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A game being made in a month for RMN's Summer Games event - 2011.

Theme: Surrealism.

So... The event theme gave me a great excuse to make the pretentious and surreal game I've always wanted to. It's hard to say what this game's about without ruining it but it's mainly a patchwork of inspiration from songs and music and what those meant to me. Gameplay will be non-traditional to non-existent but at least it'll look kinda pretty :)

You take on the role of a masked protagonist in a surreal journey through a strange world. What else do you need to know?

:>

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Does this count as concept art? Maybe some history at least, clues perhaps.

So I was flicking through my book o' notes where I jot down my game ideas, game-flows, put annoying evented systems with conditional branches into flow-charts etc etc and I came across this sketch I did ages ago, way before I even started on this game, which may be a somewhat familiar scene to those who've played the current version of Novella:



The line is from a Taking Back Sunday song called "...slowdance on the inside" and is one of my favorites.

Here's where I ramble about nothing of importance for a while:

As I've mentioned before, this whole game is pretty much a patchwork of bits and pieces from songs and albums but they're all tied together, in a patchwork-ey way into distinct scenes in the game's unfolding because the idea I had for this game was to try to tell a story without much storytelling, trying to tell a big story in a short space of time by using what's implicit in every scene to the fullest extent I could: Music seems to do this a lot and very well (at least to me) so I tried to put that into a game.

Another thing I tried to do with this game was to ensure that the references I used weren't "standalone lines" by which I mean; if a player decided to research some of the lines I'd used in this game and read the lyrics or listened to the songs from which those lines came then they'd actually end up with a fuller understanding of what's happening in the "story". In a way I'm using other media as secondary material or a "companion work" even though that material pre-dates this game. This inclination of mine sort of comes from reading House of Leaves and once having a little thing for ARGs - I've always been somewhat enamoured with the idea of entertainment media that invites you into a collaborative breaking the fourth wall and points you toward other aspects of reality or other media in order to deepen the meaning and experience of the work. So I guess my inclination to do that a little bit here was a nod to those.

Anyway that's all I got. :>

  • Production
  • NewBlack
  • narcodis
  • RPG Tsukuru 2003
  • 08/08/2011 02:59 PM
  • 07/06/2014 09:14 AM
  • N/A
  • 81702
  • 33
  • 1291

Posts

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what do you di when you are at the train station with the piano and the guys says you forgot the key?!
I think it's safe to say that this will appeal to some people not to others, it remains a cult game favoured by some.
... I am seeing that everyone say's that your OCEAN puzzle was very difficult to discover.... they are right but also our brains were a little rusty. I remembered playing monkey island games, And i remembered there were some very difficult parts (Especially Monkey Island 2 and don't even talk about the first Maniac Mansion) Just want to say that
author=MrChearlie
I really like your game, by the way, how can I get the music n.n' it was pretty relaxing


Thanks :> All the tracks in the game you can find in the "music" folder inside the game folder :>
I really like your game, by the way, how can I get the music n.n' it was pretty relaxing
@Marrend the G on the blackboard is easily decipherable as the notes on the wall next to it tell you exactly what every note on the staff is. Then you just look at which happens to be red, check it against the notes on the wall and you have your answer. It's nothing to do with association, it's just reading what you see. I didn't think this would be unfairly hard considering that the answer is totally given to you, you just have to match up the red note with the "answer sheet".

@Calunio it's both a puzzle piece and relevant. Is that so hard to comprehend? You know how in films passwords tend to be something important to the character who set the password? It's not that hard to get your head around. I'm not gonna make my game ask people to figure things out because to me if they're playing it then I just assume that they might have the slightest interest in what's happening on the screen they're looking at and wonder what it might mean. I consider that sort-of-natural. I dunno man, maybe we just have completely different ways of thinking.

I never ever play or read or watch anything without considering what the meta-message of the piece might be (this is all English Lit's fault). For instance (cheap example) if you read/watch/whatever Arthur Miller's The Crucible and just think it's about the old american witch trials then you have some fiction about witchhunts, what made it "of artistic merit" for its time was that it was an allegory for McCarthyism in the US and as far as my memory serves me - at no point in The Crucible do you get an overt clue regarding its allegorical nature simply because it wouldn't make any sense for the people alive during the witch trials to mention events or things that hadn't happened or don't fit into the "world" of the story.

In my game everything you see happen is allegorical but instead of switching one realistic scenario for another (say Miller's use of Witch Trials "standing in for" McCarthyism - Both real-world scenarios) I put a surreal world in place of "the real world", literally. So every event, place etc stands in place of a "real world" thing (I don't mean historical events or anything on record, rather simply that everything stands in place of an unseen reality which would, if seen in the game, not be "weird" or "surreal" at all but would be "realistic" - the antithesis of surrealism).
chana
(Socrates would certainly not contadict me!)
1584
I'm not talking about the same mini-game, I also agree that the OCEAN one was too undecypherable.
author=chana
More or less everybody got more or less stuck on this, but that is entirely the player's fault for lack of attention, imo.


That's a terrible attitude for someone who makes games. "If everyone finds something wrong about your game, it's their fault for being stupid, it's not the creator's responsibility".

