On Eruption and crap games in general.October 13, 2009
[I am not jump-cutting this, but a great deal of it can be construed as spoilers for the game Eruption, so ignore if you don’t want any, kaplease]
I have never been upset with anything for wasting my time. (To be fair, I’m generally never doing anything with it anyway – we are talking about entire days spent watching Mario Paint Composer videos and tweezing leg hairs; I’d be amazed if an outside source were as effective at wasting my time as I am.) I review comp games because – well, okay, I feel it keeps me from atrophying completely, and there are the critical accolades and the mountains of poontang, but primarily I do it because I enjoy it. A game might do something to piss me off, sure, all it takes is a fucked-up map or a “What do you want to unlock the door with?” (which is the new “Workin’ hard or hardly workin’?”), but I’ve never been able to work up the level of personal anger that some people express when a crap game is entered in a competition.
That being said, I absolutely cannot fathom why people continue to enter crap games in competitions. I can understand not having your game beta tested, even though that makes such a huge quality difference, because a hobbyist alone in their bedroom might have difficulty finding beta testers and decide they don’t really need that level of polish; they’ll be fine by themselves. What I can’t understand is why anyone would not bother to play through the thing themselves, just once, to make sure it was finishable, before submitting it to be flippin’ judged by a bunch of strangers.
That is the thing, you are putting something out there, people are going to judge it, and, by extension, they are going to judge you. Do you not care whether they think you and your thing are swell and nifty? Is it enough to have your name on a list? What the hell is the impetus here? Can anyone explain?
I think what bothers me about the Richard Bos rant – if you don’t know what I’m talking about, the rant is here, in the middle of a different rant, it’s all very meta – is that he’s saying “Let me show you fuckups how it’s done,” but then not bothering to submit an actual good game, merely a technically competent one (which it isn’t, entirely, because of ish with the map). I feel like if anyone’s going to learn by example, there are plenty of really good IF games they could try to achieve the quality of, games that are not only technically flawless but compelling and innovative and fun, so it seems sort of pointless for a mere technical competence bar to exist.
Also, I don’t get the sense anyone’s meant to get anything out of Eruption. Its inclusion in the comp is like putting a tiny jockey on the mechanical rabbit, on the grounds that it would at least beat the slower dogs… wait, there are no jockeys in a greyhound race, are there. It is so past my bedtime. Do you know what I mean, though? If you’re just keeping pace, why should we care?