Why are we forced to cut words to fit character limits?

We always try to reply to constructive reviews on Steam for Death by Game Show.  We find people’s feedback invaluable.

As we bundled the game last week for the first time we’ve found a host of new reviews.  Many negative sadly saying the game is too hard, too simple, too chaotic, too boring and too much text but not enough explanation.  You can imagine our heads are a little like a pinball bouncing about with the contradictions.

Yet, I focused on one review and started to write a reply. I wanted it to be a sincere response explaining why the game is chaotic and why many people who like it seem to stop playing between 1.5 and 4 hours into the game.

Several paragraphs in and it was a succinct but explanation full response to an angered and frustrated player.

I had explained that the chaos of the game is representative of how the lead character sees’s the world, full of noise and only when thinking (aka stopping time) and strategizing can they succeed. I also admitted the game gets much harder and varied after 1.5 hours. Sadly, some people get frustrated and stop playing due to the difficulty curve.

Yet each time I tried to submit I was told by Steam’s platform it had too many characters.

I shortened. Nope. Shortened again. Nope. By the end, it was a husk taking only the key points without any sentiment. Somehow my sincerity was reduced to a wedge of text that sounded more like an excuse rather than what I wanted to say. Why are these systems in place?

The only logic could be that they’re trying to cut down what people say to each other online. Turning our wonderful languages into a series of short catch phrases and abbreviations. What’s next, no words – just emoji’s?

If language allowed the human race to evolve, what does the loss of language represent? No doubt, less expensive reading glasses.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

How the market lives through thumbs

Every product that comes to market lives and dies by the simplest of measurement, the thumbs of TL: DR.

Only 30% of you got to this paragraph but if we added a giant great big thumb up and a counter saying 1,152 next to it that percentage of “giving a sh*t” hikes to 50%. Over time that’s a significant jump.

Ironically, I’ve likely lost you again already because “stuff” flashed, beeped or popped up and it’s no doubt really (un)important to you and must take focus.

Notifications, alerts and other incoming traffic is a consumers life blood. Just like a thumbs up or down is the life blood of a product. Everything is a beat, a flow, and if you’re not rapid, you cannot keep up with the pace consumers have set. Simple.

This is where today’s marketing and products live. In a marketplace so saturated with desperate attempts at buying your attention via white hot bullsh*t that if we don’t make your life better, simpler, or entertain within 0.4 hours it’s over.

This is why Early Access on Steam is so popular. The illusion of progression and pace. A product (allegedly) on the move. It’s the same with all MVP’s as they are abbreviated. A minimum viable product that just does enough to get beyond that 0.4-hour hurdle before looping back to repeat exactly what it just did.

I can hear the cries of the crowd, “Nooooo, we don’t buy into BS” but that in itself is BS. You, like I, are manipulated so heavily by marketing and products that we act in a way that deserves sectioning.

The madness isn’t forced, it flows with consumer demands. It’s our own choosing, we want more options, quicker, cheaper and most of all simpler. We don’t want to read, review, examine or research. We just want a big thumbs up and a “buy now” button.

However, sometimes a thumbs up don’t mean good and a thumbs down don’t mean bad. It’s just opinion and like *ss holes everyone has one.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

Should have made a walking simulator

Different tastes and opinions make for a more interesting life. For the most part, it’s easy to see why certain tastes and thoughts bubble up into trends but there is something which continues to boggle my noggin. Walking simulators.

It was as if the market all cried out at once and decided they loved the walking about in Skyrim, just not the NPC’s, combat, crafting, looting etc. You know, the game portion of walking around looking at the pretty scenery.

I sort of get it, walking around a lush forest environment with very well scripted VO is like TV that you can direct. I’m just not sure if it’s actually a game. “Go from A to B” and “trigger scripted event” before “moving C to D” and “triggering another scripted event”. Rinse and repeat until you wear down the rails and end credits roll.

The level of interaction is easily compared to reading a book. Holding the book is the equivalent of holding W to walk forwards. Turning a page is like left clicking on those trigger points. Yet we don’t call a book a game because you have to interact with it.

This comparison might be over the top but there is a definite minimalist approach to walking simulators. Often feeling like the developer made the world and then went “ah screw it, let’s just add some VO and release!”

Whether it’s lazy gamers unwilling to actually invest in anything more than the combo of pressing W and left click, or idle developers taking advantage of selling the illusion of games when it’s, in fact, a narrative driven experience. AKA a story, a movie, an episode.

One thing is certain, less has truly replaced more. From the time it takes to complete a game, to the mechanics and interactions entailed. The simplification to appease non-gaming media journalists and frenzied quick play crowds at conferences is beneficial to expand the market audience and to make interactive mediums more accessible.

An interactive story is fantastic, but let’s call them that and not simulators, my brain can’t cope with the contradiction.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork…

Another week and another tree chopped, pulped and pressed to process the last seven days worth of paperwork at Oointah Games.

It’s heartbreaking when your game doesn’t perform but the artwork has charm and characters have enough life in them to live on in numerous spin-offs going forwards.  Hence the paperwork.

The big question is “where does that leave Death by Game Show?”  It’s already destined for bundles and numerous sales leading into the end of 2017 but is there anything more interesting in its future?

“Yes”, I say wholeheartedly.  In the background, we have a cunning plan to make Death by Game Show simpler, more casual friendly and far more accessible.  With limited bandwidth, we’re aiming to launch the first update around August.

Yet it’s the end of year update which will prove a potential game changer but our plans for that are super top secret.

Please follow us on Twitter, YouTube or add the game to your wishlist if it interests you. Also please check out our Steam Group for Death by Game Show.