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avatar Dimbeak 26th December 2015, 04:10 AM

Please play the Beginner's Guide.

If you don't quite like walking simulators, I don't care. To me, dismissing a game with minimal input is like dismissing a movie for not being interactive--the level of interactivity doesn't matter so long as it's a competent story told in an engaging way.

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I just don't get it. If it's art, it's art. If it expresses itself ina way that works, then it works. And I feel it's very dismissive of you to revoke this game from the right of being called a "game," even when it's expressing an idea which evidence suggest might very much relate to you. Isn't it quite funny that the person who made a whole journal saying "Fuck homophobia." is now dismissing an entire genre of human beings' work just because it is a game primarily about observation, and listening?

But even if you hate movies, books, music, or any other form of entertainment which requires minimal interaction, I know that the majority of you will be able to connect to it.

It's basically a game which holds your hand and carries you through the Source maps of the creator's friend, and tries to relate his works to things happening in his life. It may not sound thrilling, but it's very introspective, and the end of the game left me with a very compelling feeling.

Is it fiction or nonfiction? It's hard to tell. Personally, I believe it's somewhere between the two, but that won't make much sense until you try it for yourself.

Basically, this game is a must-play unless you have no interest in the deconstruction of artistic expression and introspection.

Side Note: If you have played it, please no spoiler discussion in the comments.

Side Side Note: It's an hour long, so you can play through the whole game and get a refund if you didn't like it. If you did like it, however, please don't refund it you immoral bastard, unless it's because you think the work itself is immoral, which is a fair stance to take.

Comments

avatar Penguinboy says: 26th December 2015, 04:57 AM
I like the idea, I might check it out if it's cheap.

I'm a big fan of interactive fiction, and I think that this is the kind of stuff that western developers have been able to execute fairly well in the medium. The Stanley Parable works because it's focused on comedy and light-hearted satire, instead of trying to be something profound.

On the other hand, Dear Esther falls on its face because it focuses far too much on art while trying to be "deep", but just comes off as pointless and nonsensical. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter has a slightly better execution but still doesn't give you any impact out the other end.

Interactive fiction has been executed very well by some Japanese developers. The reason they do such a good job is because they're written by authors, not by game developers. Western developers haven't understood this concept yet and continue to write scripts for games instead of writing compelling fiction.

David Cage tries his best with Indigo Prophecy, Heavy Rain, etc, but, well, he's just not a very good writer. Good intention, but poor implementation. Telltale's games stand on the shoulders of giants (Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, etc) to write some fan-fictioney spinoff stories, but they only get away with it because there's an existing fanbase that'll enjoy anything that's officially licensed.

If devs making games like these put more effort into writing a compelling story that will stay with the player/reader long after the credits roll, then the medium would have a whole lot more of an opportunity to grow in the west. Right now the medium is being driven on popular Japanese titles getting official translations and releases on Steam, but I don't think that's enough to grow the medium.

We need more indie devs making games like this.
avatar Dimbeak says: 26th December 2015, 05:28 AM
I agree, Penguinboy.

The problem with games like Dear Esther, Everyone's Gone to the Rapture, and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is that the player isn't very connected to the story at all. Though, I think Telltale does a pretty good job. I hate the Walking Dead TV show, but I really, really liked the Telltale game and even cried at its ending.

Anyways, I'm just glad that The Beginner's Guide exists. It's honestly probably my favorite game so far this year.
avatar Penguinboy says: 26th December 2015, 08:11 AM
Telltale's Walking Dead is probably the best of them, true. But I hear that their other stuff like the Game of Thrones series and the Borderlands series are not really worth reading unless you want to enjoy some slightly more professional fanfiction. I much prefer the original stories and settings that can be created by a genuine author who's not limited to using an existing body of work as the backbone.

Interactive storytelling isn't just about writing a story, it's also important to have imagery, sound effects, music, and (usually) voice acting, and to combine them all in a way that's more effective than any of them by themselves. It's not easy to do, and I don't really think that it's been nailed by western developers yet.
avatar Strider says: 26th December 2015, 15:04 PM
I feel apprehensive about wading into this topic, but here goes:

This:

dismissing a game with minimal input is like dismissing a movie for not being interactive--the level of interactivity doesn't matter so long as it's a competent story told in an engaging way

Makes very little sense to me.

Instead of shaming someone for their tastes in a journal post, let's think of why they might hold that opinion. I absolutely wouldn't want people to stop making the games they desire, but I also absolutely understand the distaste for walking sims. Personally I do not get the appeal about being dragged through a story under the guise of it being at my own pace.

I read a book or watch a film and I'm having the story delivered to me with (ideally) perfect pacing, perfect restraint, and perfect technique for the respective medium.

You put me in a game and I expect to be able to engage in the world. To use, to impart, and to change elements within. Control is such a game-changer for plot delivery that it strikes me as little more than a misuse of the medium when you flat out disregard the most powerful strength of it.

A story resonating with you is not unique to any medium, but a good film, novel or game unfolds it's story using the strengths of the independent medium. Dear Esther does not do this. Games like Deus Ex or Ultima, or STALKER do this (regardless of what you think of the actual story being told, the way it's delivered is utterly unique to games).

Cut-scenes are merely okay in my eyes. Being able to walk around inside a cut-scene is slightly better, but games can and are frequently failing to do so much more.

I know little of this game, but I have questions:

What does the story gain by putting you in control as a player? What changes can you enact? Could you in any way portray the exact same story in a hands-off experience without losing any of the story beats or emotions it tries to conjure up? On the flip side, are there any moments where your control makes it impossible to portray this story in a hands-off medium?

You might have answers to these, but they might not be enough for some people. Those are the people, like me, that don't care for walking simulators.
avatar Kachito says: 26th December 2015, 17:02 PM
If the game is as hot as Dim's review, i might try it someday. :)
avatar Bruce says: 26th December 2015, 22:36 PM
tl;dr sure gonna torrent it soon!
avatar DoctorAmazing says: 26th December 2015, 23:21 PM
Gone Home sucks, Depression Quest sucks (so much so that the developer had to fuck journalists to get attention), Stanley Parabale was alright, the biggest problem is being pretentious and thinking you're somehow edgy for making an art game.
avatar UrbaNebula says: 28th December 2015, 13:03 PM
I'll watch a play through

Edit: So yeah... Do that. It's free. Interesting concept, but it's not a game.
avatar Dimbeak says: 28th December 2015, 20:21 PM
I still think it quite deserves money, personally.
avatar AJ says: 29th December 2015, 09:27 AM
DoctorAmazing: You're an idiot. Seriously. There is absolutely no evidence to prove that Quinn slept with journalists in exchange for so called coverage. This is mostly proven by the fact that the game got next to no goddamn coverage during it's launch.

Don't peddle half-baked preconceptions about stuff without looking at both sides of the story and consulting actual evidence. Slag off a game on its perceived shortcomings or lack of merit if you must, but don't regurgitate any of that GG bullshit here.
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