New short piece on my New York neighbors, Golden Ruby Games and their new Worm Run over at Indie Game Magazine. Their new game is a casual runner in which players help save space janitor Zeke Tallahassee from a space monster. This is the second game I’ve discussed for IGM in which the protagonist is a space janitor. I have a very weird type.
Worm Run is a KickStarter success story. The game was partially completed when Golden Ruby put Worm Run on KickStarter, seeking and surpassing a modest three thousand dollar goal. With awesome projects failing to find funding, and funded projects disappearing, it’s always really nice to hear about a good KickStarter success.
Also on IGM, I’ve recently reviewed My Cotton Picking Life and Depression Quest. My Cotton Picking Life is a social awareness game that asks players to take on the role of a child worker. An interesting concept, but the execution was way too successful at proving this is something no one wants to do.
But although My Cotton Picking Life succeeds at its state goal of monotony, it fails at everything else. Players click repeatedly on buttons marked “Pick Cotton” until they get bored and try the exit button. Then they’re told that child workers don’t have the luxury of quitting, and told how much money they would have made if they were actually picking cotton and not clicking “Pick Cotton”. The developers say the game was built in a day, and, with one game screen and one player action, it’s not hard to believe.
A game with terrible and boring gameplay to show that the topic is terrible and boring is an interesting thought exercise.
Depression Quest is a much more effective serious game, this time about depression. I wouldn’t call it a fun game, but a very interesting and effective one.
Depression Quest very successfully plays on this expectation by presenting a narrative passage describing the character’s experiences, and then offering several player choices, with a range of possible outcomes, but makes some of the readable choices inaccessible to the player. Players can read options like making the most of a social situation, getting a good night’s rest, and so forth, so it’s very clear that these are possible reactions to the presented narrative segment, but they just aren’t able to choose those options.The player might want to call a therapist or get out of the apartment for a change of scene, but the depressed character literally can’t.
Maybe my type is weirder than I thought.
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