Tuesday, 22 March 2011


Inka Essenhigh's Green Goddess II.

Another problem with reviews is in gauging their veracity.
Of course, I'd love to take the recent influx of best game I've ever played comments at face value, but they really don't tally with my own perspective on where I languish in the casual games hall of fame. I'd say at best they allow me to believe I have some promise.
Indeed, I recall an invitation to bolster a certain young woman's Amazon review score several years ago. (If you're reading this Sunny, I'm sure you required no extra bolstering! And how the devil are you?)
Well, who knows.
Oh, did I mention that we made number one?

Righty, let's leave all that stuff behind, because it really can't be the least bit interesting for anyone, and get back to our fervent questioning. Here's a good 'un:
What the heck now?

Well, my bosses have a suggestion:
Do the same again.

Between you and me my maggoty companions, I have no intention of doing that.
Moreover, the very nature of what I attempted to do with M3 inherently dictates an unhealthy dollop of de- and reconstruction. A good deal of the game's success was down to its original features (or fresh approach), and to reproduce those self-same original features is to erode its integrity.

Consider, also, that, with scant few exceptions, an
y number one iHOG generates practically the same amount of revenue as any other - there's little by way of floating voters amongst fans of our genre.

So I ask again, without sarcasm or ego:
What next?
Any game I design from this moment forth which fails to solicit rave reviews or top the charts has now become a failure - or a come down, if you like less melodrama on your cornflakes. :o)
The pressure is horrendous, and I've had a spell of staring at my design doc quailing at imagined reactions to every word I type. Hey, I'm okay now: by accepting that I just have to trust my judgements and that these are the same judgements as before, I've reconciled the fears (but never the doubts); and that's fine.

There's still a gallon of mechanics and techniques for me to enjoy experimenting with. And I've ratcheted the drama up an octave. How on earth is Ms. Casual-Gamer going to respond to an NPC suicide? How will my total integration of tra
ditionally omniscient hints and goals into the virtual world be received? And how many minds will be blown when, two years from now, the full deviousness and complexity of my master plan is revealed? Watch this space. (My predictions are: she'll be cool; nobody will really notice; between three and fifteen.)
(N.B. I was reading about an early iHOG, released a fistful of years back, which flourished in the Big Fish charts, but was subsequently removed because somebody spotted an inference to a rape. The game was eradicated left right and centre, and the writer won an award. I kinda get the point of awards now, I think - they sweeten the bitter P45 :o)
(N.B. N.B. comes from the Italian Nota Bene, which means 'note well'. I didn't know that. It was on Eggheads.)

Time for an embroidered mollusc anatomy.

Truth is, I have no answers. I'll keep pushing
my art team out of elasticated comfort zones, whilst always expecting much more from myself. And we'll go home and eat and sleep. (Not together. Don't want to start any rumours.) I'll sweat my way through more surveys and reviews and deal with whatever happens.
And with that kind of resolution squirreled away, I can get back to the fun stuff!

So... Eddie and Tom... happily ever after or tears?

No comments: