Not. Fair.

I just spent an hour building a “How to Help” page for this website, with a PayPal donation button and some suggestions about spreading the word a little… and now the god-damn button doesn’t work. And I don’t even know why. This used to be simple.

Sigh.

Makes it really tempting to give up on this idea. I’m uncomfortable with it anyway, and in all the years that I had a button up I got a total of three donations. But I keep thinking that if I could get the people who enjoy my games to help out a little – by donating, by writing to some of the websites that don’t even respond to my emails… I don’t know. I’m proud of some of this stuff – especially Museum and Desert Bridge. It’s frustrating to write to 15 websites that all write regularly about independent games and adventure games and to get something like 3 replies. After eight years of making games that are really quite different, that’s not very encouraging.

Anyway. Back to Phenomenon 32. (With my luck, this one will get all the players. And sure, it’s going to be cool, but it’s not going to touch people like Desert Bridge or Museum. Freak them out maybe, and touch them a little, but not like the others. I doubt it. This is a different experience. I think. We’ll see.)

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6 Comments

  1. For what it’s worth, Desert Bridge was a very good game. But I can see why many people didn’t give it the proper time of day.

    There are, as I see it, three important qualities to a work of art: Engagement, Attractiveness and Substance. The first two are necessary and unfortunate. And while Desert Bridge was a game with lots of genuine substance–ideas and emotions alike–I can see where it may not be insufficiently interesting to engage many potential players, and where it may be insufficiently attractive to retain some who try it. (Personally I thought the crayon graphics were charming, and looked past the slightly clunky interface)

    Now, this isn’t to say the game was done wrong. In fact, I think it does what it’s meant to quite effectively. The occasional individual who is apt to take an interest in the oddity and stay with it as it develops finds the meaning within the work. However, I think the tastes to which the game caters are rather uncommon.

  2. (Clunky? Actually, quite a lot of people really liked the interface. Including myself, obviously.)

    The thing is this – every time there’s been a review published, there has been a large amount of people who really enjoyed the game. This is especially true of Jay Is Games, where reader reactions to both The Museum of Broken Memories and Desert Bridge were very, very positive. But one thing all these people had in common is that they would never have heard of my games without the reviews.

    Now granted, the “traditional” adventure gaming audience isn’t very big on my games, mostly because they have an incredibly rigid idea of what an adventure game ought to be. But even there are plenty of people who enjoy my games – if they hear about them.

    So, given all of that, I find it incredibly frustrating and hard to understand that most websites, which are perfectly willing to write about games whose only feature is that they’re odd or experimental (mostly in a totally shitty way, as in The Graveyard), aren’t even willing to reply to my emails.

  3. The interface thing was about the fact that it used OS buttons instead of graphic ones. That’s a personal quibble–don’t take it the wrong way.

    I’ll have to try Museum. Long ago, I played “The Infinite Ocean”, and only recently realized it was your work. I’ll have to play it again, too.

    As far as getting more exposure, I guess you ought to keep doing what you’re doing now. It’s not easy. You’ve got a game with more mainstream appeal in the works–that might help attract attention to your more unusual projects.

    As I said, a thoughtful game, unfortunately, won’t attract a lot of attention on its own. It’s not fair, really. And I don’t mean to imply Desert Bridge was poorly done from a technical standpoint either. Rather, it’s very unique in its style, and its effect on the expectations of players and prospective players is therefore quite different.

  4. Using those buttons was very much an intentional choice – to echo the look of many old shareware adventures. It’s the only game of mine that has anything of the sort.

    I do understand what you mean about the games being unusual, but what drives me insane is that there are more than enough games that are “experimental” that get plenty of publicity, even when they are total shit. What are these people doing that is that different?

  5. Murray

     /  March 21, 2009

    People don’t like what’s new, even if its better. Desert Bridge, more than any other (2) of your games I have played so far is by far the most none-mainstream. The idea of taking a ‘step backwards’ in graphics for a step forwards in everything else is unfortunately beyond many people.

  6. Well, kind of point and click adventure games usually only one-time-to-play and so they are not in the mainstream. I only see few point and click games that success and they also supported by sequels. :/