(I’ll post this on IntFiction too, because I think this topic deserves discussion. If you frequent both, please consider following both threads. I’m perfectly OK with two parallel discussions going on, because they’re likely to be different enough)
I’ve started playing Rameses yesterday, and I’m still playing it (I take my IFing slowly these days - no pressure = more fun). I had, of course, been thoroughly spoiled already. Everyone knows what the whole point of Rameses is by now. It’s heavily constrained, claustrophobic gameplay characterises not only the PC but also the general state of IF in some works.
By all accounts, it was different, unusual, daring, even incomprehensible at the time.
But shockingly, in 2015, it doesn’t feel that different from a lot of games. And I’m thinking - oh boy, is this a warning bell?
In 2015, swamped in Twine games and story-heavy games that don’t necessarily need significant input from the player, Rameses comes across as a precursor to what is the norm today. Especially in Twine, of course, but not just Twine; player’s expectations have shifted, to the point where, for instance (and this has already been discussed in a thread), some players expect all the interactible items to be SEPARATE from the room’s description; authors are expected to explain beforehand whether SEARCH is synonimous with EXAMINE (mostly because in the past some authors were very inconsistent and unfair about it, true); ASK/TELL, which for me was instrumental in enjoying Anchorhead, has been dying a slow death for years now. The plot is expected to hold your hand (and sometimes, infuriatingly, you’re suppose to divine that the plot is leading you towards a bad outcome and break away from it to create your own plot; but often if you do that you’re met with a Rameses-style excuse not to).
I’m not naming names because this is not an isolated incident. This is something I’ve been noticing in general. I can in fact think of a number of recent games - Hadean Lands, Counterfeit Monkey, Coloratura, PataNoir, Chrolophyll, Toby’s Nose - which most definitely do not follow this trend.
But I definitely feel this trend. It’s not that I can point at games and go “this is not what IF should be!”. That’d be stupid. IF has been evolving so much, as has the entire gaming world. Every one of us knows what IF we like best, but that doesn’t mean that’s what IF should be. No, I’m looking at Rameses, seeing that it looks quite modern and not at all jarring, and warning bells are going off, saying “but it’s not SUPPOSED to look comfortably modern! It’s SUPPOSED to be jarring and uncomfortable! What’s going on?”.
Discussion is very welcome.