Continuing my thoughts on Purple Cow and making remarkable games...
The first time somebody does something ridiculous it's remarkable. That remarkability may help make them wildly succesful - the thing that made them remarkable may also just be a good idea. The problem is then when I look at that, and say, "Hey, if they can do it, so can I!"
But when I do it, it's not remarkable any more. Not just because it's already been done, but because a lot of other peopel jump in the same boat with me.
Here's a list of things in games that were remarkable once but aren't remarkable anymore:
- cel shading
- bumpy shiny surfaces
- 2D (Before Braid and World of Goo, going back to 2D when it seemed everything was 3D was deemed crazy! It was like making a black-and-white movie.)
- vector art
- free to play
- pixel art (sorry. I love pixel art. but there it is.)
- black-and-white with silhouette characters
- open source
Don't get me wrong, these things may all still be good ideas (Energy Hook is cel shaded and on Kickstarter because it's what we like) but they're not going to make a computer game stand out from the crowd.
What sorts of things might still be remarkable?
Art styles we've never or rarely seen before. Like the woodcut style art from Incredipede.
Bringing back looks and game genres that people think of as dead - though now that we've mined pixel art, vector graphics, adventure games, etc, I don't know if there are any left...
Going against trends. Some journalists were stoked that Field Runner 2 didn't have in app purchases, for example.
What if ... someone intentionally made a game that wasn't fun? That would be pretty remarkable.
Enter I Get This Call Every Day. Fun is not the point. It's art, yo. Chris Crawford once said something along these lines: Why do games have to be fun? Movies and books don't have to be fun - if they did have to be fun, a lot of the great movies and books would never have been made.
Instead of being fun, IGTCED immerses you in an experience. Borges once wrote a short story about torture where his unstructured prose was intended to make the reader feel tortured - the reader is immersed. Surely games are a better medium for such an endeavor - so we have the autobiographical I Get This Call Every Day, where the game is answering telephones and dealing with a particularly frustrating call. As an example of how it makes you feel David Galant's pain, in almost any other game, it would make sense to allow the player to skip the dialog. In IGTCED, that wouldn't make sense at all - the player has to experience the full torture, wait it out. There are other ways in which IGTCED makes you feel tortured, but I won't spoil it for you.
You might ask, "Why should I play it?" For the same reason you should watch Death of a Salesman or read Hamlet - tragedy gives catharsis. You'll be really glad you don't have a job answering phones, and that feeling will stay with you.