Also, Newblack, though I'm certain I understand what you were trying to accomplish, I just think it wasn't executed correctly. If you want players to think you have to give them at least the slightest lead on anything. And the only moment in the game I can recall that asked the player to think was "remember that... OCEAN". I thought the ocean symbolized something relevant about the game's theme, and I did try to interpret that... but I was dead wrong. The game doesn't even ask you to TRY to understand anything, like some investigation, or mystery, or puzzle. If I hadn't read some stuff about the development process of this game, I wouldn't even know if it was supposed to make sense. And that's my gripe. I know it is. I know I'm not supposed to interpret it, I'm supposed to understand it. And I don't, and that's frustrating.
chana
(Socrates would certainly not contadict me!)
1584
More or less everybody got more or less stuck on this, but that is entirely the player's fault for lack of attention, imo.
Marrend
Guardian Angel of the Description Thread
17111
While it's true I could repeatedly listen to the violinist of Hamlin, I'm not sure how many times I would need to listen to him to get the proper notes. I figured it was easier to have the melody ready to run in the background while I Improvised. Then, when I thought I got the sequence down, I repeated it for real. It still took me a couple of tries, as I was getting my sharps mixed up.

As for the last piano puzzle, I was able to figure out three out of the four notes. The one hint I wasn't quite able to get was the one in the "music" room.

I saw the "#" symbol on the chalkboard, so I knew it had to be a sharp note. Which one, however, was what I wasn't sure of. Unless...
Unless the clef symbol itself, which looks like a "G" (Which clef is that again?) was part of the hint that I didn't recognize until just now. Though that doesn't involve looking at the teacher's notes, nor is the clef red like the other hints in that area. There is the red note on the chalkboard, but I'll be damned if I associate that with the G# that I needed for that puzzle.

Hm, well I'm sorry you found it tedious and rage-inducing Marrend. Obviously not really my intention when making it but thanks for the honest feedback. The violin dude plays the song as many times as you want to hear it and the third piano puzzle the notes are actually given to you (somehow I managed to make the puzzles get easier as the game went on, derp)

Long rambly stuff here:
I can't defend the whole lack of exposition on the subject matter thing because well, I went out on a limb and tried something that had been rattling around in my mind for a while and knew it was gonna be pretty hit or miss (in fact this is what excited me most about this idea :/). I made the game pretty much exactly as I intended (not including not finishing the game, as chana mentioned - and other shortcuts required due to time constraints but YES including the piano puzzles and slow walk speed - I did take these into consideration but went with it anyway in the end, a RM sin, I know.) so I don't regret how it is in that regard. The main difficulty in making this game was in my not having a clue whether the implicit meaning of what was happening would be conveyed - guess you can file it under "obscure artsy game". I did take a lot of inspiration from the actual surrealist art movement (well, a lot for an rpgmaker game anyway) in how very concrete messages were conveyed entirely through strangely juxtaposed events and stuff.

Y'know, really the whole idea behind the "nothing making sense at first glance" is supposed to get you thinking about what things might mean for yourself instead of being told. The recurrent jarring strangeness is intended to make sure you're never too comfortable with your working interpretation as you progress through the game - in that way it's kinda there to make sure the player doesn't mislead themselves into thinking their initial interpretations are correct and leading them to a dead end - instead it's meant to make sure that the player is simultaneously thinking "what could this be about? What could be happening in this scene that's not immediately apparent on the surface?" whilst at the same time making sure that they never latch on to one early interpretation and try to make that fit everything that happens subsequently. I guess I overstretched myself on that but I'm glad I tried an idea I wanted to.


Thanks for giving it a play anyway, I get that it's not everyone's cup of tea and it's barely even a "game", but what can I say? I like to try different things :)

@chana: thanks for the kind words.
chana
(Socrates would certainly not contadict me!)
1584
I really liked it, it was really a try at something else, and in my idea, a real try at surrealism. Of course I was frustrated not to be able to get the whole picture, but Newblack explains quite clearly he didn't finish it, with the consequences it implies.
Marrend
Guardian Angel of the Description Thread
17111
I get it now! "Don't forget the oCEAn." Wow, that's really obscure! I don't think I'd ever get that without help.


Anyway, I finished the game, despite having to cheat on the last piano puzzle.

I opened up WinAmp to listen to the first couple of notes of "The Second Door". While that's the same technique I used to get "The First Door" correct, at least I had an idea of what I was supposed to play for that one.


I get the impression that this game wants to elicit emotions. The ones it elicits from me is utter rage at the slow walk speed and piano puzzles, coupled with confusion caused by a lack of background on the subject matter that this game is based on. Is it surreal? I don't know. It's certainly weird!
chana
(Socrates would certainly not contadict me!)
1584
Neither could I (French). Just explaining. In fact, I got as far as that : "Like the ocean, heavy like the ocean sea", realized it was unplayable, looked for something else.
I'm used to naming the notes do re mi fa sol la si, so I'm not used to thinking in terms of C E A D F whatever. I couldn't pass it without checking this topic.
chana
(Socrates would certainly not contadict me!)
1584
Like the ocean, heavy like the ocean : sea, but you can't play sea so "remember" the OCEAN"it ?
Marrend
Guardian Angel of the Description Thread
17111
author=Max McGee
I am stuck on the piano puzzle. Please help urgently. Like a ninja.

Like Max, I was stuck at the piano puzzle. There wasn't any hints, save the conductor saying that I should "remember" something. The only thing I attributed to the piano puzzle was the sound that plays when one picks up the fruit on the forest scene. Except I couldn't recall the exact sound.

author=chana
CEA

I've now tried this, and to be utterly blunt, I have no idea where I'm supposed to get this solution.


*Side note: I'm hating the slow walk speed, by the way.
Ahh, Chana beat me to it. Thanks :P
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