I have not played Echo Bazaar. But whoo-ee, a whole lot of my friends sure are playing it.
The reasons I'm not playing are as banal as I can possibly make them. I don't want to use my Twitter account that way! I want to play once a night, not once every 70 minutes! I like whining on the Internet!
...I'm busy writing stuff, and I have no time to get hooked on new games. Except for these iPad hidden-object time-wasters! And the new Prince of Persia retread is coming out soon!
...No, look. The truth is that I love this kind of game -- I was an early Kingdom of Loathing fan. Worse, for years I've wanted to write this kind of game. But I only have scraps of filthy sketchwork and insoluble economics diagrams, and those Echo Bazaar people have actually gone ahead and done the thing. And I hear it's awfully cool.
What's even cooler is when a horde of highly literate gamers, designers and interactivity freaks get hold of something like this and start whaling on it in four-part harmony. And suggesting new design ideas. And then the game creators notice and start commenting back.
So, without ullage:
- Emily Short (in GameSetWatch) on the writing and the setting; particularly how the writing style both supports and limits the game experience. Plus.
- Jenni Polodna (of PissyLittleSausages) on the gameplay. With bonus snark. (Jenni always has the bonus snark.)
- Sam Kabo Ashwell on characterization and game design; possible ways to improve the pacing.
- Dan Shiovitz in an ongoing series of articles springing forth from Echo Bazaar into game design and beyond:
I do not have time, I do not have time...