Final Farewell

So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, goodbye

It’s been real, y’all. First of all, you were an awesome group to work with. Funny, smart, devilishly good looking, etc. Thank you all for being wonderful to work with. Special thanks to Polly and Madison for telling me about what small-town life really is. Joe, maker mondays were always a blast. Thanks to Mary for being suer awesome in numerous ways, you’re the Great White of the gamemaster worlds. Thanks Ryan for helping me out, thanks to everyone who playtested. Many thanks to everyone in the class who shared their opinions or insights, just in general it’s been a fun ride. I really hope that I can continue working with you in classes or through continued PartPlay opportunities. If all else fails, I’ll be at Maker Monday. Goodbye lovelies, it’s been grand 

EXPANSION DEBRIEF

I really enjoyed the expansion pack portion of the campaign. My favorite one was definitely the pick-up game, because I was able to just have fun and think about what made the experience fun. Claytionary isn’t a real game, just one that we made up on the spot, but it was a sort of mini game design and playtesting process. I think that making your own game is the best way to go about creating a pickup game, as it helps you understand fun, meaningful choice, the role of time in a game, and others depending on what you do. I’m not sure if I have an epic win or not, but I did do three expansion packs. I kind of wish that I had done the Gamify Your Life one, but compared to the other options it was a much greater time commitment. That made it an unfavorable choice.

PLAYER CARD

card

(Click to see)

Okay so I was reading through the syllabus and realized I never made a player card! That’s kind of sucky. I used this card creator to put it together. The hardest part was finding an image to use. I would hope that by now you guys know who I am, but just as a refresher: I’m 18, I like costumes and makeup. I’ve won awards for design, I like science experiments, and I hope to be a teacher. Food is really great, I love cooking so campus food is a little difficult to deal with. My topic was Bisexuality, so I made Dragonfly, an interactive narrative to deal with that. I struggle with procrastination, and I’m currently eating a cookie that seems to have used tablespoons of salt instead of teaspoons. I don’t sleep well because the girls next door to me don’t understand quiet hours, and I don’t understand the purpose of a top sheet when you should use a duvet.

CUT THE ROPE

Ever wanted to play with physics to get a candy into the mouth of a monster that showed up on your doorstep? Cut the Rope is a simple puzzle game playable online here. There are also app versions compatible with various devices. You play as yourself. The game opens with you opening your door to see a box labeled “Feed with Candy” and you’re immediately taken to the tutorial levels. This is a very simple game that gets more complex as different elements are added in.

The game begins with only candy on a rope, but then introduces gravity-defying bubbles and spiders that climb the ropes, all making your goal to feed the monster more difficult to achieve. There are three stars in each level that you want to grab, as these allow you to unlock harder stages. You can either click or drag to cut the rope, in order to accommodate various playing styles. The game is similar to Icebreaker, which was all the rage in middle school. The game runs very smoothly, there were no extra downloads or popups. Due to the different levels, this game is very replayable. It’s appropriate for everyone who can operate a computer, and would be a good way to help kids think critically about problem solving. The graphics are simple but very cute, and the music is appropriately upbeat. Both the music and sound effects can be turned off in the options menu.

This game is a great way to kill time. It’s cute, easy to pick up, and challenging enough to keep you entertained.

9/10 hats

TOP TEN TIPS FOR FUTURE PART PLAY PLAYERS

Try saying that five times fast

1. Go to class

Seriously, go to class.

There may be food.

2. Participate actively. Don’t be a Leroy sitting in the corner

3. Design a game about something that you really care about. Passion will save you in your pitch.

4. Playtest often. You find lots of hiccups to fix.

5. Go to Maker Monday. It’s basically like Mary’s office hours, except way more fun.

6. Do the readings and be prepared to talk about them

7. Have a positive attitude.

8. Check the PartPlay website often- Mary puts fun media links up

9. Do lots of research before buckling down on your game. You’ll have a much easier time later on.

10. It’s hard to keep track of your grade in this class, so don’t put things off until you forget about them.

Awards

I worked on the group designing PartPlay awards to give out during Shark Tank. Though we obviously can’t tell you who won what, I can honestly say that I think everyone will be happy. We decided to use certificates as awards, and Mary printed them on nice paper ready to be handed out.

Get pumped for Thursday!

DEPRESSION QUEST- DEPRESSING IN EVERY WAY

Depression Quest is a narrative game that attempts to give the player insight into the mind of someone living with depression. Unfortunately, if clinical depression is heavy cream, this game is skim milk.

You play as a twenty-something going through several months of life. You are presented with a block of text and sometimes have the ability to make choices at the bottom of it. You also have three stat blocks that tell you how depressed your character is and how (or if) you are progressing through psycho and chemo therapy. There is very little gameplay, even as far as interactive fictions are concerned. While the game does have many unique events and lines of dialogue, the choices that you make in-game do very little to leave an impact. Each string ends in you attending a family holiday meal where your overbearing mother asks how you’re doing. In the worst ending, you are severely depressed and choose to excuse yourself to the bathroom. You have broken up with your girlfriend, but you still have the support of your family and online friends. You still have a job. You still have your life. In the best ending, you are still depressed but maybe your girlfriend will move in eventually. Therapy isn’t that bad, and there is no mention of side effects from your antidepressants.

