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Go for a calming walk through a variety of settings, overcoming a few challenges along the way. You will meet a farmer, a poor student, and a bat, each of whom will share highlights from Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Prior exposure to Thoreau's writing is not assumed.
(I am aware that this is not a "game", and that it will not appeal to all, or even many, players. My hope is that at least a few people might find and appreciate in this something different than what we enjoy about other entertainment programs on this site.)
The only thing I didn't like was one of the jumping sections that was quite awkward to get past. I actually enjoyed the views each of the characters portrayed but in the end I agreed with the bat's point of view the most. I think you did a excellent job on creating this little app, and now I feel just a little wiser than I did before I had a try of this.
There was very particular reason for the awkwardness of the jumping sections, which I'll explain here, though of course whether the effect worked and was worth their inclusion and difficulties may vary for each player.
The 3 navigational puzzle areas were intended to represent transitional challenges in life. The first (narrow, escalating platforms) was entering into the world of academia through the troublesome admissions process, traveling from the rolling hills where the spiritual farmer resides to the more constructed domain of the skeptic student. The second (blurred trails of 7s) was building upon the writings and discoveries of others to draw conclusions beyond what present research has yet to rigorously prove, as it is necessary to do to succeed in life outside the academic domain. The third (dark cave) was an attempt to tie everything together though the objectivity of accepting the subjectivity of others, hoping to highlight that besides the farmer, student, and wild animal being separate from us, they see things differently than we do - that there are places they can go we cannot, and there are ideas and ways of thinking very much like theirs that are (or can be) at work within us.
To mark these as periods of reflection, moments turning off autopilot to think about the journey so far and the uncertainty of what's next, it was necessary to make these rooms in each case to cause the player's initial assumptions fail. This is contrary to the design of fun gameplay, which otherwise tends to assume the user's mental model coming in should be respected and rewarded. Being a tad frustrated activates thinking - what am I doing, what should I be doing, what have I not tried. Were the jumping and cave sections made smoother, I worried they might be driven by thoughtlessly, seen but not considered, ignored as the inflection points between major shifts in life perspective.
My design goal for those offending sections, then, was to make them awkward enough for their difficulty to be apparent and meaningful, but not so awkward that people quit at any of the three without advancing. I may well have overshot a tad in this direction. In any event, I am glad that you made it past each.
Sometimes it's nice to listen rather than speak, it's calming, it's given me things to think about, i enjoyed this, or so to speak, though simple, it has a unique dynamic, i thank you for this experience, to simply listen, to think in different ways. Are these all quotes or your own wisdom? A mix of the two ?
Thank you for the kind feedback! All text spoken aloud is excerpted from Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Any text not read out loud (mostly just when the metaphorical characters introduce themselves or part ways) was my own minor addition, filling in mortar between the bricks I borrowed from Walden. I tried to make it my own in which quotes were selected, how they were ordered, and the puzzles/characters framing them, but I cannot take any credit for Thoreau's textual wisdom :)
I appreciate the suggestion - it's the second I have received so far asking for the addition of key controls. I like that clicking the right edge spatially maps to turning the page (physical, or touchscreen e-reader), though I suspect there are other interesting readings that might emerge from more direct character control. I'll probably break down in the not-too-distant-future and reupload an update with keyboard controls. Thanks!
i gave you a 2/5 pictogram, and a 7/10.
personally, this "doesn't appeal" to me, but i see what you're trying to do. i would've enjoyed it better with keyboard controls, because the click style is tedious. overall, good job
Thanks for the constructive suggestion! I actually went so far toward keyboard implementation as to detect the holding/release of the various keys, though I eventually weighed against connecting them to character movement for two reasons:
1- This is a port of an app I originally made for iPad and iPhone touch screens. It was designed with locational input in mind, and I worried whether platformer directional controls might trivialize the few jump puzzles.
2- I like that clicking the right side of each screen to advance feels a bit conceptually like turning the page in a (the!) book. I may be overplaying the importance of this aspect in my imagination, but I was on the lookout throughout development to keep it connected to its textual (as opposed to experiential) basis, the text itself being a known deviation/exaggeration of Thoreau's true experiences.
Thank you especially for not being harsh about audience mismatch. I struggle to find the right places to put the sort of things I make, since they're generally not games, yet they fit easiest and find the largest audiences within virtual spaces for hosting games. (Newgrounds seems a better community fit by far compared to Kongregate. For this particular project, at least.)