Jump to content
Double Fine Action Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Greg Rice

DF Game Club: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

Recommended Posts

I may just stop here, and fire up some of the other games in that humble bundle, none of which I've played before.

You havent played any of the games in the bundle? Then what are you doing in this thread writing stuff when you could be playing the most excellent game Psychonauts!?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure I died twice on that fight, but that isn't unusual for a lot of games. For that matter, unblockable attacks aren't too uncommon either. I agree the game could be a lot more clear and up front about everything (I also didn't know about the health regeneration until after I died), but honestly having to learn and re-assess preconceived notions about mechanics in different situations is part of what makes games... well... games.

True, but another aspect of what makes games games is rules. I didn't mind the "hold up your shield to heal" mechanic because that adds a new spin on an existing rule. It doesn't contradict what you've already been told, it just gives you a deeper understanding of it, and I believe that is how learning and reassessing preconceived notions should work.

What I dislike about the click-shield-to-dodge thing isn't that it taught me something new about the rules - it's that it broke the previously established rules. Suddenly, a control which previously had ABSOLUTELY AND CONSISTENTLY done one particular thing does something completely different. That's not adding a new layer of nuance to the mechanics, it's throwing the old mechanic out of the window and replacing it with a new one without telling the player - in other words, it's cheap, it's cheating, and it's sloppy. Worst of all, it breaks the trust between me and the game. How am I meant to reasonably interact with the game when I can't trust that the controls won't suddenly completely redefine themselves at the whim of the designers?

(It's also completely illogical and counterintuitive. The shield is for blocking... so I click it to move? How does that even make the slightest bit of sense? If anything, there should be a "feets" button to allow attempts to dodge.)

I'd much rather have to learn through trial and error, or experimentation, than have the game just tell me how to do everything. Maybe that puts me in the minority. The game does give you feedback and information, but it's subtle. That might not be everyone's style.

I've no problem with learning through experimentation, or even trial and error, but to me it seemed like blind trial and error, which is the real problem for me: if I don't get why a particular puzzle solution worked, then solving it isn't very satisfying for me. For the sheep puzzle and the tree puzzle I just couldn't understand why the correct solution is the correct solution, at which point solving a puzzle ceases to become an exercise in thinking it through and more an exercise in brute-forcing it by trying every combination until one works. What feedback the game offers is so slight as to be undetectable, at least so far as I found. (And in the case of the bird statues I found the feedback actually pointed me in the wrong direction.)

Anyway, thanks for posting this, because the more opportunities I have to think through this stuff the more it helps me decide whether it's worth my time to continue. (Current assessment: it really isn't.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True, but another aspect of what makes games games is rules. I didn't mind the "hold up your shield to heal" mechanic because that adds a new spin on an existing rule. It doesn't contradict what you've already been told, it just gives you a deeper understanding of it, and I believe that is how learning and reassessing preconceived notions should work.

What I dislike about the click-shield-to-dodge thing isn't that it taught me something new about the rules - it's that it broke the previously established rules. Suddenly, a control which previously had ABSOLUTELY AND CONSISTENTLY done one particular thing does something completely different. That's not adding a new layer of nuance to the mechanics, it's throwing the old mechanic out of the window and replacing it with a new one without telling the player - in other words, it's cheap, it's cheating, and it's sloppy. Worst of all, it breaks the trust between me and the game. How am I meant to reasonably interact with the game when I can't trust that the controls won't suddenly completely redefine themselves at the whim of the designers?

(It's also completely illogical and counterintuitive. The shield is for blocking... so I click it to move? How does that even make the slightest bit of sense? If anything, there should be a "feets" button to allow attempts to dodge.)

I think the dodge mechanic was probably mapped to the shield icon because there isn't a lot of screen real estate on the iphone. It would definitely be clearer if it was a separate icon, but there are audio and visual cues that let you know when pressing the shield will dodge instead of block (if I recall correctly, there's a sunburst type visual around the shield and a sound). It caught me off guard at first, but doesn't seem like too much of a stretch to me because blocking and dodging are both defensive options. If you think of the shield icon not as a "use the shield" button but as a "take defensive action" button, it kinda makes sense. But agreed, that's not readily apparent. I'd argue it doesn't necessarily have to be, but that's more a matter of preference.

