Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Story of Mr. P, by Hannes Schüller

Master P, who wrote the song I ripped off in this meme picture of Joseph Ducreux is probably best forgotten. But is this game? I really enjoyed being given the source to look for a German translation--a certain amount of trust there--and finding the eight different entries. It also got me looking at Inform 6, which is less scary now that I've worked with I7 and said, well, I7 is expedient but how do I do x, y or z which is more detailed?

One of the inherently difficult things in a game like this is, how do you evoke a feeling of frustration without frustrating the reader? I enjoyed it, because I enjoy games about frustration with everyday life, and I particularly enjoyed shuffling among the houses at the end through the passage which sort of mirrored things.

I suspect people who gave this game a low score didn't get to see the end, or multiple ends? Whether the author hands out walkthroughs or not can make a difference in competition score, though I admire their courage. For instance, if I were told the "best" solution through The Ascot, it wouldn't have been as fun to discover. Still, in a game with more options, it's tough to suggest how you can do this without spoon-feeding the player. I empathize fully with the author in not doing so. And while I can empathize with people's frustration (I've gotten caught up in a game I wanted to like even more than I did, too,) I still feel this game was a successful experiment. Maybe I am thinking from a programmer's perspective more than a player's. But I think this is the sort of game you don't just digest quickly and then throw away.

Some games may be more programmers' games than casual players' games, and this was never intended to be casual. It deals with heavy issues, and I like that, and I like the amusing ways some of the endings resolve it. I don't know how to make a game like this more transparent without making things too stupid.

1 comment:

  1. I understand also the desire to withhold a walkthrough, which can ruin the way the game unfolds to the player. However, it has been a few years and I am still unable to get the last ending (#5). Just wondering if you know where I can find hints or if necessary the solution. I really enjoyed this great game. Thank you.