Date Ariane: Hooray for Bad Reviews
As I stated before, when I first started making Date Ariane my goal was to do something a bit outside the norm, to create a game where sex and not violence is the primary driver of drama. I also had to make it with no budget so compromises in quality are inevitable as well.
For both of those reasons, I never really cared if someone did not like Date Ariane. The game is not meant for everybody, and I am very well aware of its flaws.
I mention this because there are now well over 100 videos on You Tube of people playing Date Ariane. Some of them are funny, some of them are well made, some of them are good reviews, many of them are bad reviews, including some extremely popular ones.
I’m of two minds on this phenomenon. On the one hand, reviews of my work do not bother me in the least. I am very well aware that You Tube bloggers like to make fun of stuff they find online, it is what they do and it brings them a lot of subscribers. As I said above, the out of mainstream nature of the game and low budget nature of the game makes Date Ariane a very easy target to make fun of, in fact I do it myself.
On the other hand, I can’t watch these videos. There is something about watching other people play my games that feels a little creepy.
I have never been able to get through any of them. My feelings when I watch them is similar to someone standing uncomfortably close to me. It also does not help that I know the answers too well, so when they make the wrong choices I know it’s going to end badly many moves ahead.
I wanted to know if I am weird feeling this way, so I reached out to a few other indie game producers. Reactions are split around 50-50. Some developers are like me, a little weirded out. Others enjoy watching others play their games.
Developer reactions to mixed reviews seems split as well. I guess it depends on what your goals are. My goals are to make something I enjoy and just put it out there and let the audience find it. Other developers with more loftier goals of mainstream success can take bad reviews a little harder. I can understand that. Even though I say bad reviews don’t bother me, if Date Ariane got nothing but bad reviews when I first put it out there, I would have taken it down and would have never made improvements or expansions.
And speaking of improvements, my on again, off again project of making a Renpy version of Date Ariane is on again. It was absolutely necessary to do the graphic update before attempting it again. My previous attempts were way too ambitious, my goal this time is to keep it simple. My other goals:
- A downloadable game that works on any computer without needing a browser.
- Much cleaner code that can be edited and expanded easily.
- Sound, music, and special effects you can’t do in HTML.
Why make a downloadable Renpy version of the game when the online is so successful?
It is true, the online game gets over 1 million unique players annually, while there have been less than 200,000 downloads of the stand alone only Something’s In The Air. My first instinct was to try and make an online version of Something’s In The Air. Two things prevented that from happening, one was the accidental erasure of a hard drive with my only copy ( I was only 5% complete anyways).
The other was the growing popularity of Date Ariane having an affect on my website’s stability. I researched expanding the web sites capacity, but I so far can’t justify the cost. An online SITA would just make it worse.
Making an improved stand alone version of Date Ariane available should make it better instead.
I have no idea how long it will take, probably at least the summer. I am basically rewriting the entire game as there is no way to port the game directly over. What you see above is all I have done so far, about 28 lines of code. Better get started.