Chris Donlan mentions text adventures and lucasart’s verb-based adventure games. He also brings up philosophy in the text of the game “Today I Die”. This game in particular is a very unique text adventure game. Generally when I think text adventure, I think of something where you click on a word to do something or you must string together a group of words to create a sentence or something to that notion; this game however has no sort of direction and flip flops between two words (like “shine”). The words that are used in the game can also be taken philosophically by reading them and viewing them more as a poem.
Corvus Elrod notes that many other designers have issues with the mechanics. I agree if we are talking about basic gameplay. When I first opened the page, I was very confused because there was no direction, no clue, no starting point. After clicking around on the screen I noticed that some of the objects drag, and that’s how I figured out the piranhas chasing the jellyfish. The words confused me quite a bit haha I had to click on the “stuck” button to progress any further. “There are a lot of confusing message the game is relaying to the player by simply not contextualizing actions with feedback” “I think I mistakenly thought the next level was a failure screen” ”So yes, it was bad game design. IMHO, allthat was needed to make it good game design was for the failure conditions to create learning experiences so that with each failure you got a hint of what you should have done instead” These are all critiques on the mechanics of the game. I think the last one holds the strongest claim, however, after reading how Corvus explains that this game has no possibility of failure, it is an exploratory plan. It allows the player to think and learn and use the context clues to figure out what the next step should be.
I don’t think that looking at “today i die” as a poem prevents it from being a game. I think that you progress, there are certain rules that the player must figure out to progress, and it does have an ending. You can still play it. Like Corvus says, ” Don’t read it like a game, play it like a poem”. The main mechanics being contextual and exploratory.
If I were to incorporate these mechanics into our groups game, I really don’t think it would be possible! :P Our RPG is exploratory (because of the tiles and elementals), but our game board/time travel game would not work. Neither of our games have any words used. Numbers are crucial, and I supposed that we could substitute that somehow into the game, but it would be very difficult. I could see different problems arising on how the words would be taken, if they are politically correct, if someone has a very small vocabulary…etc, etc.
Overall I thought the game was very interesting. I would mostly likely not play it more than once or twice, other than to show someone else and laugh at how they can’t figure it out. :D