Also remember that we're both basing our assumptions about the mechanics on a very short amount of play time. By the time you fight the Triangle boss, you'd only had a couple other fights. Clearly the game likes to mess with your assumptions to some degree. I'd say it's safe to assume (or is it?!) that we shouldn't believe anything too concretely... at least not when it's based on only a couple examples. But if they're still randomly pulling this kind of maneuver by the end of the game (without the consistency that would make it an expected characteristic) I'll be right alongside you waving the "this is BS" flag.

I've no problem with learning through experimentation, or even trial and error, but to me it seemed like blind trial and error, which is the real problem for me: if I don't get why a particular puzzle solution worked, then solving it isn't very satisfying for me. For the sheep puzzle and the tree puzzle I just couldn't understand why the correct solution is the correct solution, at which point solving a puzzle ceases to become an exercise in thinking it through and more an exercise in brute-forcing it by trying every combination until one works. What feedback the game offers is so slight as to be undetectable, at least so far as I found. (And in the case of the bird statues I found the feedback actually pointed me in the wrong direction.)

The sheep puzzle is definitely a polarizing one. You can look at it on the one hand a pure trial and error, where the results are seemingly random; but if you approach it from the perspective of experimentation, it's not quite so frustrating. When you click on a sheep, they light up and there's a musical cue. When you click on multiple sheep in the right order the musical cues continue, but if you click on the wrong sheep it makes a different sound and the lights go out. For me that was enough feedback to know that there was a specific order that I needed to click on the sheep, and I found that order through experimentation and memorization. It wasn't really a great puzzle, but there were enough hints there for me to get it. Thinking back on it now, I'm pretty sure the sheep were slightly different shades, and that they were activated in pairs. I'm betting that the colours were a hint also, but I admit I never pieced this together at the time...

This game is clearly not perfect and not to everyone's tastes, but judging from the enthusiasm of people who have played ahead or beaten it, it clearly does some things right, and there are more good moments ahead. I can get why you've been frustrated by the game so far, but it might be worth at least starting Act 3 just to see how it is. It doesn't cost you anything other than time. That said, there's always a point to walk away from something you aren't enjoying. This could be that point for you, but that's your decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the dodge mechanic was probably mapped to the shield icon because there isn't a lot of screen real estate on the iphone. It would definitely be clearer if it was a separate icon, but there are audio and visual cues that let you know when pressing the shield will dodge instead of block (if I recall correctly, there's a sunburst type visual around the shield and a sound).

Is there? I honestly didn't notice. Maybe it wasn't there on the PC or something.

Either way, I take the point about iPhone screen real estate, but on the PC you don't have that issue... but they don't address that either. One of my recurring frustrations with the game is how little Superbrothers did to adapt it to the different control setup and screen real estate of the PC; again, I honestly wish they'd either done a proper job of respeccing the thing to take into account the inherently different experience of playing it on the PC or, if they really didn't want the purity of their vision messed around like that, just stuck to their guns and not ported it at all.

It caught me off guard at first, but doesn't seem like too much of a stretch to me because blocking and dodging are both defensive options. If you think of the shield icon not as a "use the shield" button but as a "take defensive action" button, it kinda makes sense. But agreed, that's not readily apparent. I'd argue it doesn't necessarily have to be, but that's more a matter of preference.

It makes sense when you say it like that, except in the context of the fight up to that point it doesn't make sense. Earlier in that fight you're swinging the sword to bat away a pong projectile, which doesn't seem to damage the Trigon at all. So the sword is sometimes used in a purely defensive manner, including in the very same fight we're talking about.

The only coherent way to interpret what we have been shown and what we have been told and what we have done so far is that shield button = use shield, sword button = use sword. Shield = defend and sword = attack doesn't work because the sword is used purely defensively in this fight.

