Live Free, Play Hard: Piss-Based Economy

By Porpentine on August 4th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

The price of pancake fame. Expensive banana room. Musical soup. Piss soda.

Porpentine is out spreading the good word at GaymerX, so this week you’re stuck with Noyb again.

 

Crypt Worlds: Your Darkest Desires by Lilith with music by Liz Ryerson

I know from the hand-drawn instruction manual that pissing is an important verb in Crypt Worlds. I wasn’t expecting a whole piss-based economy. You’re so piss-poor during the first few days that it takes all the scrounging you can muster just to keep your bladder full enough to use your piss fruitfully, when you’re not pissing it all away down deep holes in pursuit of a dubious sidequest.

You can piss on anyone. Living corpses. Existential televisions. Hard-boiled detectives. Sky pilgrims. A thinly-veiled caricature of CliffyB.

You can even piss on the gods.

There’s a hilarious and surprisingly cohesive game in here, distilling 90s counter-culture and a child’s eye view of the darkness and mystery evoked by the claustrophobic worlds and distant NPCs in some of that decade’s games. After a few in-game days the initial exploration phase slows down and you get a good grasp on the systems at play. The world will feel cozy enough to catch you off guard when things start to change.

 

Female Experience Simulator by Alyson Macdonald

(Trigger warning for street harassment.)

Part of the reason why games can illustrate broken or rigged systems so well is that players tend to expect strong agency: that puzzles have solutions, that challenges can be overcome with the tools provided, that you have the power to reach the outcome you desire based solely on your own merits.

Not all systems in the real world are power fantasies. It’s easy for the ignorant to assume that a victim only becomes a victim because she did something wrong. Wore the wrong thing. Went down the wrong street.

This is a game about a broken system.

 

 

CAVE! CAVE! DEUS VIDET. by We Are Muesli, Monroeville Music Center

Cave! Cave! Deus Videt — Latin for “Beware! Beware! God Sees.” and a reference to a certain Hieronymus Bosch work — is an edutainment game, but not one bogged down by having to conform itself to standardized curricula or consortium-approved themes. Overstimulation is the key word here: punk rock, silent films, Rorschach diagrams, Star Wars, hellish visions. The most prominent educational bits — depending on your choices in the Visual Novel segments you’ll be either playing a hidden object game on Bosch’s The Temptation of St. Anthony or taking a multiple choice quiz about St. Anthony’s Fire  — slow the game down with some trial and error, but the subject matter is fascinating and the art style is wild.

 

Love Hotel by 3 Silly Hats

Short and sweet business simulator you should already know all about from Cara’s article. I like the little touches. The visual puns in the theme rooms, the messy state clients leave them in, how they’ll use a supply closet if everything else is full. Being able to see your condom supply slowly deplete. The special events when you build to certain milestones. How queer couples just exist and aren’t treated any different mechanically.

Two thematic choices give me pause.

First, the game’s website says “the staff have peep holes in all the walls,” which lends the hotel a skeezy vibe that contradicts most of the consent-positive atmosphere of the game proper.

Second, the game maps different room types to different kinks, and implements the standard business sim mechanic of asking you to cater to different types of clientele — working class, upper class, denizens of a floating city, among others — with each type associated with a different subset of rooms. The unfortunate implication here is that only certain kinks are normal (or even possible) based on how much money you have or where you come from.

 

Pan Man by Major Bueno

You’re a pancake flipper with a theatrical streak — you get points for flipping pancakes high in the air, keeping a combo going by smacking the pancake multiple times before you finally catch it. The theme is hubris. You’re forced to flip at least a few pancakes per level, since leaving one in your pan for too long leaves it burnt, but you’re in total control over how much you want to risk for the sake of those points.

This dovetails nicely with the game’s story. You start by trying to impress your family, then the patrons of your local bar, then a paying crowd. After every step of your burgeoning career you have the choice of either going back home to your family or continuing on the path to pancake flipping fame.

If your goal is to maximize your score, the answer is obvious.

 

SOUP by Bowl of Rice

SOUP is a playable concept album, an engine that strings together a series of atmospheric, structurally-similar vignettes.

Each track places you inside a small, textured cube. The floor texture determines how your footsteps meld with the backing track. There may or may not be a creature or object at the center of the cube, or a smaller creature running around. You can walk into a side of the cube at any time to move to the next track, and reopen the program to experience a new set of tracks.

The developer recommends that you play it at night.

 

FANTASY / REALITY by mno

This game sketches out a society based not on what its inhabitants believe, but by what the people in power want them to believe. If you follow the party line closely enough, perhaps you too will be given the power to dictate what is fantasy and what is reality.

