Dark Forest Crow Notes - Interactive fiction, text-interactions based and roleplaying games

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Laid Off from the Synesthesia Factory short review

I played hundreds of IF games and actually have something to say about every single one. Of course, you don't need too read every single trash texts that come out of my mind, so I am trying to post here only the most interesting reviews and funny examples I found.

My main focus during the analysis is gameplay, as always.

The fun fact about Laid Off from the Synesthesia Factory is that you can 'play' it without actually doing anything. Just take a look: (blue text is for input words that I type, green is an output of the game)

[Enter an individual word, a short phrase, or a command.]

> Hell

Your first thought: to check your computer. This is in fact your default thought; give it five years and it'll have your cortex and also your amygdala. "Thought" is the wrong word.  Something closer: anymore, your core creature drive.
The original creature drives: hunger, exhaustion, libido. And their modern replacements: refreshing, unplugging, FOMO.

Spoiler: it will display the same text for almost every input string.

[Enter an individual word, a short phrase, or a command.]

> Tomato

Your next thought: How you have managed such disarray in a week's span. You feel as if you have been dropped into a spot-the-difference picture, the kind from a children's whodunnit book, where you are expected to solve the mystery of how you murdered your life.

It didn't even display a typical 'can't parse this shit' error message. So, actually you will not even understand, is a response of this 'game' is a result of your input replics analysis, or is it just a flow of author's mind flying into your face.

> Super Tomato

Proverb from a dubious online repository: I'm A-OK; I dress au fait; I don't stay home like sad Henri.

Statements that apply to you: zero. Optimism: You could make the second apply right now. And the third will come in half an hour. And even the first, if tonight goes well.

> You are shrimp

You consider PR. The problem: to succeed in doing PR for others you must first prove you've succeeded in doing PR for yourself. You must turn all the glop that is you into a tantalizing direct-to-consumer product, call it Aspirational You. Aspirational You is something special. Aspirational You does not evaporate or sweat under heat; she solidifies, like a cake. If she were knifed the blade would come out clean.

Well, seems shrimp is a good nickname for PR folks. Did game manage to understand me? Or maybe it's parser failed? I have no idea.

I entered the word 'Tomato' ten times or so and the game calmly displayed it's content.

Of course I can play as a smart player, writing only things I notice in the game's output and it will probably give me some results, I can also read the instructions...but I don't want to do it. Regular player won't read any instructions. Regular player doesn't care - he/she sees an input field and starts typing immediately expecting good gameplay.

This is a really good demonstration of serious problem in game development. This kind of problem appears when your game pretends that it is smarter than it is. And there is nothing worse in gamedev than failed expectations of a player. To be an author of such game is like to be an unsuccessful magician.

// P. S. After my first attempt I read the rules and followed them. Game appeared to be quite good. It's writing deserves an additional prize.

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