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The Designer’s Dilemma: Give Me Liberty!


In honor of Independence Day, I’m posting my latest game, in its own way a rumination on the nature of life, liberty and freedom of speech in the 21st century. This is basically what I wish I could’ve finished in time for my thesis, and while there’s still a few typos and errors here and there in the text that I’ll be fixing as I go along, I can honestly say that this is a game I stand by (even if it is a work-in-progress until I decide otherwise).

Click the picture to open the game. For the uninitiated, here’s the essentials– press the arrow-keys to choose phrases, press the spacebar to speak, and press the enter-key to cancel your phrases and choose something else, or move to the next screen of text. Up says Yes, Down says No, Left asks a Question and Right gives an Answer. Whatever you do, don’t run out of light-bulbs.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Until next time, pleasant dreamers, be thankful that the founding fathers managed to establish at least one semi-regular three-day weekend…


  1. Frank wrote:

    The interface desperately needs work. Also, I couldn’t figure out how to tell my lawyer who was interrogating me. Am I missing something?

    Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 4:44 am | Permalink
  2. Bob wrote:

    Well, considering the fact that the lawyer flat out tells you which button to press, and keeps doing so throughout the entire conversation, I would say yes. Yes, you are.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 5:51 pm | Permalink
  3. Frank wrote:

    Yeah, I eventually figured it out. Thanks so much for your help.

    Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 6:46 am | Permalink
  4. Bob wrote:


    Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 7:53 pm | Permalink
  5. Charles Joseph wrote:

    Bob, I still think that you’re strongest game was the one with the guy trying to pick up the girl. It had a lot of things that this game is missing. The interface was simple: just press one of the arrow keys; it had a clear goal: I want to learn a certain bit of information, ie. ‘when’ or ‘where’; and the girl had a recognizable pattern, like a Mega Man boss (though I don’t remember the pattern spceifically).

    This game seems to have a lot of unnecessary elements. If I hadn’t seen your thesis presetation I wouldn’t know the difference between a ‘closed question’ or an ‘open question’, the game doesn’t explain this to me at all. Also, hitting the spacebar for every decision is cumbersome and delays the kind of feedback that might help me figure out what effect my decisions were having.

    My advice in the short term, beyond these larger game design critiques, is to add a detailed instruction screen or screens. Everyone I’ve showed this to has been completely baffled to the point that they can’t even reach the game you’ve made.

    Friday, July 11, 2008 at 11:53 pm | Permalink
  6. Bob wrote:

    Well, obviously we agree on the necessity of instructions, as I spent the last hour adding a new prologue to the game in response to Frank’s issues. I’m not generally a fan of that sort of thing but fine– mea culpa– it needed to be done.

    Hopefully this will clear things up, interface issues with the spacebar not withstanding. I’ll keep the immediacy factor in mind while trolling through the code for this and the next episode.

    Saturday, July 12, 2008 at 8:29 am | Permalink

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