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Wake Word: An Algorithmic Nightmare

24 days ago
I found a text game...text experience, whatever that I don't have time to fully explore right now, but it seems pretty dang cyberpunky.







https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/31/18140796/wake-word-algorithm-text-game-ai-artificial-intelligence

The author's name is Adi Robertson and looks like she does gaming related articles for the Verge, so that's why it's hosted there.

Appears to be made with Twine but it's a lot meatier than most of them. Refreshingly it is NOT just 300 words about being gay and depressed and there seem to be a decent number of endings.



Can't make me wake up and go to work if I'm in prison for life. WINNING.

(It could just be my phone, but Twine games always seem a little wonky on mobile for me any time I'm required to scroll, so a computer is recommended.)

Wake Word: An Algorithmic Nightmare

23 days ago
The next time a thread I make gets zero replies, I'm choosing a featured game at random and deleting it.

Wake Word: An Algorithmic Nightmare

23 days ago
it eventually got one reply so thats pretty good

Wake Word: An Algorithmic Nightmare

23 days ago
I doubt anyone here is in the habit of actually playing Twine games, but I wish I could figure out what causes the issue with scrolling. They can't really have inherent difficulty with being played on mobile, right? Or at least I always assumed they were phones were why that whole culture developed around tiny tiny games with two sentences per page.

Had the same thing happen with Mathbrush's game when he asked me to review it. (And then subsequently deleted all my reviews on the entire site, plus the private messages with further feedback and advice he requested...)

In this case it wasn't affecting my ability to play, but I couldn't get most of the credits in the beginning because I need to scroll and select pictures for that.

If it really is any game that requires scrolling that breaks that way, well damn maybe that's why so few people ever write more than a paragraph in Twine.

Wake Word: An Algorithmic Nightmare

23 days ago

Neat! Didn't play for too long, but the writing is good and the presentation is impressive (and is that an exploration of a theme I spot?).

Trying to read the in game terms and conditions for some drugs does show me that I can't scroll, so maybe it's a browser issue? Anyway, I'm going to assume there isn't anything too important in that text wall and won't bother figuring it out. For all I know it is intentional, since you know, people don't read T&Cs irl (but I can zoom out to see it all, so this theory might not be the best).

As for what actually happens, I'll say that people who want to include the classic 'wake up', 'bathroom', 'eat', and 'get dressed' scenes should play this. It'll show them a more interesting way to handle it, since it is building up the world.

Also of note is that you don't start with that here either, but it is very much a part of the start (showing that even in the grimdark of the future, preparing for your day is mundane--despite being able to print drugs--and might not serve as the best hook for getting readers interested).

Also, it appears there was a consequence to me clicking on as much stuff as possible, which is good to see!

I'll add that I seem to be able to interact with the 'polished tea press' indefinitely, which I assume isn't a bug for this style of game. I'm mentioning it since I would point it out if this were a storygame here, and I find it neat how the medium affects my perception.

Anyway, when I have time to read more (and after I attempt to examine the branching) I might write about some more meaningful spoilers...or more likely I'll just mention any other thoughts I end up having, if there is enough of them.

Wake Word: An Algorithmic Nightmare

22 days ago
>Also, it appears there was a consequence to me clicking on as much stuff as possible, which is good to see!

In traditional IF you're usually expected to examine every possible thing around you in excruciating detail, so it always amuses me when a game will lampshade this and mess with player expectations.

I'm going to test a few more games...at some point...and get to the bottom of this scrolling thing. I notice it launched itself in a frame within my browser which I think was the issue with Mathbrush's thing. So I can scroll the browser window normally but that just means sinking into a bunch of ads while the game text is left behind. It might be possible to launch it without that but I can't check right now.

Wake Word: An Algorithmic Nightmare

22 days ago
Fixing the scrolling might be good, since it does seem the bottom of the T&Cs has some...non-standard information.

Anyway, when I said the morning routine is 'part of the start', that was because I had assumed there'd be more things that happen at work (like a gauntlet style CYOA)! But hey, wanting to read more is generally a positive.

I'd say the ideas could be explored more, but what is there is still good, so can't really complain. Prompting the reader to think is perfectly valid too. Also, being able to read it all is another thing that is generally considered a positive (as opposed to something where reading everything would be a hassle).

And speaking of a hassle...I am wondering if unlocking all the endings and then clicking A->M would do anything (or spelling out something? Can't spell out Abra tho). I certainly imagine there is a possibility. Yet while such 'do everything' secrets can be neat, they are also often tedious.

Having to restart fully (albeit while being able to skip the training) does mean unlocking all endings takes longer. Being able to use the go back button would speed up the process, but I imagine this is a limitation of the system (pretty sure implementing a 'get all endings' ending in a storygame would also run into this issue where you can't use the go back button to sift through paths faster).


Anyway, chances are good there is nothing hidden like this, but if anyone does do all the endings, let me know if anything happens!

Wake Word: An Algorithmic Nightmare

22 days ago
>Anyway, when I said the morning routine is 'part of the start', that was because I had assumed there'd be more things that happen at work (like a gauntlet style CYOA)! But hey, wanting to read more is generally a positive.

I wasn't really sure of the scale of it when I made the thread, I'd just played through a couple variations on starting the day. But brevity is the norm for Twine games I suppose, and this one was at least fun.

Wake Word: An Algorithmic Nightmare

22 days ago
I managed to completely overlook this thread yesterday. This could be an interesting diversion for later.

Wake Word: An Algorithmic Nightmare

22 days ago
Ah, so the secret to scrolling is to follow the itch.io link at the bottom of the frame on the Verge url and launch the game from here: https://adirobertson.itch.io/wake-word

Or you know, just use that link to begin with.