Ludum Dare 36 — August 26th-29th, 2016 — Theme: Ancient Technology

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To Give a Game

by Jwatt - Jam Entry

A weekend-long dialogue with myself, and by extension, everyone playing this.


Report any bugs and ideas and frustrations. I am open to fixing quirks, since there are no ratings this time around.

...I should probably credit the assets I've ripped.

Downloads and Links


fenwick says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 2:28am

Ack! The typing bit with the numbers was too hard, I can't touch-type numbers!

Very cute little game nonetheless, I wish I could progress further.

Jwatt says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 11:01am

The difficulty is pretty high in the gameplay segments, but it's not meant to be discouraging. The thrill of winning "just barely" is my way to nudge people into being more than passive listeners.

perde says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 1:52pm

Well, there's some irony to it when you later mention pixel-perfect jumps... :D

So. I played it through. For a story-driven game, the narrative is quite non-sequitur. (Presumably it's intended, but it has some adverse effects.) Some provided context would have made the game, I believe, a lot more easier to spectate. Its absence is a bit of a shame, as the final act was very beautifully written! Hence, it might remain as a gem hidden in a sea of letter-spamming and increasing confusion about which characters are present in which scene. Minimalism is something worth pursuing, but it has its shortcomings.

Also, somewhat surprisingly, most of the jokes didn't work for me. It's not that they were of a wrong "type" of comedy, but they seemed to yearn for a bit of honing. (The snake's puzzle and Love2D references got me, though :D )

Technicalities: add the anti-frustration feature to skip printing text one letter at a time.

Jwatt says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 3:38pm

Very useful feedback, and it's great to hear the final act resonated with you. I'm happy with it, it's an uncharacteristically open moment from me but it ties everything together very nicely.

Skipping text is a possible anti-frustration feature, for sure. As is autosaving the state to hard drive, cause the game is long enough to benefit from it. (I mean, script IDs are already checkpoints for dying, so it's literally just one string to write/read.)

More critically: fixed a mid-game health bug, and made some typo-tier corrections.

AnaGF says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 12:49am

I think you used pretty well the theme, I like the point you are trying to show with the game too. It was funny to read :)

However, the gameplay you tried to add seemed a bit off to me. For example, you can press Y or N to go answer to the cat, but I had the feel that my choice didn't matter, I was trying to understand if the cat's response really depended on my choice, and before I realized that it was just a delusion it was rather confusing because my mind was not paying attention at all on the story (which is the main feature of the game). I think that if you want the player to be more than just a reader, the point is not making the player do things, but making the player feel that he/she is altering the game somewhat (even if it is false, changing just a line may work).

Anyways, maybe this is my opinion because here it is late night and the bed is calling for me. But overall the game is good, you did a nice job!

JeanValjean says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 2:26am

Interesting concept, at first I was like wtf with the Japanese characters and started again but I lost again with the faster letters xD

starlightzone says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 4:15am

Goodness gracious this game is difficult, but I really appreciate the direction it seems to be going in. Keyboard inputs like these seem like rare a 'mechanic' these days so it was cool to see it used here, and in that way it really fits the theme. I-I can't get past the number barrage, though. Could definitely see this as a full game with more stuff.

g12345 says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 8:17pm

Good idea for a game, really reminds me about those old typing games that I played on ancient machines.

Unfortunately I'm still as bad at typing as before so I lose a lot of hearts even in the normal Hello World part, so I got game overs very quickly... :)

Jwatt says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 8:24pm

Alright, seems like no-death mode needs to be a thing. It's a shame seeing people give up on the first of four chapters because of the difficulty.

I've gotten some good feedback here and on IRC, keep it up.

Tijn says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 9:26pm

After dying 4 times, I decided to hack the game and disable losing hearts when I miss a letter. That made the game much more enjoyable, haha :D

The writing in this game is awesome. I just wanted to read everything, without getting stuck. The jokes are great too. Well done! You made me happy from your humble apartment :)

Tegu says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 9:29pm

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What. Different. Creative.

Good thing there are no ratings this time. I'm quite bad at rating anyway, and rating this would be pretty much impossible for me.

I like how the font changes for each character. At first I didn't notice that the pictures had little anime or manga like expressions (don't quote.. wait, do quote me on that even though I haven't really watched anime or read manga. Should I google?). Nice touch! Although, I think the cat briefly had the ball font at some point. But I'm not sure. I thought about doing the perfect way and re-finding out the exact part where this happened, but I don't think it would have been worth it. The characters are cute overall. Somehow I felt to be connected with the raccoon.. And I think I need to replay this later because I fear I missed something before hitting the progress trigger. OR I could check the code but.. that's cheating. Replaying is the pure way.

Referring to the ending parts of the dialogue, even this game required the player to retry a few times and memorize what is coming. "Oh, I missed those A's between the other spam" etc. The game is quite long and has nice amount of variation. But the story is what really kept me playing it until the end. I didn't notice any bugs either, which was nice. Keeping this kind of long-ish story in control and avoiding (or living within) spaghetti doesn't feel easy. I guess I should check the source .love to see how things are done under the hood.

I didn't really think any of the parts were too difficult, so I wouldn't need a non-death mode. On the other hand, sticking to the hard parts without giving any way to skip them might be a bit extreme if people stop the game early on because of them. Perhaps that would be the kind of black and white thinking.. "Either pass this part or you can't enjoy the rest of the game/story. Muahaha". *shrug* Not everyone is a touch typist, I guess. Number 6 seemed to be the most difficult for me, though. Maybe I should train it a bit. But repetition is boring, even this game knows it.

"Games are not meant to be dissected and analyzed" Oh no, I guess I shouldn't have written too much. But phew, maybe this writing was too meaningless to be considered as dissecting and analyzing, so I'm safe, probably.


rjhelms says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 2:40am

I'm not entirely sure what I just played, but I think I loved it.

The actual game play was a bit frustrating in places, but I persevered because I got totally wrapped up in the story.

This is a great reflection on the collective insanity we all went through last weekend. Thanks for making it.

Bogden says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 5:40am

This game is such a perfect jam game, and I love the story that you created.

Gave me a lot of "The Beginner's Guide" vibes. Thought what you did here was super interesting and unique.

Now, to dissect and analyze the game, I don't think the text advancing system did you many favors. The pace was slowed to a bit of a crawl because of it, which detracted from my own personal experience, unfortunately.

The sound effects were also put in so sparsely that they kind of caught me off guard when they did happen. Glad that you put some in though, instead of leaving it silent.

I also actually think you also have the kernel of a really interesting typing game with the mechanics you created. Essentially you had made a rhythm typing game without the music. I could totally see that as a real thing to help people learn to touch type.

So glad you made this and shared it. It really embodies LD well.

P.S. Left you a comment on my game around how to approach the word puzzles. Hope you'll give it another shot!

Jwatt says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 1:34pm

Aww, you guys are making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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