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Old 25 September 2013, 15:58   #450
Mrs Beanbag
Glastonbridge Software
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Edinburgh/Scotland
Posts: 2,202
Well I somewhat agree with what Galahad/FLT has said, but not entirely.

Of course playability is priority number one but graphics and special effects, as well as the choice of character, does affect perception of the overall quality of the product - depending on expectations, which depends on what other games and platforms we have been exposed to. So our expectations of good graphics is rather higher now than in the 8 bit Era, and those of us who had Megadrives/SNES &c start to judge Amiga games by those visual standards. Even if a game is really fun to play we expect the developers to have put some effort into the visuals as well, but maybe we can expect too much and judge by unfair comparisons.

I think parallax scrolling can add a level of depth to a game's world that makes it seem more real or solid, rather than just looking at a flat picture full of "symbols". But for an ECS/OCS game reducing the foreground to only 7 colours would risk taking away more than the parallax would add, and many games that attempt it have a drab or dirty look as they try to squeeze colourful graphics into such a limited palette. The 15 colours we can use on AGA games gives us a lot more freedom, especially since OCS graphics were often only 16 colours anyway. There's a question of priorities here. On OCS parallax scrolling is only for those who really know what they are doing, otherwise it's just a gimmick you can do without.

As for the character, well as I've said elsewhere the reason Mr Beanbag is such an odd character is that it was actually intended as a sort of criticism of the whole obsession with the character-based games we had in the mid '90s post-Sonic era. That's why he has so few frames of animation - because I wanted to make the point that the main character doesn't really matter that much; in fact nothing about the game matters very much other than that it's fun to play, which is why you complete a level by jumping into a "trivial pursuit" piece, and why the mandatory platform game plot cliche "Damsel in Distress" is only an anthropomorphised glass of orange juice. Even the scoring system is a joke - at the end of a level there is a chance of getting a "random bonus". Because it's just a meaningless number of no consequence to your progress through the game.

But I have received a fair amount of criticism based on the character, such as "no-one would want to guide this sack of potatoes through the levels." One commentator referred to him as "blue and white Wackelpudding." Mostly all this just amuses me, but I have come to realise that the character does matter. He defines the personality of the game. You can ignore the character and have fun playing the game anyway, but by being "cute" or "cool" or whatever he can provide a subjective emotional motivation to play, it gives us an outlet for a sort of empathy if we care about him and his quest. You can find videos on Youtube of people playing Sonic II with the specific aim of getting Tails killed. Obviously there is no advantage to doing that apart from people find Tails annoying and enjoy a sort of Schadenfreude seeing him land on the spikes.
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