02 July, 2015

Game Chef Review 28: Dragonfly by Steve Dee

Steve Dee favourably reviewed my game (and he's now a Sydney local), but I'll try to be impartial here.

Dragonfly (or visit the live site here)

Ingredients: 7 [Dream (4), Dragonfly (3)]
The dream ingredient is quite strong, and the way dreams are made up of fragmentary images is captured in the way the game uses twitter as it's core mechanism of play. The dragonfly ingredient isn't as strongly ties into the design, but I like the way that the dragonfly analogy is used "to avoid and conflict with religious or spiritual concerns", it's a clever way to play with "technoshamanism".

Theme: 7 [6 +1 bonus for addressing the theme and associated issues]
This is one of the few games I've read so far that actually uses the theme of a different audience in an innovative manner. It's not entirely new, but it's new enough that it's fresh an interesting. The game is designed to be played on Twitter, and since Twitter (by it's nature) is global then the potential audience is also global. The audience also doesn't have to be physically present. The logistics of this (and the potential issues the might possibly arise) are addressed by the designer and this is a refreshing addition to something that might otherwise be quite freeform and unmanageable.
Would I play this?: 4
I don't have a Twitter account, nor do I intend to get one just to play this, but there is a suggestion that the game might be playable through other means....and this is tempting to explore.

Completeness: 7
Everything is here for playing the game, despite it's short length. I'd have probably liked a bit more depth in the play examples (like perhaps a full story), but I'm sure if we get a few players lured to the live website, a few full stories will emerge. I don't think that's really something the designer can directly do anything about, it will just grow organically (if it catches on).

Innovation: 8 (6 +2 Bonus for using a medium I haven't seen used in games)
I've seen Twitter used as a medium for discussing games, but I haven't specifically seen Twitter communication used as the core of the game itself. Maybe this has been done before (and since I'm not a user of the platform, I can't be certain) but it seems new and intriguing. The only way it would be newer would be if a specific social network were developed purely for the playing of this game, but that's certainly something that can't be achieved in 9 days.

Output Quality: 7 [Language (3), Layout (2), Imagery (2), +1 Bonus for the overall package]
The language is clear, coherent and concise. The layout is decent, and follows the typical conventions I've been seeing through the better entries of the contest. but nothing particularly memorable or spectacular. The imagery gets a bonus for the design of the live website beyond the mere images in the rule document.

Overall: 68% Credit [21+14+4+14+8+7]
I like it, there are some clever ideas here. If it weren't twitter based, I'd probably give it a go, but as I said, it can be played through other means. I'd be very tempted to give it a try through one of the social networks I do frequent, perhaps make a Facebook message group, or a private community on G+. I honestly don't know how I'd go about "improving" this, because many of the ideas contained in it are external entities (such as the social network).
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