Also remember that we're both basing our assumptions about the mechanics on a very short amount of play time. By the time you fight the Triangle boss, you'd only had a couple other fights.

Three fights, actually, and the use of the shield has still been consistent for 100% of the fights you've had so far. 3 and 1/3, if you count the earlier phase of the very same fight where clicking on the shield causes you to raise your shield rather than skip about.

I mean, if we're going to quibble about the numbers by the time you fight the triangle boss you're more or less 50% of the way through the game.

Clearly the game likes to mess with your assumptions to some degree.

Which, particularly when it's accompanied by cutsey little lectures borrowing terminology from the LSD culture and immersion-jarring "quirky" humour and a shamelessly retro-pandering art style, comes across to me as irritating, pretentious and gimmicky.

This game is clearly not perfect and not to everyone's tastes, but judging from the enthusiasm of people who have played ahead or beaten it, it clearly does some things right, and there are more good moments ahead. I can get why you've been frustrated by the game so far, but it might be worth at least starting Act 3 just to see how it is. It doesn't cost you anything other than time.

But equally, trying something different costs me nothing but time, and I might or might not enjoy that (whereas the odds are I'm not going to enjoy the rest of SBS&S). Or I could continue my playthrough of the Witcher, which I almost certainly will enjoy because I've loved it so far. Or I could do some chores and work on packing up my stuff for moving house, which I may not enjoy but is a job which needs to be done. Given that I only have 24 hours in the day and a heap of demands on them, persisting in spending time on the game would just be throwing good minutes after bad.

Yes, it doesn't cost me anything other than time, but I'm at a space in my life where my free time is actually quite limited and therefore very precious to me, and spending it on stuff I don't enjoy would be a lousy investment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I guess that covers my strongest feelings about it. I wow-ed harder at later points in the game than I have in almost any other videogame. It is SO worth sticking it out. Like the guy in the suit says, S&S is best experienced with a curious, exploratory approach.

Actually, I found that (and the waffle about set and setting) really kind of pretentious and patronising, as if it were saying that if I don't like the game it's because I was in the wrong mood when I was playing it, rather than because having given it a good honest chance I simply don't like the game.

Suit-guy's bits, in particular, seem almost designed to make me feel lectured-to.

Good to hear that you don't have to play the game on specific days to finish it but with all this other stuff I'm still more likely than not to just pack it in here, get the soundtrack, and just listen to that instead of playing the game.

I didn't mind the tone so much, but after two episode I am definitely feeling like I'm not curious about it, particularly, and exploration is, as you have mentioned, a frustrating activity in the pc version of the game, so... I guess... I'm okay with a game encouraging me to be curious and exploratory, as long as it makes me curious and want to explore. Like Fez did, without even having to prompt me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the dodge mechanic was probably mapped to the shield icon because there isn't a lot of screen real estate on the iphone. It would definitely be clearer if it was a separate icon, but there are audio and visual cues that let you know when pressing the shield will dodge instead of block (if I recall correctly, there's a sunburst type visual around the shield and a sound).

Is there? I honestly didn't notice. Maybe it wasn't there on the PC or something.

There absolutely was. And it was very overt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I didn't mind the tone so much, but after two episode I am definitely feeling like I'm not curious about it, particularly, and exploration is, as you have mentioned, a frustrating activity in the pc version of the game, so... I guess... I'm okay with a game encouraging me to be curious and exploratory, as long as it makes me curious and want to explore. Like Fez did, without even having to prompt me.

This is precisely what gets to me about suit-guy's stuff: having someone direct tell me "isn't this scary and mysterious!" or "you ought to take an exploratory approach to this" is possibly the laziest way a game can encourage me to feel a sense of fear and mystery or prompt me to get exploratory, and it's also the least effective. If the stuff in the game already scares and mystifies you and makes you want to explore, you don't need to be told that. If it doesn't do any of those things, being told what you should feel about what is happening on the screen is just obnoxious.

@TheKeck: Huh, guess I just missed it. There's a lot going on on the screen in that fight of course so my eyes might have been drawn to the Trigon, since it flashes at more or less the same time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(...)

There's a lot going on on the screen in that fight of course so my eyes might have been drawn to the Trigon, since it flashes at more or less the same time.

Speaking of flashing...

There I was playing in the night with all the lights turned off. The Scythian approached the edge of the water in the dream land. The game told me to "believe" and then...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, I've gotten every humble bundle, and this one is simply amazing! Also, can't wait to get started on Superbrothers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Remind me, where does session 2 end?

When you've had your first Trigon battle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a different issue with the Trigon battle. I failed a few attempts, and the first times I had to retry the game was spamming me with hints. The Archetype spelt out about every move through the Megatome. Even then, I felt like the game was making the battle easier, especially in the last part. That ruins the joy of achievement.

I finished the entire game in a few days, though, so I'll have to second that you don't need to play according to IRL phases of the moon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is precisely what gets to me about suit-guy's stuff: having someone direct tell me "isn't this scary and mysterious!" or "you ought to take an exploratory approach to this" is possibly the laziest way a game can encourage me to feel a sense of fear and mystery or prompt me to get exploratory, and it's also the least effective. If the stuff in the game already scares and mystifies you and makes you want to explore, you don't need to be told that. If it doesn't do any of those things, being told what you should feel about what is happening on the screen is just obnoxious.

This! I find the way the way suit-guy tells you how to approach things (especially coupled with the way it's couched in knowingly over the top lanugage) to be incredibly aggravating. Then again I think the tone in general just doesn't jive with me. I really don't want to describe it as hipsterish because I hate that word, but, the pop culture, first person plural, colloquialisms, self-awareness, irony and understatement? It's constantly what comes to mind and I just find it immersion breaking.

I really want to like the game and I do think both the graphics and sound are wonderful. It's just the tone combined with the clunky controls, sparse interaction and meaninglessly trial and error gameplay (I'd actually much rather have Dear Esther-style walk-and-we'll-show-you-the-plot than click-sheep-until-you-hit-the-right-combo or easy-when-you-know-how-boss-fight-that-will-kill-you-multiple-times timewasting) means I actually feel no real desire to explore this beautiful world they've set before me. Whenever I hit a block in knowing what to do I have to fight the urge to immediately hit up gamefaqs because I don't care about finding the solution for myself - I just want to see the next screen.

Still, I'll keep with it, maybe eventually something will click.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I missed it ... nah.. shouldn't have subscired to the tbale of contents thread after all :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Judging by the global-achievement stats on Steam it would appear only around 5% of people that own this game have completed it (I'm not sure that has much meaning, or whether it includes all owners or only those who have installed it).

I believe they count everyone that owns it. Most games have a low number of people that actually got the end-game achievement. For example, only 6.4% of Psychonauts owners have beaten the final level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My experience so far has been mixed to say the least. I was totally jazzed at the beginning, it was literally the best part of the game, just the simple exploration and such. And then, session II. I've run into the numerous problems you've had with the sheep, and the sudden shield rule change where lo and behold you can now dodge or need to in order to live, that definitely pissed me off the first time around but I worked through it.

I did manage to fight the boor again and got the key back. And it gave you a choice at that point.

Then after that.... I'm getting stumped. I remember the girl saying, oh I dreamed that I walked through the forest an hour before morning so I'm thinking, oh you know what I'll change the computer time to 11 pm. and did such. There seemed to be no change even though I walked through the forest and the dream world unless there is something COMPLETELY different that I am currently missing.

But yeah, session 3 has been rather frustrating. also ahhh epilepsy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So I missed it ... nah.. shouldn't have subscired to the tbale of contents thread after all :(

The TOC thread updates with new threads. The Game Club has a specific time and date announced in advance, so it shouldn't catch you by surprise!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This game was terribad. Quite glad I picked it up on sale. On the other hand Amnesia turned out to be more then I could have ever hoped for so.... Blessing in disguise. Anyways - the game club should really do a broken sword shadow of the templars (ORIGINAL! NOT "REMASTERED") playthrough if they want to get a feel for awesome adventure..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So I missed it ... nah.. shouldn't have subscired to the tbale of contents thread after all :(

The TOC thread updates with new threads. The Game Club has a specific time and date announced in advance, so it shouldn't catch you by surprise!

