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...
Comments imported from Gameshelf
Jens Alfke (May 12, 2010 at 12:51 AM):
Well, you've got me playing it now! Thanks for the tip. I really enjoy the writing -- reminds me a bit of China Miéville's New Crobuzon novels.
Ruber Eaglenest (May 12, 2010 at 3:06 PM):
Come on! Come with us delicious friend!
The allows you to play for just 20 minutes a day, so I think it is perfect for you. The game has been updated recently (a month ago) and now is less giving too much content for free, now the cards has been reduced to 6, and server response has been improved, so now the game "runs out" early in the day; so now is better for busy friends like us.
Of course, if you want, the game allows for you to play all day, but then it requires spend fate or money, for it.
Come... come with usssss...
Andrew Plotkin (May 12, 2010 at 3:17 PM):
When I said "I want to play once a day", I meant specifically: I want to play once a day and still hit the daily limit of actions (leaving aside social fiddling). KoL lets you do this; you get N turns in a day, period. Log on, play, you're done for the night.
If I did this in EB -- as I understand it -- I would get ten actions per day, but I would be missing out on sixty. This would drive me nuts. I do not play games that drive me nuts. Nor do I play games that tempt me to come back to them once an hour. Doesn't fit my schedule.