Prototyped in Twine. Has anyone tried this piece?
It’s on my wish list. Looks a very interesting concept.
Of course, Apple must like that it’s so Watch oriented, they’ll need some apps to justify the watch’s existence.
Sounds like it got popular before the watch shipped, though. Players aren’t just reacting to that.
No, I didn’t think they would - I certainly didn’t. But Apple sure must be glad of it.
This sounds like the perfect kind of thing. Anyone remember MAJESTIC back in the day where it was sending you faxes and phone calls? No? Well, I actually signed up for the first season of that. The idea of a “real time” 2nd party adventure where you’re giving suggestions and orders is pretty cool.
I do remember playing In Memoriam (a.k.a. Missing Since January, or something). Very gimmicky. You would receive (fake) e-mails from other (fake) players, intent on the investigatio, and you’d and browse the net (fake and actual sites both) looking for information to stop a serial killer.
In actuality the game was flash mini-games and net browsing, but I quite enjoyed it at the time.
And, what about that “Massively” engine? There was an announcement of a new game for it a few weeks back.
Paging Activision to re-issue Suspended in this format! Fold Mike Berlyn in on half the proceeds for his health bills, everyone’s a winner!
Five people play at a time, each controlling one robot. There are some additional out-of-world commands added in for players to send information to each other.
I wonder how this could be made a thing…
Well, Guncho exists…
…of course, each robot is mostly blind and powerless except for their particular strengths, and it could be tricky to ask a player to be that blind. On the other hand, if you give the robots more power and more agency; if each player is a robot, each with his special skill; if you subtract the overall entity of Suspended and just have the robots themselves do the work without being guided by anything which, through their fragments sees the whole; what you’ve got is less the experience of Suspended and more like Maniac Mansion, or Vikings.
Which might not be A Bad Thing.
I’m trying Lifeline now. Have been for the couple of days.
My reaction… meh.
I like the idea of the gimmick. In practice - and I’ve read reviews of people who felt 100% differently - the constant waiting periods just took me out of the game, bored me, detached me. Once or twice, at the beginning, I found myself thinking “What’s taking him so long?”. Which is good. But I have a life, and this game was intruding on it. The game will notify you when it’s ready for input after a waiting period, but it’ll wait patiently for you to respond, shattering the illusion it’s trying so hard to maintain (but, I wouldn’t want to play a game that wouldn’t wait for me). It got a bit ridiculous at times when he panicked, and was stressed, and the situation was urgent, and according to my iPod notifications he’d been panicking on an urgent situation for 48m, frozen in time, until I happened to glance at my iPod.
Usually when I make time for a game, I make time for a game. Then when I have to switch off I switch off, and get back to it later. Lifeline messes that up, and I don’t find the result pleasing. When I’m ready to play, the game makes me wait; when I have stuff to do, and check the time on my iPod, I find the game screaming at me “Here I am! Play me!”.
Not for me. But YMMCertainlyV.
I think it’s possible that those of us who are familiar with IF and what it can do (and who could possibly easily recreate this easily) don’t find as novel the concept of communicating with a character and giving it orders via branching nodes. I think the delay makes it feel “real” for people who have communicated via text because it engages their imagination “Oh, he’s not responding because he’s busy!” and they can conjure up a whole actual life for the NPC.
Yes, it would be more interesting if the character messaged you “Oh my god the cabin is depressurizing what do I do???” and sent you increasingly fervent texts for the next two minutes until he either died, or was forced to make a decision on his own which might not be as good as the ones you could give him. That would add a new dimension: non-interaction is just as important as interaction, and you could lose the game if your phone was on the charger in the other room when an emergency occurred.
Which is why I wouldn’t want to play a game like that.
It’s funny how the thing that most pushed me away from the game is what draws other people in. Guess I’m just not the target audience.
I’m playing this too – I’ve gotten Taylor killed once (and, by the way, I totally read Taylor as female, specifically as a slightly ditzy undergrad with honey-colored hair), and I’m now going through again. Replaying takes away some of the immersion properties of the delays and just makes them even more annoying if I’m just trying to get back to a node I already visited in the previous game.
That said, though, I think there’s more to the appeal of Lifeline than just the delay gimmick: specifically, people do respond to this Fail-Safe-like setup of being responsible for someone else. Taylor’s vulnerability invites concern both about her physical safety and about her mental wellbeing. And it also resolves a lot of the classic protagonist/player problems to have a narrator/PC who is not “you” and is not supposed to be “you” and where it’s reasonable that you don’t share knowledge.
Yes, my post overlooks something that it does do well - I weigh my options before I continue. I make actual decisions, knowing there will be consequences.
Partly because if I make the wrong move I’ll have to endure more insufferable waiting, but hey, that might mean that the gimmick is indeed working for me. Just not the way the author intended.
This game sounds strikingly similar to Ansible in the current ShuffleComp… Interesting coincidence.
I’m just saddened that it’s iOS exclusive. There’s very little reason to do that, so it’s unfortunate that it can only be played on an overly expensive premium device that only a fraction of people own.
And making a game for the Apple Watch is at this point somewhat like making a movie for curved televisions.
You can actually rewind to a previous node by simply scrolling up and clicking the choice again. When you have reached an ending, you also unlock a “fast mode” in the menu that speeds up the game significantly. Neither of these facts are communicated very well, unfortunately.
Huh? Where’s that fast mode? I’m on my second playthrough now, and I don’t see any fast mode, and I WANT to see a fast mode…
There is a gray button at the bottom of the screen that opens a settings menu. At the bottom of the menu, there should be a button that says “Turn fast mode ON”, with a picture of a rabbit.
I don’t have that. Maybe the game thinks I don’t deserve it for letting Taylor die.
Or maybe, perish the though, by starting over instead of going back to a previous node I reset the game’s state and it thinks it’s my first playthrough.