I like how outside of the central quiz the written word is more fluid, less stable than normal. Phrases disappear at will or get replaced by functional equivalents with slightly different connotations.

 

THE SEX CHAMBER by Leigh Alexander

“I found the disk!”

“We’re gonna get in so much trouble.”

“Nah, mom’s not back for another hour or two. Lemme boot it up.”

“Who’s Mickey Rooney?”

“Some old guy. It asks you the same questions each time. Here, take the keyboard.”

“What do I do?”

“Just walk around and pick things up, I think? I never got much farther than the test.”

“Okay, I picked the substance, but I still don’t know what I’m… Eeeep, something’s coming!”

“Hahahaha, I can’t believe they can show that!”

, .

95 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    Piss is a vital component of the gross domestic product of the Uri Nation.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      I heard they’re the main non-domestic market for the recent Nintendo home consoles. Is that still true?

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        It’s getting there, but the unit costs are quite high due to the expensive shipping, since the Uri Nation is quite wiimote.

        • guorley says:

          my best friend’s sister-in-law makes $69/hr on the internet. She has been fired for 8 months but last month her income was $13999 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site ……………………… http://xurl.es/wep6

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        Although granted there’s a strong market for pissy gaming, too.

  2. Premium User Badge

    lowprices says:

    Eep. I didn’t know about the peephole part of Love Hotel. That just rendered a game I had been enjoying a lot quite creepy. Oh well. It’s never mentioned in-game, so I’ll just assume it’s not happening in my hotel if I play it again.

    • The Random One says:

      I don’t know who is peeping inside the rooms though, since all of my staff are super busy all the time.

  3. Pich says:

    Oh boy! It’s Pretentious Hour again!

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Real shusses, get out.

      GET OUT.

      OUT.

    • Premium User Badge

      cpt_freakout says:

      Such an overused word. Do you even know why you’re using it or if the context is adequate?

      • Nick says:

        it means something I don’t like, right?

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          Something I don’t like that smart people are talking about with words I don’t understand.

  4. Bhazor says:

    I found Love Hotel quite worrying. Not for the content but for the idea that tacking on tackiness to a rudimentary Tiny Tower clone garnered this much praise and attention.

    Replace the sex with anything else and RPS would never have given it even mention. Put a few “lol bums” in and it gets a full article and a recommendation.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Isn’t Tiny Tower a microtransaction based Sim Tower rip off?

      And wasn’t Sim Tower a rip off of something else, which ripped off something else…

      • Bhazor says:

        Only in the sense Rayman Origins is a Super Mario Brothers rip off. Theres enough differences between Sim Tower and Tiny Tower for them to exist as seperate games. The biggest difference being that Sim Tower is a good game where as Tiny Tower, isn’t.

        • malkav11 says:

          Tiny Tower is barely even a game. You occasionally choose which type of business (or apartments) to place on a newly built floor out of maybe five options, and then you periodically (in real time) tap them to restock them and once enough cash has accumulated, you build a new floor and slot a new business. Woo, “gameplay”.

          • Bhazor says:

            Sadly that also sums up Love Hotel.

          • Premium User Badge

            Gap Gen says:

            Sim Tower was kinda like that, although you could also watch little people turn scarlet with rage.

          • JuJuCam says:

            Sim Tower also had the elevator management mechanic. Exciting!

          • malkav11 says:

            In SimTower it actually mattered what you built where, you had to have adequate transportation between levels, you didn’t have to manually restock places in real time, etc etc etc. It was a simulation of skyscraper building and management, and yes, elevator control. I don’t know for sure how deep or with what fidelity the simulation ran, but it had legitimate meat to it. Tiny Tower is literally just there to make you tap on your iOS device periodically. It has roughly as much actual gameplay as primitive Facebook titles like Vampire Wars and arguably less than Mafia Wars or Farmville.

    • Lucretious says:

      It’s almost as if they’re suggesting that content can make one game more worthwhile than another!

      • Totally heterosexual says:

        NO?!

      • Bhazor says:

        What content? If you changed the fetish names to hotel rooms, the condom machines into ice machines and nothing else would need to change. The only thing that would change is that RPS wouldn’t be writing about it.

        It makes no use of its concept, does nothing interesting with its mechanics it is just a shallow and derivative Tiny Tower clone.

