[Group Play 3] Quine

A weekly event where a random games is played and discussed.
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Auro-Cyanide
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[Group Play 3] Quine

#1 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:39 am

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Group Play is a weekly event in which one game is selected to be promoted within the forums to be played by us as a group. It provides an opportunity to promote some smaller games that would otherwise get lost, promote discussion and promote creativity. This isn't just about the creators of the games, but also us as a community. It acts as a way for us to analyse work as creative people and for us to develop the necessary critical language to develop and pursue our work.

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This week's game is "Quine" by Kikered!

You can find links to the game here: Quine

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There are some rules to follow in the following discussion about the game.

- In your primary comment on the game, please try to mention one thing you liked and one thing you think could be improved. This is in the spirit of giving both encouraging and helpful comments to the creators. You may of course go beyond this with praise or critique. I can't enforce this rule, I'll just silently judge you.

- Please try to do one play-through or enough of the game to develop a solid opinion. Some things can be commented on early on, but things like plot might be best left until you finish the game.

- There is no rule as to whether you post here only or in the completed game topic. Feel free to do as you like. This is just a space to discuss this game while playing it at the same time as others.

- Please try to think about the game play as a whole, as well as the different parts that make up the game.

- Please be respectful to the game and creator. You don't have to like a game, but you should be respectful to the effort.

- Please follow the forum rules.

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If you would like to make your own suggestions and haven't already, please feel free to PM them to me.

These are the current guidelines for suggestions:

- Anyone can send me 3 games (VN, KN Sim, whatever, just from these forums or related to) that they think are worth playing by PM.
- There can only be three suggestions per person and if a game gets suggested multiple times, they still only get one draw.
- You may suggest your own games.
- For now they must not be 18+, just because we want to encourage everyone to join first up. If it goes well, maybe something can be arranged for the big kids.
- Please try to make sure the game is short (around a max of 30,000 words). It isn't a hard and fast rule, but it's easier to make time for smaller games and it will give this a greater chance of success.
- They must be free and preferably available on all 3 platforms, again for easy access.

And with that, let the games begin!

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Re: [Group Play 3] Quine

#2 Post by AxemRed » Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:57 am

Quine :: 5 things that are required to make a visual novel:
  • Engine
  • Script
  • Character Art
  • Background Art
  • Leadership
Music is conspicuously missing from this list... and from the VN as well.

Making almost everything grayscale makes the VN look dull, and the combination of grayscale + very heavy filtering makes the background transitions look weird. Why is the textbox image filtered?

A story about someone making a visual novel could make some interesting observations about VN creators, but this seems more aimed at those who've never heard of VNs.

Solangel doesn't feel like a real person, I'm not sure how much of that was intentional.

Why does the main character say itadakimasu before eating?

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Re: [Group Play 3] Quine

#3 Post by Anarchy » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:30 am

itadakimasu
A Japanese cultural norm.

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Re: [Group Play 3] Quine

#4 Post by Egressus » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:37 am

Anarchy wrote:
itadakimasu
A Japanese cultural norm.
More Japanese norm?

Umm... /braces self

I think I'll need to wait until I come back home later.
I don't have anything against Japanese culture, but y'know, sometimes the MC is foreign (Leon Humphrey!) and they just sound like weaboo when saying Japanese words.

But then again this is a game from 2006.
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Re: [Group Play 3] Quine

#5 Post by Arelune » Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:52 am

Egressus wrote:sometimes the MC is foreign (Leon Humphrey!) and they just sound like weaboo when saying Japanese words.
I think he is in this case. Though not one of the worst ones. :) Might also explain why everyone's so wary of him.

As someone already said, no music again. :/
The story was okay. The writing wasn't that bad. Actually laughed some times.
A different filter for the background might have been better. This one doesn't look good.

What was actually the point of the waitress? I've got three endings, and I think those are all of them, but nothing gets explained about her.

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Re: [Group Play 3] Quine

#6 Post by SusanTheCat » Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:02 pm

Visually, this VN is very very grey. I have an issue with the art style of the sprites. (This is a personal thing.) I liked that there were several poses and even changes of clothing.

The writing left me hot and cold. I kept wanting to yell "GET ON WITH IT" to the screen. There were so many extraneous details. Was it really that important that we stare at the door? Maybe it was supposed to be, but that wasn't developed. There were some lovely nuggets of ideas but they were being buried under tons of slag.

