Falling off the Planet

First of all, Planetfall is not for me. I died every 3.5 seconds, regardless of meticulously following the walk through, something about not enough food or water, who needs that stuff.  I’m a visual person, and not that I’m not creative, but I couldn’t get into the settings and was too concerned with figuring out who get out of the escape pod.
Anyway, I eventually made it past those annoyances.


awwww, look how lovable



When I first encountered Floyd I thought of him as a Jar Jar Binks kind of character: annoying, yet moves the plot along and cracks a few jokes (although I don’t know if that’s intentional). Although I never go to the point where I needed to Floyd to charge into the room of deadly mutants, I can imagine it would be like a brother seeing their slightly annoying, yet still lovable sister run into a burn building. Throughout my game play, Floyd was childlike and likeable, but he’s babbling became a little annoying and I wouldn’t want to hang out with him too much, if you know what I mean.

My problem is always getting stuck in a maze of rooms and not really remembering how I got there. The game did not allow me to scroll up and see which rooms I had previously gone so I was out of luck when it came to retracing my steps. Additional description about which words are acceptable would have decreased my frustration. Maybe they could provide a menu that could be accessed at any time with a list of acceptable commands. Also, it would be convenient if they alerted you when you passed through a room with a necessary object. For example, I went through the Tool Room without picking up the essential elevator key card, it would be nice to have a little “aren’t you forgetting something?” message. But maybe that’s just me wanting the game to easier.

To make the game more compelling, I would have added more non-player characters. Characters like Floyd add more dimensions to the game and give the player the ability to do different things. I personally was entertained by all the little side comments Floyd and the alien ambassador said. Sound effects would take some work off the player when imagining the world. With some sort of new technology, it would be cool if they game could listen to spoken commands, instead of typing, therefore making the player feel more like they were controlling the character and taking the strain off typing each sentence. There may run into problems with different accents and misspoken words, but after taking a speech test to prepare the computer it might work. It would also be more compelling to have a map accessible during game play. I know that the game cannot provide graphics but a written map would be nice too like, “rec room is east of control room, control room is west of mess hall” etc.

As for the non-player character, I think Floyd was pretty memorable. Players are dependent upon him for moving to the next stage, which made him feel like he was on the adventure with you, working towards the same goal. A non-dependent character would feel more like something that was getting in the way and taking up time. Possibly adding the ability to control Floyd’s movements would make the game more interactive. As in other video games, like Batman Legos, you can switch between characters because they have different specialties.

The whole Planetfall game had a sassy, sarcastic undertone to it, which was funny and made me want to read the text instead of quickly typing the next command. I read some of the Floyd’s dialogue out loud to my roommate and couldn’t help but laugh at how ridiculous it sounded. Although I did not make to part where Floyd dies, as the players in the readings did, I think I would a little sad to see him go. Maybe if they provided a picture of the characters and rooms in a brochure packaged with the game I could more easily imagine what was going on.  But that might ruin the whole imagination aspect of the game, which is nice, but not something modern game players are used to.

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