        • Premium User Badge

          cpt_freakout says:

          I agree – from what RPS had wrote I expected much more from it, but it’s really just like one of those free games included in your phone, that are mostly good for killing time in subway stations. Form IS content, though, I strongly suggest you don’t think otherwise, but it is here reduced to a bunch of kinks presented in cute-but-creepy ways. New to gaming in the West, I guess, but not very interesting.

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          Take art direction and sound design away from any game and you’re left with a program that rewards you for making numbers go up by showing you increasingly large numbers. The wrapping on this one charmed some people. Those people aren’t wrong or stupid just because it didn’t charm you.

          • MD says:

            “Take art direction and sound design away from any game and you’re left with a program that rewards you for making numbers go up by showing you increasingly large numbers.”

            Massive over-generalisation. Taken literally, that only really describes a bunch of facebook-style (non-)games and some terrible RPGs. Interpreted more liberally, it’s true of far too many ‘games’, sure, but nowhere near all of them.

          • The Random One says:

            I’m pretty sure that, without art direction and sound design Skyrim, Civilization and X-Com would just be, games about numbers going up and down.

        • Premium User Badge

          JamesTheNumberless says:

          I’m also sure that Monkey Island wouldn’t have attracted too much attention if, instead of comedy pirates telling jokes, the characters were all boring accountants talking about the weather.

          • The Random One says:

            “You calculate tax returns like a bad accountant!”
            “How convenient – you ARE a bad accountant!”

    • Hulk Handsome says:

      People seem to call it a Tiny Tower clone a lot, and those people must not have played Tiny Tower, Love Hotel, or both. They play incredibly differently, with Love Hotel requiring vastly more micromanagement. If you have to call it a clone for some reason, it’s much closer to Sim/Yoot Tower or even Theme Hospital, though it brings its own ideas and feel to the table, too, feeling a bit more arcade-like. It’s definitely patterned after those 90s era management games.

      Also, what other people have said about content.

      Also, it’s quite fun.

  5. Tretiak says:

    This one is for Android, but it’s a GREAT game: http://indieplague.blogspot.com/2013/07/hoplite-2013-android.html

    And here’s an invite for Card Hunter: GTXK-RQLF-KZPB
    http://indieplague.blogspot.com/2013/03/card-hunter-2013-beta.html

  6. edwardoka says:

    I’ve written a LFPH tagline generator. It gave me this:
    Feeling Excited. PARK CRAZY. Save Inappropriate. Optimistic Bibliography.

    … you’re welcome.

  7. Piecewise says:

    “Trigger warning”

    Seriously? I hate that fucking thing. Ever Notice it’s exclusively used by sex negative feminists? And often for the stupidest things like being cat called. If you’re so traumatized by cat calls that you get pseudo-ptsd then you are mentally ill. If you’re so hypersensitive that someone commenting about your appearance effects you to the point that you can’t hear about anything like it without having flashbacks I can only imagine what actual trauma will do to you. If you ever back up into your mail box you’ll probably go into a hysterical coma whenever you see car tires.

    Seriously; I can understand if it’s talking about rape or murder, Those things should have an effect on you. Those things should have trigger warnings, if anything. But cat calls? It makes women sound like 1800’s southern belles who wilt and faint at the slightest dirty word or inappropriate comment. It’s downright insulting.

    • JackShandy says:

      I think you’re overreacting. If someone doesn’t want to play a game about street harassment it’s polite to tell them that you’re linking a game about street harassment. It’s not a serious thing, it doesn’t cost anything to anyone. It’s very easy to ignore it and live your life.

      I’m not going to faint at the sight of a nipple, but I appreciate a NSFW tag nonetheless.

      • Piecewise says:

        I can understand not wanting to play it. I mean, it’s about as boring a premise as possible and isn’t elucidating anything new. Put on clothing and get harassed regardless of what it is, truly this game shows us the new and exciting revelation that women tend not to like people leering at them and staring at their bum. Why exactly the person decided to make it or why it was posted here I will never guess, since it’s not worth the incorporeal digital paper it’s written on.

        That aside, the reason I bring up my hate for “Trigger warning” is that it’s pretty exclusively used by sex negative feminists and only in relation to things that they feel threatened by. Where’s the (Trigger warning: Voyerism) for love hotel’s peeping staff? The (Trigger warning: Depression) for Crypt world. The (Trigger warning: Violence) for all the shooters? The (Trigger warning: Sports) for all the chubby kids who got picked on for being bad at sports?

        I don’t like it because it has this weird connotation that street harassment is somehow so terrible that it warrants a special warning stamped right on top of the summary. Like some how we think that murder and violence are minor enough that we can let people guess if they want to play the game from the summary, but cat calls are so horrifying that we have to let people know before they even have the chance to accidentally glance the summary.

