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About the Story
A new generation in construction and creativity is finally here! No matter who you are GROWBOTICS will help you channel your inner artist.
40th Place - 21st Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2015)
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Number of Reviews: 2
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Aesthetically, this game is definitely polished. Nice blocky buttons. Smooth graphics. It's got "mass market appeal" with a neutral design scheme, like an IKEA catalogue. Which is exactly what it's trying to do.
Not be an IKEA catalogue. Just tap into that commercial zone.
The game is entirely about a product: a contraption that can take "basic creative building blocks" and combine them together to make new products. All that you really do in this game is combine the different ingredients, and then the game spits out an invention at you. The ingredients themselves are vague concepts like "quantity" and "sound."
At the end of my playthrough, the player-character (who had purchased this contraption) was showered with success for the great things they made with the machine.
Maybe I wasn't supposed to react this way, but I felt like this game was making a really sharp criticism about creativity and technological development. Everything that's normally called "creativity" is negated by the GROWBOTICS machine, where you just slot combinations together, press a button, and the machine does all the creative work for you. A product rolls down the conceptual conveyor belt, you snag it for yourself, and then you claim the credit without needing to have a single creative thought yourself.
Not to say that the game's text actually sounds cynical. Everything is upbeat. You're a happy consumer, after all, and you have a shiny new product to play with! Only at one point near the beginning does the game (maybe) show its hand, when the player-character reads the product manual and thinks:
An extended marketing spiel crafted to make you feel good about your purchasing decisions. Absurd thing is, it kind of works.
GROWBOTICS kind of works like that too.
This was one of the most-played IFComp 2015 games, most likely due to its intriguing premise (a machine that can do anything!) and its shortness.
What happens is that you pick one of a few different openings that affects the flavor text of the game, and get a semi-random ending. In between is the real meat of the game: a visually beautiful form of sorts where you place different attributes (like quantity or sound) into 2-3 slots and combine them to something new.
Many combinations don't work, but there's a manual that helps. After tinkering around a bit, you should look at the walkthrough and see just how much WAS implemented.
Overall, short but fun for a moment.
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For Your Consideration - XYZZY-eligible innovation uses of 2015 by Brendan Patrick Hennessy
This is for suggesting games released in 2015 which you think might be worth considering for Best Use of Innovation in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not...
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