Sunday, January 7, 2018

2018 IGF nominees: fascinating experiments

Reiterating: The IGF finalists are out! I was on the jury for Excellence in Narrative.
In today's post, the games that were really interesting but not necessarily entirely successful. This is not to say they were unsuccessful! Some of them go all-out in a particular direction which doesn't ring my particular bell. Some of them have tremendous flair and polish but also have a gap that bothers me. They're all worth playing and discussing.
  • Tacoma
  • The Sexy Brutale
  • Reigns: Her Majesty
  • Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy
  • Where the Water Tastes Like Wine
(I played free review copies of The Sexy Brutale, Reigns, and WTWTLW. The others I paid for.)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018 IGF nominees: real lives

The IGF finalists display a wide range of styles, themes, and kinds of interactivity. I say "wide", I mean "yowza".
But I can pick out groups, if not categories, so this post will cover games about real people's lives. Some of these are autobiographical; some are fictionalized stories about the authors' lives; some are fictions which are meant to illuminate real-life situations.
Yes, all fiction is meant to illuminate real-life situations, but I mean directly. Shush.
In this post:
  • Cosmic Top Secret
  • Lost Memories Dot Net
  • Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story
  • Bury Me, My Love
  • Attentat 1942
(Note: I was on the narrative jury and played free review copies of these games. The comments appear in the order that I played them.)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Tacoma: design ruminations

The IGF finalists are out!
Once again I was involved in IGF judging, and I was invited back to the jury for Excellence in Narrative. And once again I have a long file of review comments which I intend to post here.
However, my comments on Tacoma got so long that they turned into their own post! So I'm going to start with that one. Tacoma isn't my favorite game of the year, and I wouldn't argue that it's the best, but I'll say it's the most discussable.

Tacoma is a highly polished narrative game which doesn't exactly work. I haven't done a comprehensive review of the reviews, but that's the impression I get of the broad audience response. It doesn't hit home for me either.
To be clear, I thought Tacoma was creative, interesting, and well-written; I had a good time playing it. And it got a Narrative IGF nomination, plus a couple of honorable mentions! So it's certainly not a failure. But I want to focus on what didn't work for me. That's what the design rumination posts are for.
(Also note: I bought Tacoma with my own money when it was released in August. I wrote this post while mulling IGF entries, but I wrote it before the finalists were announced.)