Our Game Design professor is gone for class on Wednesday, so we have a guest lecturer: The lead designer for A Tale in the Desert. As homework, we were supposed to play the game for at least 20 minutes so we could get an idea of the game for a discussion on Wednesday.
It took me less than 20 minutes to become utterly frustrated with the game. All sorts of messages were referring to actions to do in “the menu” – but I couldn’t find the menu! The natural choice would be to ask other players for help (since it is a MMO, or Massively Multi-player Online, game), but as you can see in this image, the “Island Chat” (your only means of talking to people without having to track them down) is something that you can close (note the big X on the Island Chat tab).
So I closed it. And I was cut off. How do you get it back? Upon finding a “mentor,” I learned that I had to return to the top of the mountain to get it. It took me 30 minutes to find my way off the mountain in the first place. Go back? Sure thing.
The early premise of the game is that I need to be a good citizen. I do this by collecting materials to make stuff, which I then use to build other stuff. If I do enough of this “work,” I’m a good “citizen,” and I get “rewards.” Funny thing – that’s an awful lot like real life. Funny thing #2 – I play video games to escape just that. So for some reason I feel like I won’t be rushing to this game next time I need an escape.
Now, I don’t blame this entirely on the game – some of the stuff is difficult to find or figure out. So I end up feeling like the failure. That’s probably the big turn off of this game. In the mean time, exploring with Jenn sure was fun.