering thanks for and congratulations on a successful 9 months of Game Club (in return, I'd like to say thanks to everybody who's shown up - without you guys, Game Club wouldn't happen).

We also had a suggestion that future giveaways should involve a participatory activity (such as giving away stuff to people who submit fan art), and a request that if we bring in other genres that we alternate between adventure titles and other genres so that we still maintain a high adventure game focus.

Before we start making decisions about outcomes, what does everybody think about the results? Any comments about particular aspects? One thing that stands out to me is the number of "not sure" responses regarding pursuing other genres - I think if we do go down that road, it should be treated/presented as a trial at first rather than a change in direction.

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Well on the topic of something like Mother 3, it's comparatively short, as far as JRPGs go (30-40 hours maybe)? Wouldn't a quick playthru of, say, Grim Fandango take at least as long or longer? I think, since it's arguably the finest JRPG I've ever played, it's worthy of consideration - after all, it's a poignant and tragic story about loss, and I think those who appreciated the more tragic elements of Manny and Meche's story would appreciate that too.

But it you're looking for something really short, as I said at one point in chat, Lone Survivor is pretty adventure gamey - tho probably so short it might not be long enough for multiple streams - unless a quick second playthru was attempted, because you'll probably get a bad ending on your first attempt.

Also those who like more action-oriented stuff, I'd recommend the original Bully. It can be emulated thru pcsx2 on a decently powerful machine, but if it would be easier to stream a native PC release, Scholarship edition is on sale on Steam for $15, and tho it isn't my preferred version (despite all the added content cut from the original ps2 release) it could be an option for the twitchier side of the DF flock...

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Well on the topic of something like Mother 3, it's comparatively short, as far as JRPGs go (30-40 hours maybe)? Wouldn't a quick playthru of, say, Grim Fandango take at least as long or longer?

Oh, geeze no. I reckon we could get through Grim Fandango in about 10 hours, which would make for 6 or 7 sessions (we generally aim for 1.5 hours per session). That's over a month and a half, which is a fairly long time to try and keep insightful discussion going.

I think that trying to do a 30 - 40 hour game would require a different approach from what we've been doing (perhaps streaming key points in the game and encouraging everybody to play the rest in their own time - which could actually encourage more discussion and less focus on watching the streams). It'd be a pretty big ask to keep people watching us stream a game for 5 months.

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Well on the topic of something like Mother 3, it's comparatively short, as far as JRPGs go (30-40 hours maybe)? Wouldn't a quick playthru of, say, Grim Fandango take at least as long or longer?

Oh, geeze no. I reckon we could get through Grim Fandango in about 10 hours, which would make for 6 or 7 sessions (we generally aim for 1.5 hours per session). That's over a month and a half, which is a fairly long time to try and keep insightful discussion going.

I think that trying to do a 30 - 40 hour game would require a different approach from what we've been doing (perhaps streaming key points in the game and encouraging everybody to play the rest in their own time - which could actually encourage more discussion and less focus on watching the streams). It'd be a pretty big ask to keep people watching us stream a game for 5 months.

Well if GF would only take that long (that's quite something) I would imagine Mother 3 wouldn't even take as long as I estimated. Did a quick Youtube search - this guy managed a speed run in 308.11.57

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The advantage adventure games have for something like the game club is that the time it takes to get through them is significantly shorter than normal if you already know the puzzles solutions (for example, Monkey Island 2 is a massive adventure game, but I can plow through it in just a few hours without skipping dialogue since I've memorized the puzzles). With RPGs, even if you know exactly where you need to go next and exactly what you need to do to advance the story, they're still usually fairly long because of unavoidable battles and often (but not always) a need to grind up levels before moving on.

Also, that tool-assisted Mother 3 speed run skips all the dialogue, and that slashes off a huge amount of time that a playthrough normally would take, and tool-assisted speedruns are inhumanly fast, so that video isn't really a good example of the length of time it'd take a normal person to work through Mother 3.

