The Dink Network

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

And that's just the beginning of his name!
November 24th, 2009
Original
Score : 0.1 horrible
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Arik
Peasant Male
 
I was actually reminded of this D-Mod recently by a playthrough of the indie game Dungeon, which I'd recommend googling and trying out if you haven't already. This was a short game with a clever premise - the game would, randomly, be slightly different on different people's machines. This created a fun reaction on internet boards discussing the game, as people weren't aware that each game was slightly different; for example you would have some people (accurately) complaining that the first jump was impossible while other players (still accurately) saying that they managed the jump first time but couldn't get past the area with the spikes, etc etc. Their reactions to each other were funny and a little bit telling, and the slow realisation that they were not playing the same game felt like that was the game's true completion.

The reason that this reminded me of ABCDEF is that its stated goals were similar to what Dungeon achieved - an intentionally bad game that would start an online debate that would, in terms of the game's art, be an extension of the game itself. Is there merit in this? It's not like there aren't other games that rely on the player's reaction for their artistic worth, such as the game of Mario with all the platforms and enemies stripped out, save for a single block at the player's start point (the name escapes me, sadly). I think there's something clever and unique in the use of a player's reaction to a game as part of the game's artistic statement.

The problem is that ABCDEF is not big or clever. It offers literally no user interaction beyond the title screen; there is no room for anyone to express themselves through the game. This is not a game that generates discourse; it's a game that generates criticism. The user's reaction to the game is defined by the message board (and the review system!), not by the game itself - any artistic credibility is due to the forum itself.

It would be interesting to see if a module could generate an interesting player response through the gameplay; this isn't it though. It's just bad.