Well, I mostly pay attention to the table of contents Thread, thiswhy it does :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it's really curious to read these reactions -- I didn't expect people to actually agree with my problems with this game at all :)

So was the success of this game a one-off?

Is it a novelty-piece?

Do people buy this because it appears to match up with current retro-aesthetic design trends that they love?

Is this a new angle to design around to make lots of money? Games that embody hip design, but are really pretty unmemorable and insta-dated to when they were made?

Will people replay this in 10 years?

Judging by the global-achievement stats on Steam it would appear only around 5% of people that own this game have completed it (I'm not sure that has much meaning, or whether it includes all owners or only those who have installed it).

I think Tim's stuff usually gets carried by the strength of the writing.. So it's interesting that he's always looking at new innovative gameplay styles (since that's sometimes the weaker, or confused, element). Seems like a basic questions like "what are we good at?" sort of points the direction forward... I see a lot more improvements in the story-telling aspect of games in things like Journey or even Dear Esther.

(should say that I write this out of not wanting DFA to fall in these traps.. Rather than trying to make the makers of Superbrothers cry.)

I think maybe that's a little unfair on the game. I'm not the biggest fan of it either - I just think that it has some basic interface issues that really get in the way, and I can't say the story so far has drawn me in. But I don't think that it was cynically designed to appeal to certain trends or whatever. I'm sure they believed entirely in what they were doing, because you can sort of tell when people don't, when they're just trying to get onto a bandwagon or something.

As for Tim and this game, I really just think that it is the mark of a good designer and a good creative mind in general to absorb lots of different approaches, rather than exist in a protective bubble. It's the only way to grow really. And I actually don't think Tim gets enough credit as a game designer, as well as a story/world building guy.

Finally, on retro-aesthetic trends, while I agree that a whole lot of indie games use a retro aesthetic I would point out that very often it's not because they're chasing that particular trend, but for far more practical reasons. Many small teams don't have a dedicated animator, and low-res animations with a small number of frames are one possible way to make something that still looks good without needing detailed animations. My own two-person team, we don't even really have a dedicated artist. I do the art and I'm not awful at it, and I have a good sense of what looks good, but it would be so much harder for me to make something more detailed and have it still look good. Sworcery clearly is designed with a definite retro-modern aesthetic, so that's kind of different, but I just wanted to offer another explanation for why we see so many pixellated indie games - which is that people want their game to look good, and sometimes that might be the best way to achieve it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think SS&S is part of a current fashion in indie gaming for a deliberately retro-aesthetic; I agree with Surplus that there are compelling reasons why a lot of indie games go for that option, but the super retro pixelly stuff we see in Superbrothers isn't the only option when it comes to picking a cheap but functional and reasonably pretty aesthetic (and the extent of the work they've done on the aesthetics makes it clear to me than it's more than just a fudge to keep the cost of the art down).

As far as Jon Frisby's questions go:

- Was the success of the game a one-off?

Not really. There's plenty of artsy-fartsy indie games out there which have managed to get success despite courting very polarised reactions. I can't stand Braid because the platforming aspect of the game is overly finicky - all too often in it I can see the solution to a puzzle, and confirm it's the correct solution with a walkthrough, but I can't actually pull it off because I'm not quite good enough at platforming to do it - and because I thought the writing was shallow and dumb in the way only pseudo-deep pseudo-intellectual "look at how clever I am" writing can be; on the other hand, lots of people like it. In the same way, I find The Path and Dear Esther pretty damn pathetic both as games and as interactive stories but both have their supporters. There's definitely a niche in the market right now for arty games of the sort which prompt very strong reactions, whether or not those reactions are positive or negative.

- Is it a novelty-piece?