Editing would be good. It felt like it was written by stream of consciousness and it was never trimmed back. ("Slaughter your darlings!" Stephen King)

Waitress:
I think the waitress was there to point out the other-worldliness of the girl.
I give it a 3 out of 5. It has potential, but there is too much for me to wade through.


Video of me playing first ten minutes: http://youtu.be/ff7xXoqc7UQ

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Re: [Group Play 3] Quine

#7 Post by Egressus » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:36 am

Haha, reading the summer days reminds me of my summers back in Arab: served hot and dry. Sadly, Leon, your hot day ain't nothing compared to the desert. (Not that they're all desert.)
"Fukaeda, Kikumi."
"I've never seen you around before. Are you from out of town?"
facepalm


[ + ]
The writing is okay, though, as I only raise my eyebrow several times, but not due to the style. I'm just wondering if Leon is going overboard with describing a girl he just met like that. why inappropriate exclamation marks...
Other than that, it does its job.

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Re: [Group Play 3] Quine

#8 Post by Argeus_the_Paladin » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:11 am

Apart from the others' comments on the technical aspect of this work, there is one thing I have to say...

This game is scary. And not in the horror sense.
It is basically everything that is wrong about a weaboo/American otaku rolled into one package, played awfully true to the stereotype. The main character is an American/Englishman (1) who lives an isolated life with no friend of either gender to speak of (2). He is awfully socially awkward, is incredibly unfit (3), eats nothing but TV dinners and fast food (4), and understandably is considered to be that one person a decent person would want nothing to do with (5). His only social outlet is via anime, manga and games, and starting from the time the game starts, writing his own game. And yet despite his real life's many problems, where does his priority lie? Making up a believable character for his visual novel.

This guy is essentially Chris-chan or other internet-famous Forever Aloners so constantly mocked and ridiculed, maybe sans the love questing. But only because he has a strange girl falling literally into his arms, as discussed above. This is the very kind of social cancer that Something Awful exists to mock. What is scary is that this social cancer is portrayed as a positive thing. No satire, no criticism, nothing. Instead the whole story is more or less a wish-fulfilment device, showing (unrealistically) how such a loser actually scored (in a sense) with a girl who actually thought he was the nicest person on earth.

Unless, of course, this over-the-top clichedness has broken my sarcasm meter so badly that I failed to realize it was actually criticizing the stereotype rather than promoting it.


(1): Implied from his name. "Humphrey" sounds more Brit than American to my ears, though.
(2):
Implied from the fact that there was no mention of his other friends whatsoever throughout the whole story, which, depending on your route, can take up to ten days.
(3):
Implied from the lack of resilience to both heat and cold. Like Egressus said, he's seen no true heat yet.
(4): Shown painfully explicitly.
(5):
Implied from how the mother of a classmate of his actually ignored him while he has a fainted girl literally in his arms.
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Re: [Group Play 3] Quine

#9 Post by DrakeNavarone » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:02 pm

Quine is an anthem.

In the infancy of the EVN development scene, a short and charming title called Quine was released during one of the busiest months for EVN production the community had seen to date. It served as an encouraging message to the developers battling through the gauntlet that is NaNoRenO. But more than that, it was a call-to-arms for all future developers to grab their keyboards, put their heads down, and create! A call anyone can answer. A call everyone is encouraged to answer. Quine itself, both in its body and in the author notes, gives you tools to use. It freely offers us its help, its advice, its opinions... and it asks of all of us as it did its own hero, Leon, to make what you want to see in this world.

I would answer that call for the first time a full year after reading Quine. Yes, there were efforts made before reading Quine, as there would be well after, but none had come to fruition. I can't claim that Quine was the biggest source of inspiration for my first title, or even a major one. But I took very important things away from my experience with Quine and put them to use during my first project. The biggest thing about Quine that stood out to me was just how much it charmed me. The plot is no grand epic or a deeply introspective work. The art is definitely scrappy. The silence that runs throughout never manages to enhance the mood as music tracks would. It certainly doesn't score high, where production values are concerned.

