Thursday, 13 January 2011

The Public

User ID 142: The story line was boring!
User ID 349: Are you telling me that there was an objective?
User ID 101: Too boring!
User ID 65: I have probles with pactience, I just want to get going and keep gowning.
User ID 444: The lady in the kitchen's face was not enjoyable to look at.
User ID 219: The story didn't create a big enough sense of urgency to find out how it ended.

Yes, the public have spoken and the survey results are in! (Actually, they've been in a for a while, but I've been waylaid what with Christmas and all. Oh, btw... Happy New Year to you all, my inspirational and aspirational Maggot Farmers! And while we're celebrating, join me in wishing a Happy 4th Birthday to the Maggot Farm!)

So how did we do? Did we hit the fabled 4.2 score necessary to join the elite society of Collector's Edition games, thereby all but guaranteeing a number one release? Am I set to get a t-shirt printed declaring '#1 game designer'?

I'm currently reading what I think is Derren Brown's autobiography. (I'm not sure; I'm two thirds of the way through, and he's still tossing upon the streams of consciousness.)
(Coincidentally, I'm also reading Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse. Indeed, I like to have a choice of book to read when I hit the hay. Man, that woman could turn a shopping trip into a one-legged trek over the Andes.)
Anyhoo, Derren had that obligatory page, lamenting the negative reviews. They're the ones, he says, that stay with you. The good reviews fade, and the bad ones persist.
And there's me throwing another one onto the pile. Sorry Derren. I admire everything about you apart from your writing style. And that lottery thing.

Actually, I had a series of revelations last week which have upset me. (You see! This is what stream of consciousness is like! I've been infected! However, one beneficial side effect of consciousness streaming is that a moment is distended and an anticipated development is held at leg's length, intensifying the expectancy.) To hear the awesome Penn (of Penn and Teller) describing subliminal techniques as 'shite' was hurtful to me. And then, to rub hot coals into the genitals, Stephen Fry told me that there's no evidence to suggest that subliminal advertising works. Moreover, the pioneering results were, apparently, doctored: inserting single frames of stuff into a movie does not make people hurry out into the foyer to buy soda.
So when Derren persuades us that he made us choose the card with the picture of confetti on it by subliminally implanting the message CHOOSE THE CONFETTI*... well, that's not true. (*From Derren's wonderful Enigma show.) In all likelihood, he probably doctored his own results. A simple switcheroo would do the job. Derren speaks often about the magic occurring in the mind of the viewer; that the viewer's interpretation is far more elaborate and imaginative than the actual method used which, if revealed, would be a disappointment. (Btw, next time you're watching one of his shows, check out his finger plaster. Don't tell anyone, but it's got a pencil nib in it so's he can write numbers and things onto bits of paper.)
There is solace for us all though. Lots of subliminal techniques work fine and dandy (and I'd say my word palettes technique still holds water). Just don't expect miracles.

What's depressing - albeit highly pragmatic and ultimately fortune making - about survey results is that every tab on the xcel spreadsheet, bar the 'general comments' tab, contains the bad stuff: rows of disillusionment and, occasionally, vitriol. Only when you cross reference it with the pdf files do you see the bigger picture: of the hundreds of people who have scored your game across multiple categories, a small percentage weren't impressed and here's what they had to say.
I must confess that I've found within myself a surprising practicality. I don't really feel a bitter sting when I learn that somebody thinks I should embark on a new profession, or that my characters are shallow or my puzzles lame. And I'm not hurt by comments like 'In yer face!'. (I kid you not!)

It's late and I need sleep, so I'll bid you good night for now and when I return we can look a little deeper into the process and how I dealt with it all and what happens next.
We scored very highly and smashed not just the base-line, but also almost every one of the best-selling games mean scores.

User ID 34: Great game with a good story line. I enjoyed the mini games as they were not like any I have seen before. I will be looking forward to buying this game.
User ID 377: I am continually stunned by the increasing quality of personal computer games.
User ID 127: i found the game very enjoyable, i would like to play it many times over.
User ID 338: It seems an excellent game and when the beta-trial was over any disappointment I felt was due to the fact that I wanted to play longer.
User ID 244: I really enjoyed it, the storyline was interesting and the audio and pictures were relaxing and enjoyable.
User ID 233: I totally loved it I was very curious about the storyline.
User ID 198: Loved this game! The story line sucked me right in!
User ID 118: This game was fun and unique.

No comments: