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1  Creation / Notgames design / Beyond Ambience on: January 06, 2013, 03:34:25 AM
I've noticed that a big trend in not-games is ambience:

You're sometimes greeted with a message suggesting for you to wear headphones, the music is soft, mostly consisting of tones and relaxing melodies. Why is this so common? It seems to me that the default focus of a notgame is relaxation in some form. Even if that isn't the intent of the author, the lack of threat usually presented by gameplay in something like Super Mario Bros is also absent in the game's music and visuals. How can we go beyond that without 'gameplay'?

A major goal of one of my current projects is to explore the inverse of that; instead of being told to wear headphones, it's recommended that you play the game at high volume of speakers, the music and visuals are loud, abrasive, and aggressive, and the player should feel the farthest thing from relaxed while playing it. However, in trying to maintain the game's aggressive energy, it seemed incredibly unnatural to reject things like player death or enemies.

So is aggression like this even possible in not-games? In a game with no end-goal or negative reinforcements, relaxation seems like a natural outcome -- in much the same way we would feel relaxed while not being menaced by bills or knife wielding bandits. But if, instead of the game having a passive relationship with the player, I want the game to grab the player by the throat shake them -- how could I do that? Could I do that?

There are definitely examples of games that build tension or fear, such as Yeti Hunter or even Slender, but they still create these responses via ambience. The game maintains a passive distance to its player, but never gets in its player's face and screams at them in the way some supergames do.

I'd love to hear any examples of games that you guys think do accomplish this, if it's possible, or how.
2  General / Introductions / hola on: January 06, 2013, 02:54:20 AM
Hey gang,

My name is Zak, but most people know me as mooosh. I live in Austin, Texas, I am an artist and I make games, most of which you can find here:

I discovered this website while searching for idea-growing resources for one of my current projects. After lurking for quite a while, I figured I may as well start participating in the conversation here; even if I only ever make the one not-game that I'm working on currently, this seems like a good place for serious discussion about games as an expressive medium.

Right now I'm working on 3 games, one of which is called Catering to Birds which I plan to release very soon. It's about a man who believes that he is a bird so he decides to become one.
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