Saturday, November 13, 2010

Faery: Indie Game Failure

So, I;m sitting in a room full of friends, myself and three others, playing this game I downloaded off of Xbox Live. Faery it's called. Unfortunately, we can't tell head from tails on this thing. It's one of those games that tries to be so original it fails at ever successfully capturing anything playable. What, I ask, is its audience?

That isn't to say that somewhat eschewed mechanics are necessarily bad. Some games are built on the basic concept that figuring out the gameplay IS the gameplay. When done well, this can be quite fun. It is, however, an extremely difficult trick to pull off. A good designer knows not to intentionally confuse their audience without a very good reason. That is not what Faery presents us with. Faery is merely incomprehensible.
Hey,cool! Wish I'd seen this in the demo.
The game does, it seems, present a fairly accurate depiction of faeries via Germanic folklore. The controls and the players goals are incredibly esoteric and strange. We want very badly to break into this game. We want very hard to "get" it. We understand that, behind all of this effort, there is a designer. There is a man. This man has the intent of bringing an enjoyable experience to the end user. However, we simply can not reach this experience. Perhaps there is some fundamental importance to this product. Perhaps this is one of the most breathtaking experiences yet to be visited upon the direct-to-console market. Yet, we can not successfully penetrate it. I see this as a failing upon the designer. Yet, I welcome any commentary he may have.
Romantic subplot? Bow chika bow wow!
This is one of those games that strikes me as some indie films do. They are so completely hard to comprehend, despite my desire to do so, that I am left with nothing more than a dismayed critic's resolve to present a rational opinion. It is a game. That is a fact - no, a possibility. I have yet to confirm this. That, it would seem, is the problem. I can not tell that this is a game. I can not confirm that this is in interactive entertainment experience. This may be a problem.
I cast lens flare!
I don;t know. I like the idea of the Xbox Live Marketplace. I like the idea of indie games. When one shows up that seems so incomprehensible, however,  I sometimes find myself thankful for the draconian policies of software publishers.

This game is a good lesson for indie devs. Do you have something brilliant? Is it amazing?
Is it the most fantastic thing ever to visit the gamescape©? (new word, free for public yet nonprofit use) Awesome! Does it make any sense? Damn. Back to the drawing board I guess. One must always be cautious not to allow vision to outpace ability.


  1. Flying around a mystical kingdom as a faery is something that every gamer dreams of. This gamer exited the game after one round of combat.

    I imagine the goals for this game were very lofty, and ultimately only somewhat realized. Perhaps Faery 2?

  2. This is, of course, what Indy games are for. It's a part of our industry that allows for such experimentation without huge financial risk. So, though this game was a failure, its very existence is a good sign.