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Everything in the world can be explained with algorithms. You can count the seeds in a sunflower with the Fibonacci sequence. You can find prime numbers with sieve of Eratosthenes. Even mining cryptocurrencies is algorithmic.

The Rainforest Corporation© has discovered and patented an algorithm for discovering new pronouns. Like searching for new transcendental numbers, ever more can be found with increasing computational power. As the world's largest provider of web services, Rainforest Corporation© jealously guards their secrets and keep the fruits of their algorithm for paying customers only. It's only natural that people must pay for what makes them whole...right?

You and your friends may think otherwise. Perhaps the tools of gender expression belong in the hands of people who want them, all power to the people.

Only you and your friends can take the patented Pronoun Discovery Algorithm from the greedy hands of Rainforest Corporation©. It won't be easy, but you are a hacker, right? With the help of your friends you can steal the algorithm, and make pronoun generation belong to the people. To do this, you will have to learn to program the H10 CPU (manual included) and solve puzzles to intercept network traffic, break into secured servers, decrypt secret algorithms. Also you will likely have to make sure some scones don't burn. And also be there for your friends.

The Pronoun Game uses a custom game engine written in Mercury and scripted in Lisp.

Latest Blog

1.0 Released!

The full 1.0 release is out!

The major improvements over the gamejam version are:

* More puzzles, including several new CPU instructions
* The ability to review goals while in puzzles
* Several minor graphical problems have been fixed
* Expanded manual, including an overview of the solution to the first puzzle

If any major bugs are found, I will be sure to fix them. Thanks to everyone who helped!

Posts

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Gretgor
I have started my journey to get my first 4/5 before dreaming any bigger than that. Gradual and steady does it... hopefully.
2602
I just wish it was possible to review the goal of a level after it's given to us the first time. It bums me out to not remember what I had to do and have no way of verifying.

EDIT:

Hey there! So, here are my impressions on The Pronoun Game. This game is mostly complete, I think? Not entirely sure, but it does have an ending and stuff. I'm gonna post this as a comment just in case, because I'm not entirely sure if I should post it as a review.

Overall view

This game revolves around an algorithm that calculates pronouns, which you have to hack out of a corporation's database using machine code. The visuals are vintage and neat, and the story is kind of cool.

Overall, it's a fine game, including coding-based puzzle solving, corporate satire, and a real cool presentation. It may be more than a bit alienating for people who don't have a strong programming background, though, as it basically involves programming in an imaginary machine language.

Presentation and story

The visual presentation is composed of competent pixel art, with cool tilesets and an interesting use of color. The character sprites are stylish in a 'pastel punk'-ish way, if that makes sense, and I like them. The title song hurts my ears big time with that strange electronic distortion thing, but every other song in the game is good.

Like I mentioned before, the game revolves around an algorithm that discovers new pronouns. On the surface level, this could be seen as a snarky mockery of non-binary identities, but in reality, the game is way more tasteful (and smarter) than that. The story is about how certain corporations will pretend to care about queer people with symbolic actions, while never actually supporting them in deep systemic change where it is needed. It is a pretty interesting story in general.

So it's corporate bashing with a neat presentation and queer representation. Cool stuff. Also, I love how the chat app the main character uses to speak to their friends is clearly a spoof of IRC.

The one bad side to the story, in my opinion, is how thin and short it is. I'd have enjoyed it more if there were more scenes with more funny interactions, and some actual climax, but it's not terrible. I mean, it's a jam entry, so that's excusable.

Gameplay

So, the gameplay here is neat. It involves solving simple programming tasks with a limited set of instructions. There's a neat fourth wall breaking mechanic to it where we need to check out a manual that's on the game folder, and the manual looks like it was data dumped straight from some server or something.

On one hand, having to look stuff up in the manual makes me feel like a badass hacker, but on the other hand, it can be more laborious than it has to be. In fact, the very fact that the only way to learn about certain things is by reading this cumbersome manual is rather player unfriendly.

With that said, the puzzles themselves are okay. You do need to be at least somewhat familiar with machine code to play comfortably, though, making it not the most welcoming experience in the world. It is quite cool, though, how we need to use the machine code to solve small problems and eventually reach the harder ones, and I felt like a smartass for knowing what to do in most of them, but still, it's not very player-friendly unless you already have a background of computing or engineering.

Oh, also, I hate how it is impossible to review the objective of the levels, with them only showing up once. There are levels where I needed to read the instructions two or three times before I knew what to do, and I had to paste them into an MS Paint file so I wouldn't lose them.

The gameplay being inscrutable is not that big a problem, though, as you can also choose to skip the whole thing and just enjoy the story and the presentation, which are fine.

Final thoughts

This is a game I had a nice time with, but I find hard to recommend. Maybe I'm exaggerating, maybe it is perfectly playable by non-computing people, but the way I see it, I just know I'd have a harder time figuring out what to do if I didn't have at least a starting point to stand on.

Skipping the whole thing yields a fun story, but little more than that. I'd say the story by itself is worthwhile, but not very interactive, and it kind of just... ends, without a satisfying conclusion or anything like that.

So, overall, I think this game is worth a 3.5/5. It is clear that quite a bit of work went into writing its code interpreter, and the graphics are pretty nice as well. The only reason the score is not higher is that I imagine it's rather alienating for a significant portion of players, and the story could have gone deeper into the characters and stuff.
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