        I don’t like it because it gives away exactly whats gonna happen in the game and completely undercuts any sort of impact such a shallow thing might have had.

        Actually sit and think and unpack the implications of what does and what doesn’t get that blasted “Trigger warning” and you’ll see how strange it is.

        • The Random One says:

          Trigger warnings are useful to prevent people from seeing things they may not be willing to see because of personal trauma. Generally one will use trigger warnings to all things that they believe or are aware that people will be traumatized by.

          If you believe that people are somehow pushing some sort of agenda through it, that doesn’t mar its use, not any more than people drag racing should mar the concept of personal automobiles.

        • JackShandy says:

          I haven’t noticed it being used exclusively by sex-negative feminists, and that has nothing to do with the situation at hand; Porpentine clearly isn’t sex-negative, and if she felt threatened by FES she probably wouldn’t have posted it.

          A Violence warning makes sense for some games (Although games in general are so violent it’d be easier to just have a Non-Violent tag). RPS does generally warn you about stuff like that. The Fran Bow post that just went up a while ago says “Fair warning: not for the faint of heart regarding blood ‘n’ guts.” before the cut. Did you find that outrageous, too?

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          I don’t like it because it has this weird connotation that street harassment is somehow so terrible that it warrants a special warning stamped right on top of the summary.

          I think it’s worth repeating Hulk Handsome’s comment from below: “Incidents of sexual assault have begun as cat calls on the street, so yeah, the topic can be very upsetting to some people.”

          Maybe someone who was raped doesn’t feel like being sparked into going through that memory today. But, hey, no, you’re right, you having to be reminded that people get raped would be much worse. So to hell with their needs. Your seconds are precious, and they’re just women after all.

          Actually sit and think and unpack the implications of what does and what doesn’t get that blasted “Trigger warning” and you’ll see how strange it is.

          You’ve opened my eyes to the vast feminist conspiracy to make people feel more secure.

          • minkiii says:

            I hate trigger warnings. They are like the warnings packs on peanuts which say “may contain nuts”. Presumably if you have a problem with sexual harassment then you wouldn’t play a game about it anyway? What purpose do they actually serve? To just remind us that people who are offended by such things are lacking the mental capacity to monitor their own browsing?

            Similarly Porpentine’s 2nd complaint about Love Hotel – about kinks being limited to cash flow – reeks of idealism. In the real world you don’t get many working class rubber freaks or pony-boys because that kink stuff seriously costs a bomb. It *is* a luxury.

            Stop acting as if everybody is so entitled, it’s inaccurate and annoying, and serves only to belittle serious issues.

          • Premium User Badge

            DrScuttles says:

            A bag of peanuts may contain nuts. That’s a bit of an issue if you’re allergic to nuts.

          • Premium User Badge

            Harlander says:

            Peanut bags say “may contain nuts” because peanuts, despite the name, aren’t nuts.

          • minkiii says:

            http://tiny.cc/d9jc1w peanuts vs. natural selection

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            minkii:

            What purpose do they actually serve? To just remind us that people who are offended by such things

            Do you read the other comments you’re responding to? Might try it.

            It has nothing to do with people being “offended,” it has to do with people potentially re-living traumatic experiences. Boys, stop acting like this is just about censorship. Unless you actually think people are just being prudes when they’re traumatized by having been sexually assaulted?

            The only wiltingly uptight people here are the ones who are getting worked up about two little words.

    • Dominic White says:

      Apparently LFPH needs a Trigger Warning: Trigger Warnings for you.

    • In Zod We Trust says:

      In addition to Jack Shandy’s points I’d say it’s not really up to you to determine what might might trigger someone’s emotional responses.
      It seems clear that you haven’t expressed the kind of harassment from the game.
      You might well not have been harassed on a daily basis for wearing clothes and walking down a street. You might also not have had those experienced linked directly with violent or sexual abuse.
      But others may have had which makes mentioning the kind of activities in the game seems like a responsible thing to do. Just because you aren’t triggered by it doesn’t mean others aren’t. It does mean you can be sympathetic to it though and rather than take issue with the victims you could try to make the world a better place by thinking about the causes of the trauma rather than the results.

      But yah, if it bothers you just skip it. But there is a chance to think about it and maybe change the way you or others think. Hey, maybe if you do enough about it people will stop being horrible to each other and you won’t have to hear about it again.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      “Seriously? I hate that fucking thing. Ever Notice it’s exclusively used by sex negative feminists?”

      No one has noticed that, because what you just said was nonsense.