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The advantage adventure games have for something like the game club is that the time it takes to get through them is significantly shorter than normal if you already know the puzzles solutions (for example, Monkey Island 2 is a massive adventure game, but I can plow through it in just a few hours without skipping dialogue since I've memorized the puzzles). With RPGs, even if you know exactly where you need to go next and exactly what you need to do to advance the story, they're still usually fairly long because of unavoidable battles and often (but not always) a need to grind up levels before moving on.

Also, that tool-assisted Mother 3 speed run skips all the dialogue, and that slashes off a huge amount of time that a playthrough normally would take, and tool-assisted speedruns are inhumanly fast, so that video isn't really a good example of the length of time it'd take a normal person to work through Mother 3.

Ah that's a good point Syd, didn't realize dialog had been skipped or that the speed run was tool-assisted. The game's strength is in its story, characters and dialog - I suppose just focusing on that could be an option, but then you're taking out the fun of the actual RPG gameplay/battle system - and Mother 3's battles are pretty neat with the whole rhythm combo focus.

It's true that if you know something like MI2 off by heart, the whole puzzle gameplay mechanic is inherently easier to bypass, and if you want half a fighting chance with tough bosses later on like New Fassad, hellz yeah you're gonna have to grind, especially if Boney doesn't have his Shield Stealer yet (and in my current playthru - I have yet to beat the game - I don't have it myself).

I see your point and agree, but I wouldn't discount a good JRPG (especially if it's shorter) out of hand just based on the fact that it isn't a traditional adventure title. Something like Lone Survivor is in fact a heavily adventure-game influenced psychological horror title, but since it isn't a pure adventure per se perhaps this isn't the ideal venue for such a title. Might be cool to consider other types of games outside of the classics, tho. After all, a certain heavy-metal themed game wasn't really an adventure. ;)

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Well if GF would only take that long (that's quite something) I would imagine Mother 3 wouldn't even take as long as I estimated. Did a quick Youtube search - this guy managed a speed run in 308.11.57

Actually, if we're talking speed runs, I spotted a thread yesterday where somebody had gotten through Grim Fandango in three hours (and faster elsewhere).

There's a pretty big difference in scale here, and as Syd says, we skip much of the sitting-around-thinking time, but it's difficult to work through a JRPG whilst avoiding the grind of building XP. I'm definitely keen to attempt things, but I think we need to be sure that we're not overloading ourselves with a long term thing that's going to be difficult to present an enjoyable experience for.

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A whole other issue is that having a dev chat short of involving some kind of translator wouldn't work, because Itoi-san (creator of the series) doesn't speak English to my knowledge - still, if an avid Mother fan who could speak Japanese got on board, we might be in business. But as I said in my reply to Syd, I fully realize the difficulties inherent in presenting a fairly lengthy JRPG in this context. :)

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So after reading back through the survey results, I'm feeling that we may be best served by moving Game Club as we know it to a fortnightly event, and trying new/other stuff on the off weeks. We're aiming to do The Cave after we're done with TGP, and I'd like to retain our current format for that, but following that, I think that we've seen some clear demand for other stuff.

I think that as we move forward with that, it'll be important to maintain awareness and focus on what we want Game Club to be, and make sure that it doesn't just devolve into a "let's play" type thing.

Taking stock of who we have onboard at the moment, we have myself, Syd, Fireflower and Mimness who have streamed for us in the past. Lodium, The_Patient and ALPHATT have expressed interest in streaming as well.

Looking at games that we have planned/suggested, we're planning to play Sam & Max: Culture Shock after The Cave, and we'd hoped to cover The Last Express at some stage. Looking broader, there's the fairly lengthy list of titles in the survey results on the last page, though that doesn't include Under A Killing Moon. If we branch out to other genres as well, it'd be nice to work through Double Fine's catalogue.

I've also made a Game Club Twitter account to make announcements and stuff a bit easier to follow (and potentially share as more people get involved with organising), and added a scrolling ticker for it to the top of the streaming page.

What're everybody else's thoughts?

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I move that we give Discworld a shot. It's scummVM compatible as well as abandonware. I can also do the Last Express since I own that and also completed it.

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