Play Journal 2013-02-26: You say potato, I say zombie

by Thom Kiraly

Yesterday: Slow day. Still recovering from last week’s madness. No play on the weekend. None. So tired.

Zombie Potatoes – Downloaded this one because I know a guy involved in making it. It’s not a particularly arousing experience, but there are some interesting bits. The game’s pause function, for instance, was cleverly set up to kick in as soon as the player lets go of the controls. I’m sure this is present in some other game, but I can’t recall having seen it before. It can be a bit disorienting, but it’s probably helpful for beginners. It also helped push the idea that while you’re playing, you’re constantly moving.
The whole thing is an advergame for a potato chips company and, thus, there is a high score list. The competitive aspect is interesting as it can make people play regardless of whether or not they actually enjoy the game. This is, effectively, a way of making players do work for you and could probably have been used by Estrella much more efficiently.

Pox: Save the People – Bathroom break meant Pox today. Haven’t played this in a while and had forgotten how hard I found it last time. I set the game to the second easiest setting and got beaten over the head and neck by the game. Maybe I’m missing something or maybe it’s just one of those games I won’t figure out unless I really try and concentrate. Lovely and simple design, though.

Today: Workshop in game analysis with people from the Arabic Game Jam evening course. They played games and we talked about them and how to talk about games. I shut down a discussion going off into “is this a game” territory. Yeay, me?

J.S. Joust – We kicked off the workshop today with some jousting. It didn’t work as expected. First, because the atrium (where we first tried jousting) in the building ate all sounds. This meant the game sorta died and got lost in everything else going on. Second, once we had moved into our classroom, I suspect that we had lost much of our momentum and it was hard to get people excited about playing the game again. Maybe this was also a contributing factor to the players being overly cautious and polite to each other.

LAZA KNITEZ – Having hyped this one after our Friday night club, I had to show it to V. A lot of our very short session went into her figuring out the controls (as always with new games). My bad instructions (hey, it’s been a long day) didn’t help, either. Still, LAZA KNITEZ is always enjoyable and I’m happy it’s out for everyone to enjoy. This and the game below underlines my need for two additional USB controllers. Hokra, BaraBariBall, LAZA KNITEZ, Spaceship With A Mace – the list of 4-player games on my computer(s) is getting longer by the day.

Spaceship With A Mace – Two quick games following on LAZA KNITEZ. Nothing much to say really. I want the new, shiny version with the ginormous weapons.

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