My official submission

Posted by (twitter: @object404)
December 18th, 2011 11:29 pm

I hereby declare this as my official Ludum Dare 22 jam submission, using the .txt & English APIs (sourcecode included):

“What is the definition of a computer game?”

Artist statement:

You may think I’m trolling, but no, I’m completely serious. The concept of computer games these days have to be re-examined. Back in the day, we played text-based adventures from the likes of Infocom and had the most powerful 3D-renderers in existence: our imaginations.

I enjoy stuff like Skyrim as much as the next guy, but the problem with computer games and kids these days is that everything has been pre-imagined for them. All the 3D shiny bells and whistles destroy their imaginations the same way one encounters literature through a movie adaptation before reading the book.

Kids today whine too much and call games like Super Meat Boy hard, when back in the day, you didn’t have insta-level respawns and took a *LONG* time to reach those bosses with early MegaMan & Castlevania only to die and restart 6 levels earlier after Dr. Wily wiped out your ammo & lives.

Kids these days also don’t like thinking hard anymore. I’m thrilled that SpaceChem, a sort of visual programming puzzle game with a text-based storyline was declared best indie game of the year by Gamasutra and

Truth be told, I’m a bit angry at the state of gaming as well as kids these days with their short attention spans (ooh, shiny!), not liking reading and declaring trivial stuff “hard”.

Cue “get off my lawn jokes”.


See these words (visual assets) and hear that voice (audio assets) which is a remix of yours and mine?

It’s on your monitor.

It’s on your computer.

It’s a challenge.

Care to play?

Defend yourself.

Comment below.

20 Responses to “My official submission”

  1. Gjarble says:

    If you actually fill out the submission form and submit this challenge as a Jam entry, I’ll rate and play it. Seems like it would be a great way to provoke discussion on the topic, and its very submission would symbolically challenge the viewers’ ideas of what a computer game really is.

    • Gjarble says:

      Just re-checked the Jam page and there it is. Guess I spoke too soon. As I’m working on my own Jam entry (which, as it happens, challenges the implicit definition you give in question form near the end of your post), I’ll give you my… erm… playthrough after the submission deadline.

  2. Bloodyaugust says:

    Sounds like somebody ran out of time. 😉

  3. TeamEpsilon says:

    While I may agree with some of your points, it is also very easy to get carried away stereotyping “kids these days”. Using that sentence more than once makes you sound like and old geezer like you sarcastically implied at the end of your… game. While I can agree that most games nowadays rely to heavily on graphics to pull them through, I would like to point out that like everything else in the universe, gaming is evolving. Stating that your personal preference in games (which no doubt had been developed based on the games you grew up with) is better or more valid than another’s (such as the heavily graphic based games like Skyrim) and labels you as nothing more than an idiot. I am not saying you are an idiot, merely implying that you present yourself as one. This could also be misinterpreted as condescension against contemporary gaming or merely your, obviously inflated, pride. This, whether you like it or not, is the next generation and you’ll have to deal with it eventually. Imagination is still a huge mechanic of Gaming… Take the hit indie game Minecraft for instance. That game cannot go anywhere should you have no imagination and over 16 million members have joined it. That speaks of a mass quantum imagination, one that can be represented in visually stunning detail, relating exactly how the author wanted, instead of letting the reader develop his own image of the work (possibly interpreting something differently, ruining a key element).
    The difficulty of a game should not affect how “good” it is. There are many games that are made to promote certain moods within people, psychological masterpieces, that took a very developed imagination to produce such vivid imagery. This has taking gaming beyond just the “outer shell” of two senses and a motor function and pushed it into the realm of the soul. You could even argue that Video Gaming (or any style of gaming for that matter) promotes a developed soul.
    Now, this community is here for THE DEVELOPMENT of video games. This means that the people here use their imaginations, the same 3-D Polygonal renderer that you prize so dearly, and attempt to recreate it or the rest of the world as best they can so that others can share that idea. It is quite well known that ideas spawn ideas and so logically, the more games created here, the more imagining goes on within the minds of each person who gets to share the experience of any one of the concepts here.
    I do hope that, after having read this whole post, you can see how you have sorely misjudged not only this community, but this entire generation.

    PS: While I did supply that counter to your argument, I do enjoy novels and paper & pen games such as DnD 3.5 and choose your own adventure (txt based).

  4. good game, but i was able to finish it too quickly, and i felt like i was being led down the garden path with no real choices of my own.
    great level of polish though. and good game idea!
    not too sure of its uniqueness… i think it has been made before… but then, what hasn’t. hell.. notch just remade minecraft.
    graphics need a bit of work, they were bland and monochrome without life, and not in a cool that-was-my-intended-style kind of way.
    audio was great :)

  5. helloserve says:

    I agree with you on all your points. And yes, I call them ‘kids these days’ as well. But, instead of making a statement like this, why don’t you actually try and do something about it. Make your own old-school game, put some twists in it, and put it out there. Then make another one. And put that out there.

    The only way to fight these mega-corporation ‘instant gratification’ creations is to make our own titles that is more fun, more rewarding and that will pull ‘the kids these days’ into the real art of game play again.

    So, stop shouting from the side lines man. Come and join us.