Yeah, kind of. Greg's pointed out the whole "playable music album" angle, which certainly comes across to me more as a novelty than anything particularly deep and substantive.

- Do people buy it because of the retro graphics?

I'm sure the aesthetic presentation is a selling point - they've done a nice job on it.

- Is this a new angle to design around to make lots of money?

I think it's an example of the sort of thing indie developers can do whilst big developers who financially speaking do not have the leeway to make a "loved by a few, hated by a few, ignored by most" game can't. Whether it's massively profitable I can't say, though of course what's an enormous financial success for a small indie developer may be chump change for a big-name developer, or even a medium-sized developer which has grown to the point Double Fine has.

- Will people replay this in 10 years?

I honestly have my doubts. It feels very "faddy" to me. In 10 years time there'll be entirely different fashions and trends in cutting-edge indie "games as art" stuff and I suspect most people will have moved on to that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
- Is this a new angle to design around to make lots of money?

I think it's an example of the sort of thing indie developers can do whilst big developers who financially speaking do not have the leeway to make a "loved by a few, hated by a few, ignored by most" game can't. Whether it's massively profitable I can't say, though of course what's an enormous financial success for a small indie developer may be chump change for a big-name developer, or even a medium-sized developer which has grown to the point Double Fine has.

I think that that's the most significant thing you said and I agree with it. When a medium matures, what you don't usually find is that suddenly everyone likes everything in it. If anything, it's the opposite, or at least more extremes. You get very mainstream things which are very popular, amid kind of niche things which have their audience and so on. Sword and Sworcery isn't really my game - I think I understand that now having given it some time. But I'm very glad that it exists for some people.

More than that, I'm glad that the medium is now at a point where you can have these one offs or things that are made just because the creator thought there should be a game like that or just because it might be interesting. It's more like how gaming started, where publishers weren't so dominant and the rules of thumb about what 'sells' weren't established and game design was still in its infancy. That spirit of 'oh, let's just try this, see what happens' that has become diminished since the early 90s. With indies, that spirit is back again, but with the benefit of over 30 years of gaming history to draw upon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I think that Sword & Sworcery does lots of amazing stuff, but the gameplay lets it down.

Obviously all the art is great and I think it's the reason why this game is so appreciated by many. The music, all the sound design, the ambient sounds, and the great aesthetic. The graphics are not merely very pixelated. The game does actually run at a pretty high resolution, but it uses pixels as an artistic choice, maybe to give it some retro look, but it's not authentically retro, just like a lot of recent chiptune music isn't. I think the big pixels give the graphics ambiguity, a certain undefined quality. But then they take advantage of the higher resolution in other ways with the gradients, the interface, the font and some other graphical elements that are not pixelated.

The atmosphere in this game can be wonderful, very relaxing. The natural environments really beg you to explore them. But it's a shame there's not much to do within them and what you can do is often obtuse, but this weakness was discussed very elaboratedly in the thread before.

The writing is, hm, well, I do like the meta elements, the disruption of the fourth wall. In some ways I wonder if it could've gone even further. The tome is basically like an in-game Twitter. It's regularly updated with messages by the various characters, which are explained to be their thoughts. Then the game annoyingly prompts you constantly to message on Twitter, but that's one of those fashionable "social" components that don't serve any function. I wonder how they could've integrated Twitter more to be of use? Maybe it could've been useful for some of the puzzles? Wouldn't it have been nice to ask for help inside the game via Twitter? I mean, normally this would've broken the fiction, but since there were already all these meta elements, the disruption of the fourth wall, the colloquial narration and this kind of in-game Twitter going on I think it could've worked. But maybe the distinction between the tome and Twitter would've been needed to be removed and they would need to be the same thing. Maybe Twitter could be explained to be the host of voices from a twilight realm, of the dead, of ghosts that are watching you and your actions and that might respond to your cries for help, sometimes in a coherent, appropriate manner, sometimes not...

I dunno if this could've worked...

