It was quite the slow year for Polygons and Pixels in 2016. I only published 4 articles total. This has been my slowest blog since I created it, but it’s still surprising.
Besides the homepage, the top articles include topics such as Castle Doombad, World of Goo for Android, “bob’s game,” Lifeline, and Papers, Please. I got more visits from the US by far, but following the US are Brazil, UK, Germany, and France. Thanks!
Here are the views by year:
2012: 593 views, 91 visitors (blog started in June)
2013: 6,858 views, 3,933 visitors
2014: 7,891 views, 5,010 visitors
2015: 4,029 views, 3,106 visitors
2016: 2,251 views, 1,690 visitors
I didn’t do much serious gaming in 2016. I played a lot of Hearthstone, Overwatch, and some World of Warcraft: Legion. I tried Lifeline 2 and was disappointed. The only console game I played was BattleBlock Theater, which I finally beat. I also played a couple storylines of Hatoful Boyfriend after my friend, Tram, suggested it. I played a ton of Sailor Moon Drop, Dragon Mania Legends, and Pokemon Go. Super Mario Maker got a little playtime (and blog posts) as well. KOMRAD finally was released for iOS, and I played that. If you count party games, Jackbox got a lot of play. In December, I started playing Ingress at the suggestion of my friend Chuck. Finally, I downloaded Super Mario Run and tried to resist paying for the full game. I lasted two days.
Lifeline is a piece of interactive fiction released on iPhone and Apple Watch recently by 3 Minute Games. It’s told entirely through incoming text messages from Taylor, an astronaut who crashes on a far away moon. You shape Taylor’s survival by choosing one of two replies whenever he or she (the game doesn’t specify) asks you a question. It tells a intriguing story through a very interesting method.
Sometimes Taylor just wants to chat, but other times Taylor asks something more important. Once I was asked if a certain amount of radiation was safe. Taylor asked me to look it up. I did, and I gave my answer, helping Taylor to survive that night. Other times the choices are less significant. Taylor nervously jokes like a real person might, even acknowledging the absurdity, and sometimes just asks which way you think he or she should walk.
It takes Taylor real time to do things too, which helps makes the game feel like Taylor’s someone with whom you’re actually communicating. If Taylor says it’ll take an hour to walk somewhere, you’ll have to wait an hour to hear what happens. This isn’t like those terrible Facebook games that make you pay to boost through an artificial delay; these delays add to the story. In addition, there’s no in-app purchases, DLC, ads, or anything else unsavory. You simply buy the game for $2.99 and enjoy it.
In addition to touching a notification to jump into the game, you can also choose a reply directly from the notifications and even from the lock screen. This isn’t always perfect, because if you missed a lot of messages from Taylor, only the most recent handful will be displayed. Your choices can sometimes be cut off too, but it’s still pretty neat to be able to do that. You can start there and if you need to click through, click through.
As a fan of both interaction fiction and sci-fi, this was pretty perfect for me. The story was more interesting than I expected as well. It was $2.99 well spent.