Play Journal: October 14 – 27

by Thom Kiraly

The Stanley Parable - Mind Control Facility

The Stanley Parable (Mod, Demo and HD Remix)
Mod (as part of a workshop) – the class guided Stanley to the ending where the other narrator stops the action and tells us to turn off the game.
Demo – Without a doubt the best demo I’ve ever played. I pushed 8. A lot.
Full game – Spent 3 hours straight playing this. It is a very tight design while still managing to be silly and strange and that’s an achievement in and of itself. The focus + silliness combo works all the way down even to the achievements (have you tried to get the room 430 one? It’s wonderful) and the fact that there are achievements at all in this game.
As a player, you can rest assured that most, if not all, possibilities are covered and have been prepared for you. Discovering this is a big part of the enjoyment. Every time I tried to break the game or go against it, I just enjoyed it more. I guess you can’t break a broken game anyway, though.

Fun side note: While being interviewed about Malmö Playdays, I got the inevitable question of what my favorite game is. I should have seen this coming, but was unable to produce a good answer, so my colleague snatched Johann Sebastian Joust before I had time to claim it. I ended up going with The Stanley Parable and I feel alright about that.
Let’s be clear: I did not say “Super Hexagon”. That’s says something for The Stanley Parable.

The Stanley Parable - meaningful choices

Dinner Date – Played while waiting for The Stanley Parable to download and install. Seems funny in a way, to play a game about waiting for someone to show up as a way to spend time waiting for a game (that will, as it happens, refuse to deliver as a game) to install. The game tried to tell me that I was to control the main character’s subconscious, but it really did feel like I controlled a bit more than that when I made him crazily flap his arms around by looking at the clock, relaxing and looking at the kitchen counter. I like it and I get it. Clever.

Naya’s Quest – Mind sufficiently fucked, thank you. I’ve never seen isometrics being used like this (up is down or up or sideways???!!?!) in a game before. Combine that with eerie music and a void serving as background and you’ve got something worth spending some time with. I will probably never not try any Terry Cavanagh game.

The Wolf Among Us – Really nails the noir feel. Also, “Glass him”, in the bar scene with the Woodsman, apparently means shove a glass in his face, not make a toast. Aaaawwwkward! (yup, I restarted that whole scene because of it)

Cake Monsters – Kill Screen playlist game. Clever, but not engaging to me. I wish I could care more about all these puzzle games, but I just can’t. Maybe I don’t have the patience, maybe I’m just a little slooooooooooooow.

Super Hexagon – Set new personal records on all levels:
Hexagon – 135:09
Hexagoner – 100:59
Hexagonest – 75:29
Hyper Hexagon – 92:40
Hyper Hexagoner – 129:53
Hyper Hexagonest – 71:22

Malmö play club session:
Chip chipoi!: A game of “not laughing” that actually allows some laughing. Players takes turns sending “chip!” (by saying it) to their left or right. The “chip!” keeps going until someone says “chipoi!” at which point it switches and goes back.
The players are not allowed to show their teeth during the game and this adds a nice twist to the no-laughing genre of games by actually allowing players to laugh, as long as they don’t show their teeth. This, of course, makes them look hilarious and only makes other players laugh harder.
Finally, “chip” and “chipoi” should be used as the silly words they are in order to make other players laugh themselves out of the game. This is done by making funny voices as you say them or modifying the words by, for example, making “chipoi” sound more like “chiiiipoooooiiii”.  A new personal favorite.
Inte nudda mark + throw tag – don’t touch the floor + one person (it) throws chair cushions as a way of tagging other people.
Sausages (aka Fläsk) – I still suck at this game. I still like it a lot.
Tell a story one word at a time – just what it says. Good for relaxing and getting a feel for the group.
Don’t finish that word! – Go around the group, each player adding a letter without finishing a word. If you finish a word, you lose a point/the player before you gets a point/whatever. If someone thinks you’re bluffing, i.e. building a word that cannot ever be finished, they’re free to call your bluff.
I want to try the dyslexia version, where misspellings are aloweed as long as they can make a word in the end.

GlowTag and QuickDraw – Showed this to Gabriel who was in town for Malmö Playdays. Didn’t get very far into them, but at least I figured out how to get the Wild West version of QuickDraw working.

Tiny Games
Hide and seek finally released their Tiny Games app! I’m an idiot for missing out on the Kickstarting etc. but it’s here now and I’ve got all packs + the sesame street version + all packs of the Sesame Street version and I still want moar.
Do yourself a favor and download this thing if you have and iThing. The basic Home pack of games is free, so you’ll at least be able to try it out.
The app’s biggest drawback is the lack of a way to find out what you played recently. Unless you memorize all games, it’s going to be hard to teach them to others. I guess this is part of the deliberate design, but for my purposes, I would like to be able to find stuff inside the app.

Anyway, here are some games I played (due to aforementioned reasons, the names may be a bit off):

Tiny Games - baby game

Cucumber Race – Race to get a slice of cucumber from your forehead into your mouth, only using your facial muscles. I started out not moving my head at all. That turned out to be way too hard, so we stated that some head/neck movement was allowed and that took the total time down to between 0.5 – 1 minute. As fun to watch as it is to play.
Don’t Wake the Baby – I chickened out after we had like five go’s each. I knew I would chicken out first. AND I AM NOT ASHAMED, DAMMIT!
Small Talk – not optimal for two players. I will try it with more sometime.
Fluffier than a Teacup – Strange game of arbitrary associations. I like it.
Colour Match – Played it at the radio station cafeteria with my colleauge, right before heading in to be interviewed about Malmö Playdays.
Heist, Heist, Baby – Played with the same colleague on our way from the radio interview. I had the best con man and safe cracker, my colleague had the best driver and muscle.
Three Things – Don’t even remember which one this is. But I played it, because I tweeted about it.

Tiny Games - Cucumber Race

Malmö Playdays
To no one’s surprise, Malmö Playdays ended up being about a lot of stuff for me, with play just barely being one of them. I’m sad I didn’t try out any of the site-specific games developed by interactions design students as they looked and seemed amazing.
I did participate in a game of Ninja and in some Johann Sebastian Joust games. Here, the last J.S. Joust game stands out as it was the last game of the day to be played and it was played in a dark room just before the library closed. I got to jump in, say thanks, find a Chipzel tune to play the game to and win the game in a cool way in sudden death.
I also sat down with an oculus rift on my head, but the computer wasn’t really up for the challenge that SoundSelf presented. That was a shame.

Vesper.5 – Well, you know. Getting there.

Stuff I’ve played with my kid:
Hide & Seek, Pippi Longstocking (complete with wig-wearing and all), Sleeping Bear + lots of free play (digging in sandboxes, throwing balls around, making noises etc.)