Eye Contact

by Thomas McMullan

Slice of life

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Number of Reviews: 5
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1-5 of 5

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
More of an experiment than a game, October 1, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: Less than 15 minutes

This is really just a short limited choice conversation, with a picture of very expressive eyes that change based on where the conversation goes. Very small, but I like the idea. If having responsive eyes or a face popped up in longer game as part of the conversation mechanic, I think that would add a lot to it.

So great experiment and I want to see more, but not really a game in and of itself.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Look at me, June 19, 2020
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)

Eye Contact is a short, experimental choice-based game that allows you to play through a single conversation. Most of the talking is done by your conversation partner, who is worked up about something her brother said to her. It turns out that he had the audacity to criticise the filo pastry for her samosas. You can be sympathetic, non-committal, or overtly critical about her (over)reaction. Depending on your choices, some backstory may be revealed Ė there has been a death in the family Ė and you may end up helping your friend move along, or not. All this takes a few minutes at most, so itís easy to replay a few times, and the writing is snappy and to the point. An enjoyable light snack; better executed than the samosas were.

Thereís one more crucial ingredient to the game: the eyes. A large picture of your friendís eyes is always at the top of the screen, looking at you (or away from you) with different expressions as the conversation moves in different ways. The game labels itself as Ďexperimentalí, and this is clearly the experiment: to see what impact these eyes have on our experience. Will they increase the emotional impact? Will they create a sense of intimacy? Certainly, they were very present. I was sitting behind my computer late at night, in my pyjamas, slumping in my chairÖ and I felt the urge to straighten up and make sure that my dressing gown was closed; then felt the urge to resist that urge, because Iím not going to be manipulated by a picture of two eyes; and then gave in to the urge anyway. So, yes, I think it did enhance to some extent the feeling of realness. Iím not sure what we gain from the experiment, since a longer game with the same lay-out would get old very quickly, I think. But I can imagine a game in which this only happens occasionally; a re-make of Spider and Web, for instance, in which the interrogator stares at you. That could work.

IFComp 2019 contained quite a number of very short games built around a single idea. Eye Contact didnít quite have the impact on me that The Surprise and Out had, but itís nevertheless a worthy addition to this category.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
It had to be samosas., December 2, 2019

I read through Eye Contact pretty quickly, which was nice because I was able to zip through it several times to gain a full understanding of the story.

It recreates the experience of meeting up with a close friend who needs to vent. I thought that the story was skillfully delivered, realistically leading up to the part where you and your friend realize why she needs to vent.

The Eyes Don't Have It, November 30, 2019
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)

I will say that the conversation tree game is much better suited for Twine than your standard parser, as all you have to do is click rather than type ď1Ē or ď2Ē or whatever a hundred times. But Iíve never really cared for the genre, and Iím not sure what this story about relationships is getting at. Thereís from what I can tell just a few endings, none of them terribly enlightening. The unique thing about this game is that the image on the screen is the NPCís eyes and they shift in tone depending on how you respond, but the game is so short and so devoid of substance that thereís not much impact.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short conversation augmented by expressive eyes, October 2, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

The concept of this game is clever. You're having a conversation with a friend, and every emotion of the NPC is expressed by a photo of eyes. It's the same person, same pose, but with anger, happiness, sadness, etc. in the eyes.

It's very effective, kind of how emojis help express emotion in texts.

The one drawback in the interactivity and emotion of it is that it all seems a bit shallow. The story is toothless, a frivolous problem with hints at relationship issues. This same technique with a deeper story (not necessarily longer) would be splendid. As it is, it's presented in a very polished and well-done manner.

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