    • Hulk Handsome says:

      I’m a feminist who LOVES sex (it’s fucking great!), and I’ve used trigger warnings because I’m a considerate person who cares about the well being of others.

      And cat calls is harassment and can have affects on people’s mental state, especially when that person has previously been a victim of abuse.

      If anything, your comments have made it clear that we need more games that explore topics such as this.

      • Fred S. says:

        Was there some exploration of the topic that I missed? Because all I saw was a categorical “you’ve just been sexually harassed” response to every possible input. Nothing about confronting the harasser with his behavior. No option to report the guy at work and ruin his career because you *think* he’s staring down your blouse.

        And of course, it’s always a male doing the harassing. No “exploration” of the topic of women who harass men even though it really does happen.

        • Hulk Handsome says:

          Uh, yeah, it was written by a woman and is about her thoughts and experiences. If you want games that are about what you suggest, then feel free to make one and contribute to the conversation.

          Just don’t go all MRA on us.

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          No option to report the guy at work and ruin his career because you *think* he’s staring down your blouse.

          No option to have a chupacabra sighting or get abducted by a UFO either.

      • Piecewise says:

        If cat calls freak you out to the point of needing trigger warnings then you are in desperate need of professional help.

        But then again, I live in America, home of the frivolous law suit and land of the repressed; where everyone, regardless of social standing, sex, age, gender or other characteristics can play the victim with a smug sense of self satisfaction. So maybe I’m just a bit angry.

        • Hulk Handsome says:

          Incidents of sexual assault have begun as cat calls on the street, so yeah, the topic can be very upsetting to some people.

          “maybe I’m just a bit angry.”

          Maybe you should get some empathy. You’ll probably be a bit less angry.

          • minkiii says:

            I’m with Piecewise on this.
            The game is about street harassment, not rape. It would be appropriate to use a “trigger warning” (or, as we say in the real world, a “warning”) for a rape simulator but if you are getting upset and crying to your cat about someone staring or wolf whistling then You Are Doing It Wrong. This game and article just encourages the belief that we are entitled to these feelings.
            I am a woman! I have had harassment! And I’m pretty certain that if I took it to heart I would be a much weaker person. Shouldn’t the game and article be encouraging women to take control of how they respond to a situation, rather then default to being upset, as if that is the only option? How about “life is too short so man up and rise above it because it actually not a big deal that’s worth getting upset over”? Isn’t that better advice?
            These trigger warnings do not make the world better, it just allows people to wallow and shift blame.

          • Hulk Handsome says:

            Unfortunately, it’s not that easy for every person and your experiences don’t reflect what everyone else has experienced. In all honesty, I would have liked more solutions to have been offered in the game, but think I understand why the author chose not to do this. Again, feel free to make your own game. Twine is super easy to use! Anyway, this is getting off topic. I stand by my assertion that trigger warnings are a welcome courtesy, no matter the context.

        • Dominic White says:

          Oh ~Piecewise~ hold me you big, strapping Alpha Male, you! Keep on fighting that good fight against all those thin-skinned, sex-hating feminists and their foul and harmful attempts to think of other people before talking. Empathy, pah!

          You truly are our first and last line of defense against a dark future where people are nice, polite and considerate. What kind of world would that be, eh? Not one for me.

          • minkiii says:

            Wow, what a leap to a conclusion! Piercewise says he doesn’t like trigger warnings because it undermines and trivialises more serious abuse like murder and rape, and you call him a feminist-hater?
            He *is* fighting the good fight, you idiot. The big issues get drowned out in this hogwash.

          • Similar says:

            How does warning people that something may potentially trigger them drown anything? Trigger warnings are for those who are forced to deal with these issues.

            They’re not there to warn people that they may be /offended/, like you stated in your other post. They’re there to tell people that /the way/ something is described may cause them to relive certain experiences, or bring up certain emotions, usually experiences and emotions they’re already having enough trouble dealing with in their daily lives.
            It’s not about topics.

            How on earth do you manage to get so hysterical about that?

          • minkiii says:

            @Similar – If someone really had serious issues regarding street harassment then presumably they would know to avoid interactive games that are based solely on the issue.
            Putting a Trigger Warning at the beginning of the review validates and normalises exaggerated negative emotional reactions which normal people should not feel. I guess I am “hysterical” because it seems like everyone is applauding this game and review which casts women as helpless sobbing victims in something which, actually in reality, 80% of the time is a non-issue. Adding the Trigger Warning further highlights the “seriousness” of the issue, and IMO encourages women to be offended by something which they otherwise might not have had a problem with.

