29 June, 2015

Game Chef Review 21: Over Agitation by PiHalbe

Over Agitation: A Role Casting Game

Ingredients: 5 [Dream (3), Stillness (2)]
This game blows away a lot of the conventions in the marking system, so bear with me. None of the ingredients seem particularly integrated n this game. Dream is certainly the strongest when it comes to the ritual phrase that starts a participants podcast episode. Stillness is mentioned as a 24 hour break between episodes to give participants a chance to reflect on what has occurred.

Theme: 8 [6 +1 bonus for non-English speaker designing in English, +1 bonus for branchng out to new possibly non-gamer spaces]
I'm giving this one a high score because it's such an interesting concept. Generally, it could be as mundane as many of the freeform games that I've indicated a dislike for, but there are some interesting ritual effects that bound the narrative as one participant takes over from the next. The game comes from weaving a story within these boundaries, and picking up the threads left by previous participants. It almost feels a bit like a loosely edited freeform "olde-timey" radio play...but I'll get to that shortly.

Would I play this?: 4
If I had a decent internet connection, a decent set of speakers and audio input for my computer, maybe. So I'm not judging this based on the technical limitations that would prevent me from playing it, instead I'm judging it on the fact that I'm generally pretty introverted and a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to putting things out for the world to consume. I don't participate in a lot of hangouts or podcasts for this very reason. Do I think there's a market for this game? Yes, it's just not me.

Completeness: 6
All of the necessary procedures are there, a play example is present (which also seems to kick off the game). It would have gotten more points if I could ave worked out what was going on with the " ...is special. If... then..." but I had to make a few logical leaps to get it, and just couldn't pin down specifics in the rules as presented.

Innovation: 9 [5 +2 Bonus for innovative presentation +2 bonus for a medium I hadn't considered]
I cant deny the innovation of gaming as a set of interconnected podcasts. Not just recording the sessions of an existing game, but making the podcasts themselves into the game. The closest I can think to games like this occurred many years ago when a group of people I knew had an audio cassette and told stories onto it before passing it along to the next person. They were telling a Cthulhu-esque story, with each investigator in turns learning a new piece of the puzzle while trying to learn what happened to the investigator before them. This is something different again.

Output Quality: 7 [Breakdown not really appropriate...see below]
I can't really comment on language, layout or imagery with regard to a podcast. I guess the major contributing factor is the language, which seems appropriate to a podcast (so it gets a 3), and average results (2pts each for virtual layout and imagery).

Overall: 63% Pass [15+16+4+12+9+7]
This is a very different game, hard to judge according to the marking rubric I've given. It seems like an interesting step in an odd direction, and like most of these early steps it feels like there is something uncertain and lacking confidence about it, that doesn't mean it's bad it just means that there is a lot of unexplored potential that might be opened up here. I'd like to see more games like this.
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