This game barely grazes the effects of depression. If its intention was to educate about the disease, it fails at even that. It is too easy to make the “right” choices. Go to therapy. Keep taking your meds. Tell your girlfriend. Talk to your friends. Don’t spend all day in bed. No matter what you do, there are no positive outcomes as if to day that there is no happiness at all. It is very unrelatable, and it seems like the writer of the game has never actually experienced depression. Rather, this was a game developed to capitalize on the media attention depression has been getting recently. It’s as if Zoe Quinn went to WebMD and read the symptoms of depression before deciding to make a game of it.

In terms of mechanics, the game did well. Even though you’re only progressing through hyperlinks and there is no back button, there weren’t glitches. However, I really disliked the music. Three minor chords on the piano does not a soundtrack make. Ideally, the music would have changed to reflect the character’s mood. Minimum, there should have been an option to turn it off. The visuals were lacking and when they were there, it was a series of three “artsy” polaroid style photos related to the theme. The advertised 40k words weren’t proofread well enough, as typos took me out of the experience. The text itself is not immersive or engaging. If it were written like a diary entry, that could be engaging. There is no semblance of a spirit in this writing, not even of the alogia that can occur in cases of chronic depression. The opportunities to explain the biological side of depression through the therapist character is not taken, leaving those without an understanding of it in the dark. Due to the lack of plot movement, this game is not replayable at all.

This game reads like a pedantic fanfiction rather than any serious attempt at writing, and leaves the player with many different experiences. For someone who is or was struggling with depression, this game can be downright offensive. For someone supporting a depressed friend or family member, this is hopeless. For someone completely untouched by depression, it’s boring and misleading.

Depression Quest is a fantastic way to misunderstand depression.

1.5/10 hats

Get it? Depression.

HEY GUYS REAL QUICK

Today I went to Chalk n More in Central Park (get off at the 5 below stop on Fred, it’s right next to starbucks)

they have lots of cool things!!! like wow!!! tons of dice and cards and timers and other fun things! it’s a teaching supply store and the owners/managers/cashiers are so so nice like you wouldn’t believe

I picked up a die with a die inside of it for Madison’s duck game, total came to $1.05 and they covered the .05

like seriously give these people your business

PLAYTESTS

On Maker Monday, Mary and Joe tested the small amount of my game that I had written. They told me that I needed to add more choices, make my dialogue seem more natural, and focus on adding more routes to the story. I was working on those when Madison visited me in my room that Tuesday, and she played through the game as well. I noticed that a major issue in both of these play-throughs was that players were just progressing to the next slide when they came to a choice, so I added hyperlinks and made the player unable to progress without using these links. This seems to have fixed the issue. I also added some ambient music for player experience.

In class on Thursday, I had three people play through the game- Madison 2013, Madison 2014, and Ryan. They all really enjoyed the game, and all commented on the music. Again, I was told to keep writing routes for players to explore. Ryan commented that it would be better if I had the hyperlinks in a static location so that the player didn’t have to move the mouse to progress from slide to slide.

Moving forward, I plan to continue writing for the characters. I hope to have all of their routes done and linked before Shark Tank. My expansion pack will be an add-on that follows the good endings of the game through MC’s relationships and explores bi struggles while in a relationship.

KATAWA SHOUJO- HEALING BROKEN HEARTS

Katawa Shoujo is one of the first straight-to-English visual novels. It was developed by Four Leaf Studios, a team of artists, writers, and programmers assembled from the message board 4chan. After five years in the making, the game is available for free download here.

KS follows Hisao Nakai, an average high school boy who lives a normal life until a congenital heart defect sends him into a lengthy hospital stay. Due to his health, he must transfer to a new school and begin a new life, full of friendships and heartache. A medium-sized game, the main route takes roughly 6 ours to complete. Completion of the entire game takes roughly 32 hours.

The game includes five main routes following the storylines of each girl.

The main route is Hanako, a shy girl who was permanently disfigured in a house fire. There is also Shizune, a bold and bossy Deaf girl, Misha, her interpreter, Lilly, the class representative of the blind class, Rin, an armless artist, and Emi, a track star with prosthetic legs. As you progress through their stories, you make choices that affect your relationship. Depending on these, you can have a very happy ending, or one full of sadness. Hisao’s character is also affected by his relationship with the girls. For example, he becomes bolder and more confident in Shizune’s route compared to gentler and more honest in Lilly’s.

The game mechanics are very smooth and streamlined, thanks to Ren’Py’s creator engine. The visuals are smooth with subtle shadows, though sometimes the side character designs are awkward. The game’s soundtrack is where it shines, though. Full of original compositions, the music does a flawless job of setting the tone of each scene without taking away from the text. (The soundtrack is also available for free download)

While some players may not feel that they are making enough choices to direct the game, I loved being able to immerse myself fully in the story. The game is highly replayable in order to unlock all of the endings, and challenging enough in Rin’s path for the whole game. I highly recommend it to anyone 16+, due to sensitive, disturbing, and sexual material. (The player has the option of configuring the game to skip sexual scenes, if that is desired)

9.5/10 hats