  6. Mjiig says:

    Games exist for the purpose of enjoyment. Not to make people feel better about the good old days. Not to test people attention spans, but to let people have fun. If more people have more fun with easier, shorter, simpler games or anything else for that matter, it makes perfect sense for games to cater to that. Obviously there are still a minority of people who prefer harder or text based games, so a minority of games still cater for that as well, but you can’t expect all games to be like that when IT’S NOT WHAT MOST PEOPLE WANT TO PLAY.
    People are well within their rights to enjoy whatever they want, even if you don’t like it.

    • marudziik says:

      Games for the purpose of enjoyment? Sorry, I have to disagree. I view games as a form of art – an interactive art, to be precise. Some games aren’t supposed to be fun, they’re supposed to be an experience.

      On the other hand, I do think the author of this “game” is just someone, who looks on the past only thru his nostalgia, who can’t even recognize that most of the early games from 80’s and 90’s weren’t really that smart. They were fun, because we were kids, but not that smart from a point of view of an adult, really.
      Art evolves all the time – and any form of art, really – it’s the same with paintings or music. Denying games today’s advanced graphics is like saying “books are better than movies”. No, they’re just a different form of art. And just as there are good and bad books/movies, there must be games that are worse or better – but this is also something very subjective.
      Maybe “kids those days” do prefer something different, but there may be many reasons: mass-availability of computers, computer knowledge, the internet. Mainstreamisation of games, text-based titles being not-appealing. Author of the “game” would blame degradation of imagination or something like that, but I think that’s just evolution.

      Want to change this? then stop complaining and write damn games yourself.
      Do it commercially and I would really like to see how you fare on selling text-based games. I’m not sure any gamedev company would be able to make any money that way. There’s just not that much profit in selling games without graphics or games that are too hard, but that’s another matter.

      • digital_sorceress says:

        >>> Games for the purpose of enjoyment? Sorry, I have to disagree. I view games as a form of art – an interactive art, to be precise. Some games aren’t supposed to be fun, they’re supposed to be an experience.

        Perhaps I have on old fashioned concept of what games are, but I feel that the important criteria are (i) being fun, and (ii) demanding skill.

        If the word “game” becomes too inclusive, of things that are not fun and things that require no skill, then it stops being a useful label. When we hear the word “game” we should have a clear idea of what is being referenced. Likewise, if it’s interactive art, then call it interactive art. If it’s a tech demo, then call it a tech demo. Call it what it is.

        • marudziik says:

          I understand what you’re saying. Okay, so this would be a matter of naming. But today the word “games” refers to all sorts of interactive media, for which you need to have a computer or some other electronic device. This is usually divided to different categories, like “platformer”, “cRPG”, “shooter” or similar. There may also be an “art game” category – something having perhaps a mixture of different genres, but being itself an “experience”, and not only (or none at all) “fun”.

          Also, do you call different kind of movies something else than a movie? I mean, romantic comedies and dramas usually differ a lot, not only in content, but in its delivery as well. But they’re still “movies”. Completely different – yes, but something entirely else, for which you’d need a new term?

          The term “game” would describe the kind of interaction, not in terms of controls, but rather like “experiencing content and reacting to it to achieve some kind of goal” (so tech demo wouldn’t be a game, but could be), be it for sheer fun or… something else. Genre, category of a game would describe it further.

          • digital_sorceress says:

            >>>Do you call different kind of movies something else than a movie?

            Loaded analogy. Because a movie is tautologically a movie, while interactive art isn’t tautologically a game.

            I’d use this analogy: A television chat show is not a movie, even though they are both forms of non-interactive motion picture entertainment. I wouldn’t be tempted to soften word movie so it becomes inclusive of non-scripted / non-dramatised content, such as television chat shows.

            • marudziik says:

              A good term for “art games” other than “art games” just doesn’t exist, and the latter has the word “game” in it, although it may be not connected to any kind of fun, other than experiencing it. Term “interactive art” can apply to various forms of art, and usually these aren’t games. Therefore it’s hard to say “interactive art” and imply that it’s a “game” (again, as a form of interaction) you’re talking about, but saying “art game” does tell you that it’s art and also a game.

              You say it yourself in a comment somewhere below, that, according to recent studies, <>.

              My point of view is that the boundary between “game” and “interactive art” is usually hard to be found. Games can be a form of interactive art – they don’t have to, but saying that games are to be “challenging” and “fun” may be not enough.

              • marudziik says:

                @digital_sorceress The thing I cited from your comment below, and what was eaten: “concept of “game” is steadily expanding and becoming inclusive of general interactions with technology”. :)

              • digital_sorceress says:

                Yes, so I probably do have an old fashioned concept of what a game is :)

                Perhaps that stems from my scientific background, in that I prefer names of concepts to not drift in meaning over time. Many errors of reasoning are made due to vague/multiple definitions of words.

                >>> My point of view is that the boundary between “game” and “interactive art” is usually hard to be found.
                i agree. And there doesn’t have to be a boundary. These aren’t discrete boxes to pigeonhole things into, rather they are independent axes, and entities can extend into one/both/neither.

                Furthermore, they don’t need to be thought of in binary terms — I think of them as analogue rulers: So we can ask, ‘Is it a game?’ Moderately so. ‘Is it interactive art?’ Muchly! :)

  7. digital_sorceress says:

    Some research was carried out recently that studied children’s ideas of play, and how it is changing.

    One of the findings was that the concept of “game” is steadily expanding and becoming inclusive of general interactions with technology. The report said that people who had their childhood in the 20th century find it difficult to perceive technology in this way.

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