ahoodedfigure's forum posts

#1 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4238 posts) -

@fisk0: Ah, it was manufactured in Denmark. Seems like it hopped over whoever was in charge of translation :) I wonder if they were thinking at the time "wow, that was easy!" Great find, thanks :)

#2 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4238 posts) -

@EquitasInvictus: I'm a fan of Roman history, so that's a possibility. What I more meant was that the political backlash is less likely the further back in time you go. So you can have parallels in Rome without people even noticing, but when you touch on more recent history it's harder to disentangle yourself and just have an interesting simulation, which probably seeps into the design choices, making optimal paths or idealized depictions... but maybe plain old war board games are the only games that tend to be truly dispassionate about their subject (and even then I suspect some heavy bias in a lot of cases).

#3 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4238 posts) -

@ZombiePie: I didn't really know about the back story until after I'd played. I find the idea of creating a monster of sorts and having it have a life of its own intellectually fascinating, but I don't think it would have added to the experience at all. Makes me wonder if folkloric myths are a reflection of the earliest kinds of memes, where something just resonated and spread organically between people.

@EquitasInvictus: One thing that I felt absolutely didn't work for me was the scrawled pages themselves. The creature and my relationship (running, mostly) with that character was central to the experience, but the pages felt... well, they're really hard to do right. I've seen so many of these "diary of the dude that got eaten"s over the years and they're so often blatantly expository as to sort of kill it for me. It's an interesting challenge to come up with something that acts as a portent of things to come, yet doesn't seem like the writer is trying to spook the player directly.

And since I was in the same boat as you I don't know what knowing about the Slender Man beforehand would have done for me. I'm willing to bet, given my reaction to the game, I would have been quicker to put the whole thing in context, like "OK, this is a specific monster they're trying to depict" and it would have taken a bit of the sting out of the Unknown behind it. The sneaky angel premise would probably be as effective no matter if it was connected to modern folklore or not... at least until I got used to it as a game-ish mechanic.

#4 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4238 posts) -

Brass Restoration was the only visual novel I ever tried, but it was surprisingly good. I guess anything like this will likely have the stigma of the fetishistic fiction Japan is inadvertently famous for, but they wind up being more varied than that, even if I personally don't have a problem with porn. Brass Restoration was more about the lives of the students, and yeah there was some affection involved but it grew naturally from the story and never seemed uncomfortably exploitative.

The weird thing in games like this is more about how much the player character is inserted into a given story. The more a cipher they are the better they can be a proxy for the player, but the harder it sometimes is to WRITE for that character; if they are supposed to represent everyone at once, you might find yourself writing unnatural choices to please whatever random person you think MIGHT be playing.

The title of this contribution has been "WRITE makes MIGHT." Thank you for your time.

#5 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4238 posts) -

I have a demo of CK II but haven't tried it. These games tend to be a bit daunting to me, though both the American Revolution and the Napoleonic War are interesting time periods for me. I kind of hope when I go into these sims that they'll try to lean heavily on history, but it's always a gamble when you're trying to make a fun game and are sticking with subject matter that's close to the heart of many of the players. The further back in time it goes, the more likely it's going to be easily abstracted, it seems.

#6 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4238 posts) -

I tried Stone Soup a long time ago, but I didn't stick with it. I don't remember why exactly. The recent roguelike that I've stuck with the most has been TOME, just because I felt there was a nice glot of variation in what you could start out doing, and plenty of cool little choke points to try to get past. Even that one exhausted my patience eventually, though. I wonder if the roguelike I'd prefer has yet to be made. Still, I don't mind doing the research to find it...

#7 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4238 posts) -

@enpopica: Thanks for reading, appreciate your thoughts.

I didn't say above but I gave up and actually turned the light on at one point. The jump scare it gave was cheap, but it managed to get a gasp out of me, which was a bit unexpected. Like I try to imply, it's not actually hard for this game to pull these sorts of scares off with the tools it uses. But it's still remarkable to me that you can tell someone about a fear-inducing experience and have them just blow it off, but when you're actually in the middle of it, playing the role, there's something about that complicit behavior that involves you deeper.

I don't think this is the most freaky thing I've ever involved myself in (one of the scariest was when I tried to write a horror story and managed to channel a bit of the fear I was trying to write down into my own head, I guess), but it's decent. I think it would have benefited slightly from making the monster a bit less obviously a 3D model... like a more matte black body would have been awesome, and a vaguer face.

