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Metal King Slime
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 PostMon Mar 16, 2015 7:41 am
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TMC wrote:
Breaking expectations.

Samanthuel's Lovely Home

I'm in agreement with JSH on this game, against Giz and Hawk's reviews. I think it's mostly intended for a different audience than us, so that people seem to be reading unintended themes and intents into the game. It sure can be fun to speculate wildly, though. It often seemed as if serious Literature is about unfounded speculation anyway.
If you look at brotoad's tumblr you'll see that the entire thing is written in the same style as that tumblr (in face it's an incredibly close translation of the blog), which makes it completely obvious that this game isn't aimed at us: it's aimed at the people who read that tumblr, and uploaded here as a courtesy. On the other hand, it's possible that that tumblr is also meant to provoke, though it seems fairly sincere to me (but who knows; it's the internet). SDHawk pointed out that the game is presented as a series of minor relevations about the main character (and their self image and sexuality) which are quite reasonable to percieve as provocative, which seems to be the author's trademark style.

What is a game?

However, I have to speak out. None of the other reviews have actually said anything about this as a game -- or an 'experience', since 'game' is a bit strong. Although to be honest I'm much more interested in experiences and think the term 'game' is a horribly limiting description of what our medium is about. There's games, there's things that clearly aren't games, like empty tech demos and OHR Typewriter, and intros, but there's also things like this. I suppose some would call them "interactive art", but I'll just write "experiences". A lot of people are going to hate that statement, because they don't like 'art games', or much of art for that matter. "Art game" is a problematic term that gets people mad, and the reason is that it includes the word "game" even when the thing in question isn't a game (although it's really still that same medium, which is where the term really comes from). That results in people who should otherwise be neutral about art games (do they hate art galleries too?) declaring that they hate art games. It annoys me that people are ready to put down or ignore such uses of our medium. I guess that shouldn't be expected, since most of the people here are probably attracted by the ability to turn their daydreams in maths class into RPGs. That's fine if you want to do that, but I'm not very interested in those.

But this is my point: this 'game' is an excellent example of an experience, and that's part of the reason why I think this is one of the coolest things to have been made with this engine. As a game, I would say that it's very well polished with gorgeous graphics. As an art game/experience, I can say that it's rather unique and will probably be quite unexpected for the people who try it, similar to walking around an exhibit of novel art.

OK, so I also avoided talking about the game, and ended up with a philosophyical discussion of the medium instead. If you enjoyed this, why not followup with a reading of the Heroist Manifesto?

I do regret not focusing more on my thoughts about the game, because as you've said, I did think it was a great EXPERIENCE. Intensely personal to Brotoad and the player. Some of the little touches, the things you could make Samanthuel examine and see her thoughts about were great, the whole "Get dressed or not?" thing was interesting, though I'm not sure why it was there other than fanservice. (Transservice? I should be ashamed of myself)

It's the kind of thin I love to see in a game, and I love that you compared it to OHR Typewriter. As amateurs, those are the kinds of projects we're free to explore for our own sake as artists and that's fantastic. In my review, I tried to glean what I could abot Brotoad as a human being from the things she shared in her game and maybe didn't elaborate enough that the reason I did that is because the portrait it painted of someone who'd been so bullied to say those kind of things about themselves, contrasted with the kind of talent it takes to make something like Samanthuels Lovely Home (Or even Megaman Sprite Game), made me very sad. SLH feels like a game that's supposed to be very serene and idyllic and if it's making me sad it was failing that mission.
Metal King Slime
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 PostMon Mar 16, 2015 5:17 pm
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OK, so I posted an incomplete half-relevant review which pointed fingers and got into a debate about art games rather than addressing the game, and had to face the critics in IRC. I got what I deserved, and Giz and Hawk succeeded in making me eat many of my words: rereading their reviews I found I didn't really disagree with them afterall.

I've just replaced my review with a significantly rewritten and extended version (that was the plan all along, deadlines are for chumps)

I didn't actually see that you'd replied to my review here, Giz. It's an excellent point that the game portraits a serene setting but is instead unnerving, which is probably actually not intentional. Both this and T4R4D1DDL3 made me feel sad for aspects outside of the game itself.


Charbile, that review! Nice charbilesque "experience". You know, it was a pretty good review too (I liked the part where you liked my game).
But the real issue is, do we wait until next year to review the review? It'll be last year's news by then. But if we review it now our reviews will be last year's news by the time of the review contest!

There seem to be a couple issues with the parallax and with the water flowing off the edge of the Earth, or was it just me? I guess you just didn't have time to fix them. (Man, that water is great. I've been waiting a couple years for someone to do something like that. I played a little with multi-layer effects and it fell flat.)
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