          • Dominic White says:

            Let me ask a simple question – who are trigger warnings hurting? Because it’s a single line of text that you can ignore if you don’t think you need to read a trigger warning. It’s easy to skip, even, as it’s prefaced! The amount of fuss you and Piecewise have kicked up over the idea is vastly disproportionate, and I can only theorize that by being ‘forced’ to think about how other people may feel, you’ve gone and touched on a nerve. The problem is that rather than correctly feeling empathy for other people, you’re lashing out.

            This makes you a bit of a tosser. Stop it.

          • Piecewise says:

            [Trigger warning: Reading comprehension, missing it by a mile, attempted sarcasm, silly-nanny]

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      Outside of the very specific communities from which they originated, Trigger Warnings are the stupidest fucking thing.

      They are not a concept made to live out in the wild and to use them outside their intended environment suggests one has trouble grasping the world outside their own experience.

      • minkiii says:

        This is actually interesting, can you enlighten us where the heck they originated from? All I see is adults being treated like children, I seriously don’t get where this fad has come from.

        • I Got Pineapples says:

          They originally had a perfectly valid use in the more ladyyish parts of blogosphere where they’re purpose was to create a safe place for women for when they were talking about things like sexual assault which may bring up bad thoughts for people who’ve had unpleasent experiences

          And in that particular context? They work fine.

          But they also became a handy club to beat other people about the head with because how dare you not put a trigger warning over X because X is one of my trigger and so on and so forth.

          They are also, outside of their original context, fucking stupid because it makes assumptions about broader human experience and mostly serve as a way of waving your Social Justice Kid credentials around.

          • Premium User Badge

            JamesTheNumberless says:

            I think it’s something that’s appropriate for when you expect to find yourself in a safe environment. Such as a support group. Art/media/journalism/the-internet-in-general is not really such an environment. So nobody should be beat over the head for not using content warnings. Of course this sort of thing can be manipulative, that said, honest and sincere content warnings are courteous and hard to disapprove of.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Honestly I’ve mostly seen (Trigger Warning) in reference to PTSD sufferers who have seen combat.

    • Muzman says:

      It’s a little late but since we’re doing an honest survey with great concern for accuracy and things (lolerskates); I’ve never seen it used for cat calls before today.
      I’ve mostly seen it used by…all kinds of people to warn about potentially upsetting material concerning rape and sexual assault among other things.

      It is a little over dramatic as a technique I find. But US style therapy culture loves to develop structures and semiotics for its methodologies. That’s mainly why it is the way it is. Of course this one is more upsetting to some because it’s obviously associated with filthy filthy feminism and that is of course the worst thing in the world and must be railed against every chance one gets, lest is gnaw away at the psyche of the honorable and upright.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        It’s okay though- I would prefer a small disclaimer over true censorship.

  8. crinkles esq. says:

    Noyb, you’re being a bit harsh considering Love Hotel was built during a game jam. The only problem I had with Love Hotel was that about halfway through the game is basically on autopilot. Cara spoiled every surprise funny bit of the game in her article, so there wasn’t much reason to keep playing.

  9. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Female Experience Simulator is a good use of Twine, in my opinion and more affecting than I’d assumed prior to experiencing. Then again, similar experiences happen to people which are not sexual in nature.

  10. Amun says:

    I don’t understand female experience simulator. If a man rubbed his whole body against me in the coffee shop line I’d break him in half and the shop would be cheering me on. In the game, however, there’s no option to take that action! Apparently what it means to be female (as presented in this game) is to give up and “go cry to your cat”.

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      It builds on most of us never being taught how to react brashly and brawly, the roots of which should be fairly obvious. Be meek princess and not a bitch and blahblahbarf.

      • Premium User Badge

        JamesTheNumberless says:

        Shock and denial play roles that you can’t always condition yourself against. You can encounter abuse as a result of your sex/race/orientation/etc when you least expect it. It can be difficult to formulate the perfect response to it. What if the perpetrator is somebody you thought was your friend? Or someone who should be there to protect you? You question whether it’s really happening, whether it’s just a mistake or misunderstanding, even whether you deserve it somehow.

        I think this game captures the shock, confusion, guilt and denial very well. Even if I’ve never been a victim of sexual harassment or abuse, there is plenty of overlap with the kind of abuse I can relate to.

        But, by all means, there is definitely scope for another game on the same theme, to explore other emotions. Such as righteous FURY :)

        • Amun says:

          I didn’t think that it explored the emotions that subtle abuse will bring up, though. It gave the player no time to feel abused since it simply put up a game over screen after every encounter. I think if the intent was to explore the myriad ways in which people are shitty to one another (sexual harassment doesn’t have the market cornered IMO), the game should have let us play a role and invest in the character so that when the game abuses us we actually care.