But yeah... I guess this is me admitting I was affected. :)

#8 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4238 posts) -

Slender is an exercise in terror (not so much horror as I've often seen people say) using the Unity engine. If you're curious, get it here. Otherwise, or afterward, I'll talk about it below.

Rather than go into Slender itself, which is pretty simple in its setup, I'll mention a particular state I entered into while playing it.

Most cultures have monsters, but none come to mind that don't have warnings about them, observations on behavior, or methods to defeat them. What is hidden behind this seemingly completely irrational tendency for us to anthropomorphize the unknown is our ability to find patterns in it, and thus find weaknesses.

If anyone wonders why human beings have managed to extend the average lifespan, and come up with complicated machines that help make life easier (and end life quicker), you might look at how we beat the small monsters through the use of holy symbols, prayers, silver bullets. We tell ourselves there has to be a way, and in fiction there inevitably can be. We use fiction as a practice run in protecting ourselves, and outrunning death, that undeniable real-world monster, just a little longer.

In fiction, though, you can also simulate hopelessness. You can tell the reader the rules, then imply that there is no hope no matter how hard they try. As pat as it is to have the good guys win, and while the specific definition of what a good guy is is arguable, it is important not to lean on this hopelessness style too much. I believe we learn real-world skills even through made-up worlds, and it's strange in light of this to teach us to give up.

Still, we have all sorts of entertainment that simulates this freefall into death. Roller coasters come to mind. We plummet, scream, but smile while we're doing it because we know, most of the time, the cart won't crash into the ground (unless you live in the universe of Roller Coaster Tycoon).

While playing Slender I found that I was trying to ask the game, through gameplay, if there was any hope, or if things were just going to get worse and worse the more crayon drawings I picked up. It's easy enough to plop you with a dimming, narrow-beam flashlight in the middle of a pitch black forest, and zing you with orchestrated jump scares even though you know you're not exactly in this situation and can quit at any time. But as I played I felt as though what the game was trying to do was to see how far I'd go, what I'd be willing to put myself through, despite the story context being so minimal that I began to scrutinize the graphics, wonder why I couldn't scale the fence, wonder where this game I was interacting with was intending to take me.

I tried to see if there were methods for evading, ways to clip through walls and try to get around boundaries and then, 4 pages in, I decided to beat the game. While running from my pursuer I found that the truck I'd found early on counted as an obstacle that would prevent me from being affected by my pursuer's gaze. The glass of its windows counted as a solid object, so I was safe to look. I did, using the game's strange zoom function to get a closeup of the creature's boxy, pinched face. It stood there, dumbly, waiting for my screen to be filled with static, not knowing I wasn't affected, but unwilling to move because I was facing it.

Then, I quit. In this case, as the machine said, "the only winning move is not to play."

#9 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4238 posts) -

@RagingLion: Would have been cool if the second choice would have allowed for a different NewGamePlus mode where you have access to things out of order or something. I don't know how that could have been elegantly done, though.

The more I think about it, the more the restoration seems to be the standard choice, which leads to the narrator's new lines that open happen during the Plus mode of the game. I wonder how far into the replay that goes. A lot of player investment in replays, without reading up on spoilers, is complete faith. I'm glad they added things to the game on replay, but I wonder how much, and would it be enough.

Oh, hey... that's a good interpretation. He even says "no, ma'am" at one point, which I thought was just a stylistic choice but fits perfectly into what you're saying. I wonder if that was added later on when things all made more sense. Sometimes decisions are just made because they're cool ideas, then they're woven together. We all have a weird relationship with any narrator or tutorial in a game. There's a period of orientation usually, but to have a constant narrator there is a bit of a battle going on. Or maybe my playstyle is naturally contentious! :)

That perspective does make sense, though, on the level that Rucks is telling the story of the Kid and in a sense, by acting, the player writes the Kid's story. Sort of like that cool meta-storytelling mechanic that PoP: Sands of Time had.

#10 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4238 posts) -

@CosmicBatman: The visuals are great. I guess I'm one of those people who, despite loving pixel styles, also think the hand-painted look is very welcome in games. There's so much of a focus now on 3D models getting the proper textures that people lose sight of the other visual possibilities. Not everything needs to be the same, and I think Bastion shows what you can accomplish if you go in a different direction. I liked the expressive characters, I think. They had a bit of that cartoon look but I don't think it diminished the pathos at all... hell, it might have made it more easily accessible.