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Friday, March 21, 2014

Choice: Texas, A Very Serious Game With Serious Complications

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - If they went to their favourite doctors to fix the complications, the project would be aborted.

Do you remember when I posted that article about Choice: Texas? Well, who cares when I posted it, but I actually wrote it many months before that publishing date. The point is, (as usual) I wrote some very perceptive things in that article. Let's take a look at how Choice: Texas is doing now.

According to this February 27 post from Choice: Texas,
"On a less positive note, our initial web designer fell through, so we are facing some delays in production. We are currently working to find  new team member, and we’ll have the game up and running as soon as we can."
Recall what they claimed on their Indiegogo page:
"We will have a working prototype of the game prepared by the conference dates in late September, and look forward to completing the game by February 2014."
Well, that passed already! Woops! It gets a bit worse than just a minor delay, though. Delays happen to the best of us, anyway. No, it's more their hubris that I'm here to bash.

I wrote in the first KoopaTV article about Choice: Texas exactly why I think Allyson Whipple and Carly Kocurek are in way over their heads on this, but I'll quote myself quoting them because I like the look of my own writing:
"The campaign also promises,

"We are billing Choice: Texas as “a very serious game,” and we mean that. While the game is intended to be engaging, the issues it addresses are very serious. [...] Both Allyson and Carly have a long track record of successful creative projects, ranging from poetry chapbooks to blog posts, to conferences, websites, and public programs. We know we can complete this project."
Hey, ladies. As someone who is both a blog poster and a game developer, I can tell y'all with high confidence that the project management process for something like KoopaTV and something like Trayvon Tyson's Punch-Out!! (have you played it yet? It's FREE!) are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT."
I even plug for Trayvon Tyson's Punch-Out!!. Classic Ludwig writing right there. Anyway, Allyson and Carly thought that the project management process was the same, and now it's past February 2014 and still no game. But please don't shout; your perks have been sent out!

If the choice is whether or not to donate to your campaign, I trust that she wouldn't. How the hell is this a perk? You want to get this shit in the mail?

Well, whatever. In exchange for the game being delayed past its release date, we've gotten our FIRST TRAILER EVER FOR THE GAME! You know, after the game was supposed to come out. Which means we would never have gotten anything before. Which is okay if you're not taking other people's money for it, but... that's not the case here. Let's watch it together.

Just as a note, ratings and comments have been disabled on the following trailer. Also, the description to that video and the blog post it came from are riddled with typos. Take that as you will:

So... um... there was no game footage or anything involved there. And it's the first (and only) game trailer. It was just a bunch of women in black and white film with music. Why couldn't they make that trailer before the game was funded, exactly? That's when you make trailers with no game footage to try and hype people up for funding something. You have no game, so you use alternate methods of getting your point across. Now the game supposedly exists because it's shown as cultural conferences (for release to the rest of us uncultured folk in Spring 2014), but still no footage. Perhaps Allyson and Carly took your money and spent it all on the perks? They now claim:
"The game is set for release as a free-to-play web game. It is a collaborative development project by game studies scholar and historian Carly Kocurek and writer an activist Allyson Whipple, and it features original illustrations by artist Grace Jennings."
Beforehand on Indiegogo during the funding stage, their qualifications were:
"Allyson Whipple (writer, editor, and poet) and Carly Kocurek (writer and cultural historian)[.]"
Allyson is no longer an editor, which may explain the atrocious typos all over that page. Ms. Kocurek is now a "game studies scholar". I have no idea what is involved to become that, and perhaps becoming THAT is where the Indiegogo funds went.

So. Do you trust Ms. Whipple and Ms. Kocurek to make a choice? Make the actual game (and make it well)? Or... splurge the money on shitty perks and become "game studies scholars"? I trust that they'll make a choice. I don't trust that they made the right choice.

Don't forget, I'm still going to review the game whenever it comes out. In whatever form it does.

If it does.

Speaking of what's right, Ludwig is a right-wing extremist. His opposition to this project is not entirely based on ideology but partially based on game design principles.

The game is finally released to the public. Check it out.
But after that, it's been in limbo.
The game is now fully playable as of the end of 2014.
Ludwig ended up reviewing the game after it came out!

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