Sometimes, I’m proud to say it: “This strip is a transcript of an actual conversation!” has a kind of eureka element, a found culture vibe that makes it easily to feel as though I am living my life submerged in undiscovered art. This comic is also a transcript of a real conversation, however, which is substantially less ennobling.
I purchased a game fully one year ago that just came out yesterday. I’m kind of a sucker for buy now/get the beta offers; in fact, I may just be a sucker in general. But I’m a mark doubly so for tactical games, and Frozen Synapse is definitely that. I’m obsessed with the idea of simultaneous actions, which you’d think would make me an RTS devotee, but I still want turns: I want to deliberate. I want to stroke my chin. I want to hover my index finger tentatively over the left mouse button, remove it slowly, and then put it back.
The first (only?) simultaneous-turn combat system I can recall is from Mars Saga, whose manual describes it as “one of the most interactive ever established on a microcomputer.” Today, we usually think of interactivity as being a function of inputs per second. No matter their granularity or sophistication, I don’t know that we’d ever use the term “interactive” to describe a game where you aren’t in active, moment-to-moment control of anything.
I’ve invited one of the developers to talk about the game here in the post on Monday, and I think he’s going to do it. It’s just very strange: an indie tactics manifesto, four years in development, sustained by a kind of ambient matchmaker thingy slash replay museum? I want to know where something like this comes from, who would make it. Hopefully I’m not alone in that.