Ludum Dare 32 — April 17th-20th, 2015 — Theme: An Unconventional Weapon

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AN UNCONVENTIONAL WEAPON

by Avant-Marde - Jam Entry

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>>> WARNING: CONTAINS SOME FLASHING IMAGERY, supposedly? <<<

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This is an HTML5 game made with JavaScript and canvas. It has been tested in Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

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Ava is tired of games focused on combat in general.
Ava does not make games focused on combat in general.

As such, even a theme like this would have to spark something different, and so it did, for an immediate idea formed.

This might be a bit of an unconventional game too. There isn't that much gameplay. It's a message presented through abstract symbolism.

The game is very short.

Let us know how we did.

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CREDITS:

Ava Skoog (@avaskoog on Twitter)
Eva Jolene (@evajolli on Twitter)
Marte Kvamme Strømmen (@thedjuske on Twitter)

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Instructions are in the game, but if you miss them:

WALK: arrow keys or A and D
TALK: down arrow key or S

That's all there is to it.

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Downloads and Links


Ratings

#12Mood(Jam)4.31
#66Audio(Jam)3.91
#247Graphics(Jam)3.81
#287Theme(Jam)3.69
#300Innovation(Jam)3.41
#447Overall(Jam)3.31
#982Fun(Jam)2.28
#2143Coolness24%

Comments

Move127 says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 5:15pm

Perhaps it's a little too abstract. I certainly didn't get the message, though I might just not be looking close enough.

renatopp says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 5:21pm

I think is more like a good presentation than like a game. Anyway, this is a great use of the theme, congratz.

Ourson says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 5:24pm

It's not an actual game, and i didn't have tons of fun "playing" it, but i can see that was not the point.
I see what you did there and why you did it.
That's cool.
And you are 100% in the theme.

bpvelloso says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 5:33pm

That´s nice, I really like the graphics stuff, but I unable to understand the game itself, you can provide a better introduction perhaps...

rogberth says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 5:40pm

Not fun, not meant to be. But it tells the story pretty well. Good job

Iak says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 5:43pm

I love the graphics style. I love the abstract way of communicating your message. The atmosphere is great. Not much of a 'game' I guess, but still very enjoyable.

Apr 20, 2015 @ 5:58pm

The aesthetics and sound design is soooo good! Conveys the message perfectly!

davidgrieser says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 6:10pm

After the third level I figured out the message of the game. Play through to the end in order to really understand.

DesignerNap says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 6:16pm

Really got this. Great tone and atmosphere. Nice presentation and strong message. Well done.

Ditto says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 6:28pm

I think this game is just as abstract as it needs to be. While playing I was continuously confused as to what was happening, but after playing I feel like that was the point. Someone is nice to me one day, which makes me stronger, but the next day they're not, and it breaks my heart.
The way people act are difficult to understand, and you reflect that very well in your game.
I enjoyed it, very much.

ps. The second day I thought "Hey I don't wanna talk to these people they're mean.." but the game kind of forces you to talk with everyone? It felt a bit silly, but hey, jam games

vicious_br says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 7:00pm

Music very immersive with the theme of your game

Jan Marcano says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 7:08pm

This was pretty well done :)

I did get that words being harmful was the message behind it, but the bullying part I'm not so sure.

My only complaint is that maybe it could be a littler bigger or allow some kind of resizing? on a 1080p screen it looks kinda small.

Great job :D

Ellian says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 7:16pm

The narrative is very well done for a muted game. Good message, good way of telling it, good job.

Avant-Marde says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 7:37pm

Ava here. Thanks for all the comments so far! Surprised to see so many so soon. That's not a pace I'm used to when it comes to LD.

Feelings seem mixed, but the general consensus seems positive, so that makes me happy.

It is indeed not much of a game, and not meant to be fun, but a specific experience, so I'm glad to see that it worked out for most of you so far.

Thanks for the detailed interpretation, Ditto! I'd love to hear from more of you about how you interpreted what you saw, since there is a thought behind what happens every day. As for talking to people despite being mean, that's based on personal experiences as well as some of the kids I saw in the documentary I watched at the beginning of this to get inspiration; some kids keep hanging out - or trying to hang out - with people like that because they would rather be with them than nobody at all. And they get used to it. That's all they have.

Glad to hear the music worked out. I'm not a musician and messed around the best I could to convey an atmosphere. Had to learn how to do a pitch bend for the last track!

@Jan Marcano: It can still apply to other walks of life, of course. I just find it so sad that it starts so early in life for a lot of people, and that's why I wanted to try to focus on this school environment.

Again, great thanks to all of you!

Avant-Marde says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 7:47pm

@Jan Marcano: I'm on a 1440p monitor btw!

thumbgarden says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 7:55pm

I really like the mood of this game. Not exactly sure if I played it right but hoping there is atleast one hidden gem in there to find. Maybe the order that you talk to the characters could trigger some type of bonus content.

ProjectX593 says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 8:10pm

Very good audio and visual design. Thinking back on my own experiences as a kid, the game really fits what being bullied is like.

Squeka says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 3:42am

That's a good message of entry.

V_V says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 7:38am

Wow, the best implementation of the topic so far! I liked how you as a player have to build the story yourself in your brain. Furthermore I like games as yours with a deeper meaning. Really good job!

careless says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 1:20pm

Funny how green and positive comments make you feel that you are winning and the red nasty comment makes you feel you are losing.

