Jason Rohrer profile in Esquire

My new issue of Esquire, the one with Vince Vaughn on the cover, has a lengthy profile of Jason Rohrer (“Passage” and other “art” games) and a discussion of his “solitary and stubborn quest for a future in which pixels and code and computers will make you cry and feel and love.”

It’s online here, in case you’re interested.

Read it yesterday. Quite good; about time The New Sincerity comes to games.

Should’ve thrown that one out in the Luc Bernard thread.

For a second I thought that said “Emo jump shot”, and thought of Adam Morrison of Gonzaga…

I really wish that I saw more articles on video games with this kind of writing caliber because, man, that piece is superb. I wrote a bit about it at my personal site already, but I’d like to sort of summarize my thoughts here.

My problem with people bringing up Rohrer’s Passage as an example of very emotional artistic game is that it’s not really a game. Passage comes across as a very well thought-out interactive experience, but the presence of a score counter and a means of controlling a character don’t make it much of a “game” in my eyes. Gravitation, though, is a brilliant step in the right direction of merging the feelings of Passage into a more game-like format.

I mean, really, this entire discussion hinges on semantic interpretations of a few key words (game, fun, art) so it’s kind of hard to discuss it but, either way, it’s really great to see Esquire pick up on Rohrer’s work.

I agree. Passage isn’t a game - it’s a commentary.

Jason Rohrer’s new game is purchasable in alpha now for $8. It’s a massively multiplayer game where you try to defend your home against burglars, while simultaneously trying to burglarize other players. And when I say “home” I mean “wife and kids.” Creepy.

I picked up castle doctrine, rohrer’s new game. It’s pretty fun. It’s similar to another game, called “Farm Fortress” - in which you can rob other players in real time, except in Farm Fortress you can defend your illegal drug farm in real time. Jason’s game is turn based.

An interesting mechanic is you must prove that your house is assaultable before you are allowed to leave and rob other players. This is a pretty interesting mechanic that cuts out the need for the game to validate whether you have an impenetrable fortress or not.

I’ll let other people worry about whether the idea of robbing other people’s houses is creepy or not, I’m just in it for the game mechanics and fun :) But yeah - even the game has a kind of creepy vibe to it, especially with its procedurally generated music.

Also the above post makes it sound like this game is about trying to defend your house against robbers to defend your family. It’s not exactly like that. There are 4 things of value in your house - your vault, which has your money and belongings, your wife, who can run out of the house with 50% of the money, and your 2 kids (i’m not sure what they do).

So it’s not like you lose the game once your family is dead. You continue your merry way of assaulting other people’s homes, killing their wives, and getting more money so you can build bigger defenses :)

Thanks for the report. Helps me understand the game a little better. And it still sounds creepy.

It’s also incredibly fun, but I guess some people think crappy 2d pixels = real life? :D

It’s just really weird to me that there’s 2 kinds of people in this world: The kind of person who looks at the game mechanics and says: “Sweet! It’s like a combination multiplayer tower defense/invade mechanic!” And the kind of person who says “Killing unarmed housewives? Creepy!”

Personally, I’ve always been about game mechanics. I don’t care so much whether a game is about aliens, space marines, cowboys, or crime, what I care about is: How fun is the game?

All that being said I completely understand that some people are more into the story of games than others. I guess it’s just my personality type.

Is there a guide somewhere to all the switches and whatnot? I keep trying to work it out by trial and error but I’m dying so much in the process. :(

I haven’t found very much information on the game on the net. Did you figure out what the gallery portraits do? I noticed you can steal them from other players, so what’s the incentive to buying them?

As a last resort, you get the source code with your purchase :)

I don’t think it’s story so much as context. And context does matter. I’m pretty sure Rohrer picked this particular context to elicit a certain response or as commentary on the Castle Doctrine itself. So yeah, it’s creepy.

Here’s a link discussing the gameplay mechanics for those people like me: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/03/08/the-castle-doctrine/

And for everyone else: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/03/07/castle-doctrine-preview-2/

I’m the one who talked up the game in the first place, and I also said it’s creepy. I think it’s intended to be creepy. This is Jason Rohrer we’re talking about. Do you think he made a game about the diamond trade simply because he had some awesome game mechanics and it was the first theme that came to mind? No, the subtext of his work is important to what he’s doing. I think the gameplay mechanics in Castle Doctrine (it’s even a loaded title!) look intriguing. But they’re far from everything the game has to offer, I assume.