          I kind of feel like making that game now, just so long as it had a broadsword + chainmail skirt option. So what if that teenager spits at you as you leave the house? Lop his head off and go to work.

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      maninahat says:

      On the occasions I have been sexually harassed, I have never been able to formulate a suitably badass, collected response. And that’s despite being a heroically manly man. I typically respond by being too embarrassed, discombobulated and cowardly to confront the person over it. That’s not to say that my experience is anything like other people’s, just that I can sympathize with the kind of person who would not be able to snap a cat caller in two.

  11. FinnStokes says:

    One of the developers of Love Hotel here. The mention of peep holes in the game description was originally a joke about the fact that if the cleaning staff had nothing else to do after cleaning a room, they would just stand at the door, even while clients were using the room. We later fixed that behaviour by adding random walking to idle staff. Looking at it now, we agree that the joke does clash with the atmosphere we were going for with the game, so we have removed it from the website.

  12. Soggy_Popcorn says:

    Ah, I very much enjoyed the Short Male Experience Simulator too, with its troubling depiction of the unconditional and almost universal disrespect and humiliation – frequently outright rejection – that those souls unfortunate enough to be born short and male experience.

    Oh wait, no I didn’t, because no one gives a fuck about them.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      Yes – the absurd roles and ideals of traditional masculinity hurt men as well, which is part of the reason we find more and more men identifying as feminists. Good point. You should make a Twine game.

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        DrScuttles says:

        It would actually be quite interesting to play A Man’s Problems game in Twine. Such exciting gameplay events such as being mocked for your poorly barbecued burgers, tendency to derail conversations, dealing with your inability to grow a proper beard, and perhaps most crucially, choosing how you will wear your fedora today may be included.

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      JamesTheNumberless says:

      Reader beware, your short male experience may differ. The one universal constant, though, is shop assistants telling you your legs are “too short”… No, no, and no. I am the customer and your trousers are too freaking long!

      I think we should open a shop called “Pissed off dwarf” next door to one of those “high and mighty” places…

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      JamesTheNumberless says:

      Hang on… Aren’t most people born short?

  13. leafdot says:

    Anybody mind if I voice a serious concern I have about… like, life?

    It’s life seen through indie games, mind you, so it’s related.

    What brings a game to wider attention and what keep’s one stuck in the gutters?

    I find myself increasingly frustrated by the indie scene – quick disclaimer, I am a frustrated maker of games, of course – and while I can certainly understand that my games might just be *bad* (as I’ve been told on occasion) I still don’t see how they’re any *worse* than some of the ones that frequently get mentioned. (Here, elsewhere: I’m really not pointing fingers. This is general overall exhaustion at trying to get noticed.) This is spiteful and selfish of me, but I’m genuinely curious about how The System works. I know it’s not just politics, because I’m at least as anarchic and leftist as these guys and gals. Maybe more so.

    I got in this big internet fight with some kid (I think he really was a kid, given his level of debating skills) about the quality of one of my lesser efforts. It was the most attention my games have ever gotten. It was all *negative* attention, mind you, but. I guess we take what we can get.

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      JamesTheNumberless says:

      Get yourself on Twitter, follow some people, get some followers – and when you release something tweet about it. You can start by following @goffmog ;)

      Promote and encourage and spread the word about other indies whose games you like, and whose opinion on your games you’d like to get.

      Do game jams! I’ve never had so many hits on my website as when I did the last Ludum Dare (the nice thing here is that other indie devs have an incentive to play your entry – and through that they can discover your other games

      Be lucky – if you have the right game at the right time seen by the right person while they’re in the right mood, it can make all the difference :) But trust me, by doing all of the above, you will make your own luck.

      Also, if you live somewhere where there’s an indie games scene, it doesn’t hurt to go to events and parties and just generally be seen to be a cool guy.

      EDIT: also make lots of nice friendly, humorous and generally agreeable comments on RPS, and have your website listed on your profile!

