Comments on: The politics of beauty Michaël & Auriea's dev blog Fri, 24 Jul 2015 02:36:53 +0000 hourly 1 By: David Pádua Thu, 02 Jul 2015 00:15:18 +0000 I loved The Path, it gave me a sense of possibility in this medium. Tale of Tales’ anti-modernist stance always felt conservative and elitist to me, but I didn’t think it mattered, as long as their output had more layers than the discourse. Their following projects felt like half developed ideas, but I thought they were just getting ready for something more ambitious. Now I feel like they´re the flip side to the gamer coin. Games are what they are: Nintendo was founded as a card company, Konami started as a jukebox retail and repair business, Taito imported vending machines and jukeboxes, Namco ran two rocking horse rides in a department store, Midway manufactured mechanical carnival toys. The medium was born inside carnival boxes, not unlike film or recorded sound. The world’s first audio products were talking dolls, envisioned by Thomas Edison himself. These people were not joking around, they were entrepreneurs operating in a shallow industrial culture that thrives on standardisation and mass production, they have to appeal to a mass of individual entities called consumers, but not all of them at once. The concept of market segmentation is the next natural step, they need labels like pre-teens, teens, young adults, older adults, gen-x, gen-y, male, female, professional, trade or unskilled in order to deliver a message to a specific group of people. To some extraterestrial circles, this whole thing might come off as an elaborate joke, but the most laughable segment is “artists”, the ones with good taste, the anti-philistines, the ones Auriea & Michaël seem to identify with.

By: Irfon-Kim Ahmad Wed, 24 Jun 2015 12:59:31 +0000 I was a Kickstarter backer of the game. I was very excited to get the opportunity to play it. When it came out, I was disappointed. Is that because I lack the intellect and sensitivity to understand the art? That’s not for me to say, although if pushed I’d venture not. For me, the issue was that it’s just not a very good game, and if you’re going to choose a video game as the vehicle for your art, it has to also be a good game.

I’ve loved innumerable games that I also considered art. But they also worked as games. That’s where Sunset fails.

The colour palette chosen for the game may have been an artistic and aesthetic choice, but it interferes with gameplay to a degree that I was not expecting. It’s just plain hard to see things. Like, problematically hard. The settings adjustments available seem unable to alleviate the problem, and are hard to work with since they overlap the screen, so you have to exit and re-open the settings panel each time you make an adjustment.

Controls are clunky and the immersion is frequently ruined by seeing parts of you or reflections of you seeming to float or moonwalk in unrealistic ways.

The character can’t look straight up or straight down — their up-and-down look is in fact confined to an extremely narrow band. There’s no game-world explanation for this (does she wear a neck brace?). However, it makes it very hard to get a decent look at anything that’s not hung on a wall. Object on the floor or on a coffee table? Prepare to step back ten feet to be able to point your view at it. At that distance even the zoom feature doesn’t really help. As an actual person, I can look up and see the ceiling directly above my head or look down and see my own feet. In fact, I can tilt and see behind me in both directions. What’s with the restriction? It’s awful.

The interaction UI is just plain broken. Getting the Y or N choices to show up on screen is painful at best, and often just plain unworkable. Even if they were easy to choose, it’s too limited an interaction space, and often the sense you get of the choices in advance doesn’t at all match how they actually play out.

The pixel-hunting nature of completing the assigned tasks is tedious at best. The triggers are often arbitrary or even slightly irrational, and having to hunt the entire space to find them is tiresome. Clean the windows? Sure. Oh, standing in front of the windows doesn’t give me the option? The bucket and squeegie in the cleaning closet doesn’t give me the option? Some random other bucket half hidden under some papers in a random room does? Why? My character can’t just decide to clean the windows?

I like the idea that you were going for with this game, and I like elements of the game a lot. But it’s a flawed and disappointing execution, and missives like the one you wrote above seem to petulently (and often insultingly, as with the remark about people just not having the intellectual wherewithal to understand the work) place all the blame for lacklustre sales on your userbase, who have been very supportive, while refusing to accept any yourself.

You could try to address some of the issues with the game through a patch and hope to boost sales through positive later reviews of the patches version. You could be happy that it reached what audience it did. But I think that whatever it is you’re doing with this article wasn’t the right choice.