Gabriel and and frequent collaborator Scott Kurtz were talking about how Draw Something barely meets the criteria for a game. Gabriel is not as good at Pictionary as you might think: he can draw, certainly, but when you apply a time pressure his whole shit falls apart. Drawing Quickly is a very particular skill, one you must choose at the time of character creation, and he took the traits "Abrasive" and "Annoyingly High Metabolism" instead.
If you can truly draw, though, and you have a capacitive stylus because you are a professional artist, and there are no limits on the amount of time you can sit there and draw, they're right: the game disappears. The inability of most people to draw a recognizable concept quickly is the game. Right? If you look at a duck, and then correctly declare that it is one, that's not exactly top ten good times.
While he was still a daily player, the only real complaint he had was that he found himself pulling up the same words over and over. More words, even sponsored words or words which represent common brands, were not something he found especially unwelcome but he may be in the minority there. People are pulling out of the game, some say for this reason, but if I regularly reached nine million people I'd probably say that I was doin' prett-ty good.
This is that dang ol' tendency to bifurcate the real into some binary proposition, play or not play, when there's clearly at least one more approach: leverage their infrastructure to make a statement about it in your turn itself. Stepping out of the dialogue is that choice which seems courageous, but is not; the answer now, as ever, is always more art. Raise a sword in the Devil's House. Even the answer to art you don't like is more art - in fact, especially then.
With the tendency for gaming Kickstarters to run away with themselves, watching Republique languish in the mire was tough.
The team is headed up by Ryan Payton of Metal Gear Solid 4 fame, but more recently of Halo fame, where he worked in secret to fashion an entirely new Halo paradigm for several years before a mysterious departure to start Camoflaj. They're local, so I bought them lunch a week or so ago in an effort to make them bring out their demo. I also wanted to talk with them about their own Kickstarter, and to express sympathy to the team for their impossible, thoroughly unreachable goal. There appears to be a very, very firm correlation between
a) Things I think are impossible, and
b) Things that are totally possible actually
and I hope that it's a lesson I can internalize.
Anyway, congratulations. Now all you have to do is make a videogame, right? That always works.