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      JamesTheNumberless says:

      Finally, take criticism gracefully, even if it’s nonsense and the person giving it is a twat. I know that’s hard to do :)

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      JamesTheNumberless says:

      Ok, so now I’ve played your last game and I have a couple of pieces of constructive criticism. Firstly, I didn’t enjoy the gameplay. I understand that going into no-mans land is meant to be a dead-end but doing it isn’t fun the first time, and of course the experience doesn’t improve. Secondly, the art style is not very well executed, mainly because it lacks animation. The whole punk collage idea could be great given a bit of a Terry Gilliam treatment. As it stands, both gameplay and art detract from what the game is trying to do. If all the positive elements of the game are contained in the story and the writing then perhaps its best to re-imagine it as a Twine? Don’t abandon it though. The next few years are going to be filled with 100 year anniversaries of horrible war events – find the best form for this game and strike while the iron(cross) is hot.

      On a serious note. I hope you’ve since realised what was wrong with your attitude on the comments on that game. If not then there is your biggest problem. Be humble. Even if you don’t feel humble, and think that you’re surrounded by idiots, don’t present yourself as arrogant – only Phil Fish can do that and still sell games.

      • leafdot says:

        No, you’re absolutely right about my reaction – it was a tad grisly. Without getting too personal about my reasons, I had been drinking, and brooding besides, so a bit of poorly articulated (though well meant) criticism was all it took. to set me off.. poor kids became the target of my frustration about the whole damn planet. Which is totally unfair. But I did relate to Fish when he had his blowup. It’s easy to take a little thing and make it a microcosm of larger concerns.

        I recall reading here about a frustrated writer grateful for the response he got from the indie/Twine community. I’m a frustrated writer, too (go figure!), and I like to think I Know What I’m Doing when it comes to stories and the written word, whether I actually do or not (I don’t), and I think I get games and stories confused, some. Which goes to your (very reasonable and reasonably stated) critique, too.

        While I loved Mario and Zork growing up, I also love Ulysses and Mason & Dixon, and so my “fun” radar might be a little…. skewed. This is not a justification, it’s just an explanation. My point being, I like difficult ideas, maybe more than I like good game play. And it frustrates me that as a community indies still seem focused (by and large, I’m generalizing in a very big way) on nuanced mechanics more than thought. There’s a place for perfected mechanics, of course. (I’m playing one of those newer Spiderman games now… borrowed from a friend. It’s terribly clumsy in how it plays, and it bugs me, especially because Spiderman should be about grace, and presumably even a B game should have enough money to get the basics across at this point, especially since we’ve seen it done before for Spidey.)

        But not every game has to be about grace or animation, right? Werner Herzog movies are not Spielbergian (thank God). There ought be a place for “clumsy” style or coding is what I’m saying. (I’m thinking especially of Herzog’s Fata Morgana for some reason.) And the obvious morals of most of the “thinky” games that get wide(r) acclaim are just that, obvious. I’m not saying my own personal, pitiful efforts are Shakespeare or Herzog or anything even close, but I’d like to see more ambiguity and bigger ideas in the games we *do* see. We live in momentous times. I want to see momentous works of art. I want to see this especially from so-called video “games”. Right now I see a lot of clever ideas and fun experiments. Which is fine, of course. But we need so much more. We need multiplayer documentaries that say fuckoff to Facebook-style self-aggrandizement. We need an Eve that makes pacifism make moral if not practical sense. We need a murder sim that shows how difficult murder is. We need a Dwarf Fortress that is also a Minecraft that is also a simulated world that will die someday. (Easter Island: The Game.)

        Something that always attracted me to modernist artists was that they were really trying to build a new and better world. We need that spirit, but with postmodernism’s sense of fun and futility. Because without the fun and futility you tend to get Nazis, and we’ve had enough of those…

        Anyway!

        Okay. Enough. Sorry, all. Thanks for the forum for my ranting. :)

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          JamesTheNumberless says:

          I think when you make a game, the initial hook is always the look and feel. (and sometimes the sound) That doesn’t have to be amazing, but has to be enjoyable or at least pleasant or intriguing enough that the player feels they want to stay there and explore. There are great games from the past, particularly from the 90s where the modern player just can’t get past the initial feeling the game is “broken” somehow and that often boils down to controls as much as graphics. Games such as the original Wing Commander, or the Ultima series, or even DOOM. Then there are modern games whose graphical style is from a much earlier period in gaming – such as VVVVVV – which work because they somehow look and feel right. Of course this is really subjective and I guess part of being successful at making games must be knowing what is going to strike a chord with the majority of people, and what is going to be off-putting to the majority of people.

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          JamesTheNumberless says:

          A murder game that shows how difficult murder is, is a brilliant idea.

  14. akbarovich says:

    How come nobody is talking about Crypt Worlds, man? That thing is a total trip…

    • cptgone says:

      you got me curious enough to watch Porpentine piss on NPCs in the approved walkthrough. pretty amazing gameplay, that :)