Gent Stickman Vs la Méchante Main de Chair
I previously played the English version of this game in Parsercomp.
In it, you type in words like a regular parser game, but the majority of output is in images in a cartoon style. You are the ‘guy’ on a guys’ restroom door, and the lady on the other door is stolen by a photorealistic hand. You have to rescue her!
I wondered if there would be any big differences in the French translation. I didn’t find any. I looked and found a long post by the author after the comp had ended, which was very comprehensive. I learned that 1) the author had thought of many deep philosophical things, including Shakespeare, Brecht, Michael Ended, diegetics, etc., 2) the game was written in around 10 days, and, most importantly to this translation, 3) The author specifically refused input of several beta testers and several reviewers, deciding to stay true to an artistic vision rather than listen to the masses.
I generally find that ‘being true to yourself’ and ‘making a well-respected and popular game’ are two different goals for games. They don’t necessarily contradict each other (Superluminal Vagrant Twin seems like it satisfies both goals!) but it’s not usually to pick both and work on them. If you seek your own true vision, that means occasionally disappointing your fans, and if you seek to please fans, you may lose your own vision.
So this game still includes many of the things that made it difficult in the English version. The author states that almost no one has completed it without hints, but that hard games have both poetic value and it is better for players to play games without hints.
These are subjective positions for which there is no real answer. For my thought though, great games aren’t great because they are hard, but because they make players feel smart or accomplished. I could make a game with a 10-digit multiplication problem and it would be hard without a hint or a calculator, but that wouldn’t necessarily make it fun. Similarly, games like Dark Souls or Elden Ring could be made so hard that no one could complete them at all. So I think that difficulty itself does not create enjoyment.
Overall, this game is identical to the English one, outside of the French. It is polished, descriptive in its own fashion. I did find it amusing, and I have played it again. I gave the English one 3 stars, but I’m giving the French one 4 stars. Why? I think everything looks cooler in French, and playing in a non-native language adds a different level of complexity that I enjoy. I realize that doesn’t benefit actual Francophone players, but ratings and reviews are always subjective.