28 June, 2015

Game Chef Review 19: Forgotten Dreams by Philip Beverly

Forgotten Dreams

Ingredients: 7 [Dream (4), Abandon (3)]
The game is centered around dreams, memories and nightmares, so it's hardly surprising that this would get decent marks. The characters have been abandoned in this realm and must find a way t return to our world, but this doesn't feel as strong as the dream ingredient. All in all though, it's a pretty decent integration of these concepts into a game.  

Theme: 6
The idea of luring people to roleplaying through visual arts rather than dramatic arts is a reasonable interpretation of the "different audience" criteria. It's actually one of the things that I really appreciate here, if only other elements of the execution hadn't let it down.  

Would I play this?: 4
The whole games feels too arbitrary to me. I appreciate the concept that roleplaying is a shared imagination space, where everyone contributes to the unfolding narrative, but I was never particularly fond of having my visual artistry sullied by the work of other individuals. It's just a pet irk, and a reason why I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to play this.

Completeness: 4
I'm really not sure that there is enough here to constitute a complete game. At the very least, this game could really do with a lot more examples and clarifying text. Certain elements of it are just confusing and I'm sure that I'm missing something when I read it.

Innovation: 5
Boiling down the mechanisms of the game, there seems to generally be a 50/50 chance that a memory will improve with a vagary element or degrade with a nightmare element attached to it. Then it's a case of choosing the best of the available memories to confront a nightmare to return to the real world. I'm not sure I've gotten this right, I've read through it three times and it still seems a bit confusing. If I'm right, it's all a bit arbitrary, but then again so was the Dadaist artworks which first inspired the concept of multiple artists contributing to the same artwork. So, there's innovation, but it follows an innovative path over 80 years old. I do like the idea of using illustration as a mechanism though.

Output Quality: 3 [Language (3), Layout (0), Imagery (0)]
I could have shifted the Language to 2 and the Layout to 1, but either way it's hard to read and acquire the relevant game data through the reading of this text. Maybe it's the monospaced font, the lack of decent titling and sectioning of the text (yes, the game text is divided into sections, but it's all just one wall of monospaced text...which seems a really odd choice for a game that is meant to be predominantly visual. Similary, imagery has to get a zero.

Overall: 53% Pass [21+12+4+8+5+2]
It's a clever idea, and it's different, but is it clever enough or different enough. I'm not sure, and as I've admitted, even though it's a very visual game and I'm a very visual thinker, it doesn't mesh with my sensibilities.
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