the message

the message is a brilliant, artfully written, suspenseful game. i’m not going to talk about the plot.

instead, i’m going to talk about a minor detail that impressed me. being a twine game, the message is just text and images. but the front page “recommend[s] listening to some space music while playing.” and links to a thirty-minute track of just that kind of music – more than enough to last the entire game. what i like about this is now courteous and non-insistent it is. listen to whatever you want! listen to nothing. we recommend space music if you’ve got it – no? try this track.

digital game developers are increasingly interested in controlling as much of the player experience as possible – this is an example of what porpentine called a “non-coercive element” of the game. (her own game, the sky in the room, features a supplemental piece of music as an optional youtube link.) i like this, giving the player a gentle recommendation instead of enforcing a rule. it’s nice.

this game is great.

7 thoughts on “the message”

  1. Since we’re talking TWINE again, time to reiterate a comment which got lost in a website glitch some time ago.
    Isn’t there a graphic-interface TWINE editor for GNU/Linux systems? I know I’d love one. In fact, getting it into the Ubuntu Software Center or something would be a nice step toward “game making for everyone”, don’t you think?

  2. I like the music, definitely makes a text game easier to stick with. But doesn’t the ending of this one add up to a big FU to the reader? It had my attention, and then it threw it in the trash. Why waste time.

  3. Seth, the game is parodic, but I can’t explain why I think it’s a clever parody without spoliers (and it was made for Fuck This Jam!).

    The main thing I wanted to do was say that I’d really like to see more “non-coercive” game design.

    There are a lot of good reasons for non-coercive design, including showing respect for your players and not making ableist assumptions about who they are.

  4. I’m fond of The Message but it feels a bit too much like one of those overly long pages of Subnormality or Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

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