Notes on Alphaland

Let me begin by saying that I’m extremely pleased with the positive response to Alphaland. As Verena can confirm, I’m always terribly nervous when a new game of mine is released, and this time was no exception. After the disappointment of You Shall Know The Truth, it’s encouraging to know that my games can still find an audience.

I have various things to say and link to, so here we go:

  • Alphaland was featured on
  • And of course reviewed by Jay is Games.
  • I must also mention the Gnome’s Lair review.
  • This parody made me laugh.
  • Another thing that really made me happy was Anna Anthropy writing about Alphaland. There’s certainly an element of REDDER in Alphaland.
  • For all those who have asked: yes, one of the game’s main inspirations are the secret worlds of Metroid, or more specifically of Metroid II.
  • I was also inspired by an early test for Nexus City that Terry showed me, in which the NPCs all wondered about what was going to happen to them when the actual game showed up.
  • Finally, Alphaland was also influenced by the games of Gregory Weir. I wanted to try telling a story with fewer textual elements, and Gregory’s games do that pretty admirably.
  • While I’m not really bothered by the negative reviews – not when so many people are really getting the game – I must admit that I do find some of them to be very strange. There’s this enormous hatred that people have for “art games” (a notion I don’t subscribe to in the first place), which makes them assume that all the content in the game is intentionally vague/cryptic pseudo-philosophical nonsense and that the plot is impossible to understand. But Alphaland is actually really straightforward. It’s possible to draw all sorts of parallels, of course (a number of people seem to be reading the game in religious terms, which is fine), but the main plot is really simple, and all the text is exactly what it claims to be. It doesn’t take that much interpretation, really.
  • There’s no significance to the backwards-spoken text. I just listened to that song and thought “yep, this is how it should sound.” It just felt right.
  • I cannot explain the ducks.

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