I like how you did the different seasons and the background music was neat.

I think this portrayed a sense of depression as well as bullying in a very simple/effective way.

Well made!

SelfTitled says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 5:42pm

Mood is amazing and it carries a message that I didd't really get until the end.

Miziziziz says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 7:14pm

Nice artsy game :)

Raiyumi says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 8:18pm

It's a nice interactive experience!

After playing the first few screens I thought they were all supporting hitler or something, haha. But after a bit it started coming together. I'm assuming after I made a friend all those kids spread rumors about me to make him/her hate me.

Overall, nice job!

Simon says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 8:35pm

The mood is incredibly heavy. It works very well, I still feel weird and sad. But I'm glad I do :) I went through the end so yes the message is Cristal clear. Well done.

morgondag says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 8:38pm

Like the mood and the message! the message is the weapond!

Avant-Marde says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 7:44am

Another batch of thanks to y'all!

markusfisch says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 9:19pm

Well, that's quite an unusual game! I liked the simplicity, the graphics, the sound, the speech bubbles. Felt like a riddle to me. Wish there was also the possibility for a positive ending.

Jojo says ...
Apr 24, 2015 @ 7:44pm

Really well done! I understood where it was going while I was playing it. Felt sad when the person who accepted me once was later indifferent to me, probably influenced by the people around him.

Apr 26, 2015 @ 2:08pm

Unique use of the theme which was a nice change. The atmosphere was well done with the music working to enhance the feeling of the piece. Didn't understand everything I was seeing in the messages but did enjoy trying to interpret it all into a cohesive story.

May 6, 2015 @ 4:39am

Difficult to rate this one. Not "fun" nor a game, but presented well and on-theme.

VDZ says ...
May 7, 2015 @ 9:32am

Personally, I'm not as enthusiastic about this game as most other people seem to be. It was frankly rather boring to play, with a message that's been done to death, obvious from pretty much the start and not conveyed in an especially impactful way.

For the gameplay/interactive experience, the method of progression didn't make much sense to me. You absolutely had to talk to specific people to clear each level, but you had no indication of who you should talk to (even worse when you also have to go back to talk to people again) nor any choice in the matter (making it feel less like you're doing it naturally; rather than being the victim for natural behavior, you specifically have to seek it out. You have to make the conscious choice to get hurt (despite having no incentive to other than because the day magically doesn't end otherwise) and people never approach you to hurt you (which AFAIK is a defining aspect of bullying). I feel this both undermines the game's message and makes the game feel boring.

I can't agree with ProjectX593 and careless that this is a remotely accurate portrayal of bullying; all that happens in this game is that people are mean to you a couple of times (when you're the one initiating contact, no less). Having been bullied for years myself, you get used to the words themselves pretty quickly; it's the whole social exclusion thing (and being punished for just about any social behavior, them actively coming to you) that makes it so depressing. It goes far, far beyond people just saying a couple mean things.

The atmosphere was great, though. Interestingly enough, I don't find the graphics or audio very interesting when taken alone, but they do make for an excellent atmosphere. The interpretation of the theme was a very obvious one - tons of entries are using 'words are powerful weapons' - and it's used in a rather straightforward manner, but it was well-implemented as central element of the game.

jordgubben says ...
May 9, 2015 @ 8:26am

Some of the rating criteria, like "Fun" and "Humor", don't really apply to this game. But the non-fun and non-humor is brilliantly executed.

Avant-Marde says ...
May 9, 2015 @ 9:45am

Thanks to everyone again, and especially thanks to VDZ for such a detailed comment.

You're quite right in that there should've been more control given to the player to make it a proper game. More of an option to choose how to tackle the bullying.

Due to the limited time I ended up making this more of a half-interactive story about a specific child, based on personal experiences and experiences reported from others, of repeatedly seeking out company even when those from which it is sought keep mistreating you.

So I'll have to point out that it is more accurate for some, but obviously that's not everyone's bully story and had I had more time I absolutely would've done it more along the ways you suggest, letting the player choose how to deal with it and have characters react in different ways and take their own initiatives rather than just standing around (altho there is the automated shouting at you in the very beginning of the game at least).

Great points for perhaps making this into a proper game in the future, so thanks a lot!

Jakob37 says ...
May 10, 2015 @ 9:34am

You got a really nice mood here. Like the visual style, and the ambient sounds. Would have been interesting to play a more extensive version of this!

Avant-Marde says ...
May 13, 2015 @ 10:04am

Does indeed seem like we scored high on the mood in the end. Great thanks to everybody who played and rated.

Rick Hoppmann says ...
May 13, 2015 @ 12:27pm

As someone who was being mobbed in school I could easily identify with the story.
The feeling of having everyone against you. Thinking you made a friend but then it turns out that they are influenced by the others and adapt their opinion. That are the two ideas I can see you communicated.
That are certainly 2 ideas which can be found in most mobbing experiences.
Sound design and graphics worked great to communicate the story and I also liked the slow walking and the people popping up behind your back.
I think where this games fails is whom it is adressed to. I can see how mobbing victims can identify with it, but I can't see how this would make someone understand the consequences from the perspective of a mobber.

All in all, big kudos to you! It's hard to make a game about such a topic and I want to congrat you on your courage to make it.

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