Not that this is something I would be wild about, but it's clear to me that the game does a lot of interesting, clever stuff. A lot of the individual elements are very well done, but its gameplay is a failure. The story is pretty thin too and the writing fails to give the characters, well, any character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
With indies, that spirit is back again, but with the benefit of over 30 years of gaming history to draw upon.

I think you're overstating the case a little here. That spirit never vanished, but it did tend to be restricted to hobbyists who didn't actually expect to make games as their day job. (I remember the homebrew text adventure scene being pretty healthy in the 1990s and 2000s, for instance).

I think what has changed is that people can much more viably make money producing indie games, partially because gamers are more likely to take a chance on them. This is partly because of technology hitting the point where it's more viable to make a game which looks and sounds nice on a limited budget, but also partly because at the other end of the scale AAA games are getting even more homogenised because when you're playing with a stack of money that big you rapidly cease wanting to take any risks with it at all.

But broadly I agree - I'm glad the market is at the point where things like this can exist, I'm just not glad to play it myself. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
With indies, that spirit is back again, but with the benefit of over 30 years of gaming history to draw upon.

I think you're overstating the case a little here. That spirit never vanished, but it did tend to be restricted to hobbyists who didn't actually expect to make games as their day job. (I remember the homebrew text adventure scene being pretty healthy in the 1990s and 2000s, for instance).

I think what has changed is that people can much more viably make money producing indie games, partially because gamers are more likely to take a chance on them. This is partly because of technology hitting the point where it's more viable to make a game which looks and sounds nice on a limited budget, but also partly because at the other end of the scale AAA games are getting even more homogenised because when you're playing with a stack of money that big you rapidly cease wanting to take any risks with it at all.

But broadly I agree - I'm glad the market is at the point where things like this can exist, I'm just not glad to play it myself. ;)

I agree with you that a lot of it was practical. 1995-2005 ish just wasn't a great time for the hobbyist. The distribution channels weren't there because the internet wasn't grown up enough, and the tools weren't there so you had to have a significant amount of technical skill to even get started making a game in most formats, so understandably most people never bothered. That's all I really meant by it being diminished.

But then again, the very fact that the indie scene is so viable now gives it an amplifying effect: now, more people than ever see making a game as something that they could viably try to do, and more people are succeeding as evidenced by the growth of jams like Ludum Dare over the past several years. So it's true, the spirit never left, but it's certainly never been stronger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree with you that a lot of it was practical. 1995-2005 ish just wasn't a great time for the hobbyist. The distribution channels weren't there because the internet wasn't grown up enough, and the tools weren't there so you had to have a significant amount of technical skill to even get started making a game in most formats, so understandably most people never bothered.

Again, it depends what scene you were looking at. RPG Maker always seemed to get plenty of play. Languages like TADS and Inform and so forth made it very easy for people to produce text adventures provided they were willing to learn them. Both formats ended up with games which were small enough that you didn't need masses of bandwidth to distribute them in the first place, and had communities surrounding them producing really useful tools and sites for distributing and playing them. There's plenty of roguelikes and other niche game types that were produced in that time frame.

I think there's plenty of hobbyists who had an outright great time in the timeframe you're talking about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree with you that a lot of it was practical. 1995-2005 ish just wasn't a great time for the hobbyist. The distribution channels weren't there because the internet wasn't grown up enough, and the tools weren't there so you had to have a significant amount of technical skill to even get started making a game in most formats, so understandably most people never bothered.

Again, it depends what scene you were looking at. RPG Maker always seemed to get plenty of play. Languages like TADS and Inform and so forth made it very easy for people to produce text adventures provided they were willing to learn them. Both formats ended up with games which were small enough that you didn't need masses of bandwidth to distribute them in the first place, and had communities surrounding them producing really useful tools and sites for distributing and playing them. There's plenty of roguelikes and other niche game types that were produced in that time frame.

I think there's plenty of hobbyists who had an outright great time in the timeframe you're talking about.

I agree with all this, and the other stuff! I suspect we're in violent agreement with each other. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd like to join in on the club. Can someone tell me where in the game you all check-pointed at so I can try to catch up to it?

So far, we've completed the second session/chapter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...