But it has an essence in it that most of the EVN stories I've read are missing, and that's in its pure charm. Leon possesses a youthful innocence and naivety that colors every word in the narrative. These traits might manifest in sometimes awkward fashions -- his unsociability and his nerdiness -- but these are symptoms of a deeper purity that makes him, at times, adorable. These were traits I had to have in my own hero. I needed to paint his world with the same colors, to have even a weak resemblance to the charm I found in Quine. And while I truly wished all of my projects would feature the same charm in the same amounts, I believe only my first approaches the charm I found in Quine.

My first is not the only of my games that was colored and shaped by Quine, however. The message I derived from Quine's VN-making subplot is one that I kept close to heart working on my other endeavors: never stop moving. It's a lesson I have to constantly remind myself of. A lesson I sometimes willfully push aside when things get too tough, even though I know better. Even after a few years and a few games, it is something I have to keep telling myself. The lesson never completely sticks, never grafts itself to my core, as big a part of me as this lesson truly is.

Each new game is a trial. I must pay a due of sweat and blood to triumph, every time. It hasn't gotten any easier for me. But I know -- even though sometimes I wish I didn't, so I wouldn't be plagued with the guilt and dissatisfaction that comes with not creating -- I know if I keep moving, I'll reach the end eventually. The pace is not important. One step at a time or three. Or even two forward and one back. As long as I keep making steps, I will finish, just as Leon promised he would do, in the epilogue he shared with me. It's a hard fight, and for me, it'll never be easier. But if Leon can get there, if I've gotten there before --- then I can get there again, and again, and again. So I just have to keep reminding myself to never stop moving.

Maybe I'm just reading too much into what seems to be a simple story. I don't necessarily disagree. It probably helps none that I know the author personally. There's no doubt that it further colors my impression of the game for the better. In fact, I've drawn more out of my re-read this week than I did my first time through. I've come to understand why I find it so charming and where that charm originates from, and in turn, I've found even more charm hiding in its nooks.

Maybe the message it preaches no longer needs this soapbox called Quine. It could be a relic of an older time, where EVNs were scarce and the community was hungry. There is no longer a shortage of finished game to read or works-in-progress to follow, and that is a good thing. After all, that's what Quine wanted. The call-to-arms has been answered beyond its expectations. It doesn't matter if Quine's message wasn't heard first-hand. The message got out. That's what counts.

But for me, Quine is still very special. For me, it is very necessary. Others might not see what I do, but that matters little to me. Maybe what I see isn't really there, but that matters little to me. My personal takeaway from this story means more than the words and images that compose the story. It is sometimes -- no, scratch that -- throughout a fairly ridiculous tale, when you really think about it. But I have internalized this story in a way I can't say I have for any other EVN. It asked something of me, as all art aspires to --- about my drive and work ethic, which is something I call to question every day.

Yes, I'll concede. I am reading too much into this story. But this story has also read too much into me. And because of this reciprocal nature, we'll likely be stuck with each other for a long time. I welcome its company, though. The message it gave me is one that, while I might not always heed it, has become something of a battle cry for me during my charge through the trials of creativity.

Quine is my personal anthem.



[ As a criticism, to be a fair part of this GP thread, where the hell is the music? The irony that the author of this piece would later create the music tracks for my own NaNoRenO murder mystery project is certainly not lost on me. If you didn't wanna make it, you shoulda found some free-to-use tracks somewhere. You've no excuses in the future! ]
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Re: [Group Play 3] Quine

#10 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:37 pm

I couldn't get this to work on my Mac and I don't know why :/

I'm under the impression that this game might be a bit of a time capsule for the EVN community, since it's based around many of the concepts to do with the creation of VNs from right at the beginning rather than purely being just a story. This makes me curious to find out some more since I've only been around for 2 years and the community has obviously changed a lot since then. It's changed a fair bit since I've been here. Sooo, I'll have to figure out how to work it to satisfy my curiosity.

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Re: [Group Play 3] Quine

#11 Post by Funnyguts » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:44 pm

Auro: I couldn't get it to work in Ubuntu either. I think the game is so old, Ren'Py didn't really support non-Windows OSes that much.
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Re: [Group Play 3] Quine

#12 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:20 am

Funnyguts wrote:Auro: I couldn't get it to work in Ubuntu either. I think the game is so old, Ren'Py didn't really support non-Windows OSes that much.
Ah, I see. I might have to just try reading through some of the script then.

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