A while ago I tweeted about the browser game Loved. I said it felt like being challenged by a thirteen-year-old, and isn't nearly as clever as it thinks it is.
Having only just played Loved I was in the mood to be snarky and defensive. It seemed like the game's creator was getting off on making me dance to his tune. I felt dirty and tried to rebel, which only made things worse.
It's worth noting that this isn't quite a criticism. It's a game that set out to prompt a reaction, and clearly it worked on me. Maybe a little too well.
Alexander Ocias interviews quite well, though having a face to put to the name creeps me out a little given how I reacted to his game. Nice to see a small-time Aussie developer getting so much coverage though.
I do agree with Ocias about hand-holding and huge tutorials in a lot of recent games. The number of manuals and tutorials in Mario Galaxy 2 is beyond ridiculous. Perhaps the Mario team think I have zero intelligence? I guess I am fairly used to that, though Galaxy 2 took it to new extremes. Loved, on the other hand, seemed to question my willpower and identity. That's a new experience and it wasn't at all comfortable.
I am clearly demonstrating here that dismissing something may just mean it got to me, and I don't want to be further defeated by admitting it. Normally I pride myself on being quite open and honest in my game writing, even if that's just a quick tweet. I'll happily admit when something scared me or became too difficult. But my identity is something I will never, ever concede.
It took a little space after playing Loved not to feel so threatened by it. Violated, even. So, I dismissed it and forgot about it, until I saw that GameSetWatch interview. I feel silly about it now, because I clearly took it far too seriously. It's embarrassing to admit to just how disturbing my gut reaction was. I'm an independent sort of person and rarely let anyone tell me who I am or what I should do.
Perhaps the worrying thing was actually being forced to question that certainty about my individuality and choices. After all, there is always some illusion to being free and unique. I am shaped and influenced by all kinds of things. I don't enjoy reflecting on the idea that I'm the creation of others instead of entirely my own person.
No other game has ever done that to me, so I both condemn and salute Loved for that.