Sunday, January 4, 2015


I had heard of Framed some time ago as an innovative storytelling proposal, and it was in my to-do list. After started playing "Papers, Please" I thought I was behind on this genre in particular and I purchased Device 6 (still pending) and the aforementioned

Framed is a great game. The gameplay proposal is simple: There is a story going on, told through animated comic frames. If you let it progress without action from your side, the characters will fail. You need to re-arrange the frames in the proper order (only one on each case) to progress

The concept is well adapted to tactile devices (you just swipe in most of the cases) but doesn’t look impossible to port to other platforms. The design is simple (KISS principle) and elegant. The play sessions are short (each page takes 3-4 minutes) and engaging, you easily fall onto that Civilization attitude “just one more”

Visually speaking is also impressive. It has a neo-noir style and the animations are very good and varied. On the negative side it’s kinda short (specially if you paid 5 bucks as I did), you cannot replay specific pages afaik and I personally couldn’t fully understand the story – keep in mind it’s like a silent movie: No dialogues or texts whatsoever, only characters doing things -

In any case, it’s a game that tries to do something new and succeeds. No wonder it was the game of the year for Hideo Koyima. I highly recommend it!

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Almost a tradition, in the annual family gathering I set up a gymkhana for the young ones. In the past I went for “move pingpong balls from A to B using spoons” and such

This year I decided to change the concept a little bit, using World of Warcraft as a reference. I created 21 quests, and organized the kids into teams competing for being the first one to complete 7

These were the rules:

  • 3 teams of 3-4 members on each. The 3 elder kids would pick their components by turns
  • Each team randomly chooses 3 from the 21 envelopes containing the quest briefings
  • Quests will commonly involve locating little pieces of paper hidden on certain house areas. The briefing will specify how many, generally with humorous texts
  • There were some other challenges such as find out who was the oldest of the family elders, find out the name of the movie whose soundtrack is playing, etc
  • I commonly hid 1 more objective paper than the mission required. In other words, if the objective was to find 4 papers in the house showers, I would place 5 of them to ensure they could not get stuck
  • It’s up to the teams if they want to work on the missions simultaneously or focus on them one by one
  • Every 10 min of playtime they could change 1 mission for another from the pool, in case they got stuck
  • The game will end in an hour no matter what

From a design point of view, the victors were the only team that worked in 2 missions in parallel. The girls seemed to be more efficient and less complainy than boys but they all requested help at some point. It took approximately 7 hours from me to create the gymkhana, from brainstorming to write the texts on little pieces of paper, and then hide them all around my parent’s house

Overall I think the kids had a great time. The parents told me they expect the event with a lot of anticipation and talk about it for days. Still, it took too much time from me and not sure if I’ll be willing to do it next year

Ah, and a minor disappointment: One of the missions involved to get a score of 100 on a classic Nintendo game watch console, Donkey Kong. Two different teams tried and failed, finding it frustrating. Times sure have changed...